As a young man I had a successful playing career at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, having served as point guard and team captain, followed by a free agency contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the road to success was not easy. Coming out of Fond du Lac high school, being a 5 10” point guard, in a game without a 3 point shot, didn’t exactly put me high on the recruiting list. As a result, I was dramatically undervalued, and under recruited. To my credit, I persevered by going to a small college where I was the starting point guard for two years, after which I transferred to UW-Green Bay and progressed from a lowly walk-on, to a scholarship athlete, to team captain, to the Hall of Fame. Consequently, as much as anybody, I understand the pain of being undervalued, and under recruited as a high school basketball player. I still vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table crying because I was so under recruited. To a large extent that is why I’ve spent my life coaching high school basketball and helping kids achieve their dreams.
I have been a head high school basketball coach for 33 years. My first job was at Green Bay West high school where we went 0-20. From there I went on to become one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in Wisconsin state history. During that time I have won 5 large school state championships, the most in Wisconsin state history, taken three different teams to state, been named Associated Press Coach of the Year an unprecedented three times, and have coached numerous college basketball players. Five have gone on to play in the NBA, the most recent being Golden States Kevon Looney. Many of my teams have been ranked in the top 20 in the final national rankings.
Recently (May 2018) I stepped down from coaching high school basketball. Certainly, my years with Nike, USA Basketball, as well as coaching the Shanghai Ducks professional team, have provided tremendous growth as a coach and talent evaluator. I have decided to partner with Matt Ivers, a person with tremendous integrity, knowledge, and passion. Unlike most scouting and promotional services, we are not motivated by money, but by professional integrity. More than anything else we want to provide accurate evaluations to coaches, and help high school players find the right college.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2018
“Eighteen standout players coached by departing Cedarburg boys basketball coach Tom Diener”
Sports Illustrated 2005
“MEET THE DIENERS OF FOND DU LAC, THE FIRST FAMILY OF HEARTLAND HOOPS–THREE GENERATIONS THAT HAVE SHOT AND SMILED THROUGH STARDOM AND SORROW”
Nephews: Derek (West Point), Drew (St. Louis), Drake (DePaul), Travis (Marquette/NBA)
Nieces: Rachel (St. Louis), Brittany (Lewis)
Son: John (DePaul)
I am in my 4th overall year coaching basketball with prior intercollegiate coaching experience as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in the NCAA, NAIA and NCCAA.
I have always been around the game of basketball competing in High School and AAU basketball, but chose to play football in college, despite having looks to play basketball at the small college level. A teammate of mine and I, lacked someone who could connect us to a school based on our skill, ultimately.
Several years later post college, I had a conversation with John Shulman, former Head Men’s Basketball Coach for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (NCAA D1) in the winter of 2011. John allowed me to have an opportunity to get into the game that I love – which has changed my life to this day despite the ups and downs of life. I’ll never be able to thank Coach Shulman enough for the day, he allowed me to set up an appointment with him. He was in his office, preparing for an upcoming game at Georgia Tech, but John was gracious enough to listen to my thoughts with regard to land a coaching gig in the business of basketball.
My years in the profession of business to business sales allowed me to contribute right away on the recruiting front. Interning in my final semester of graduate school within the Sports Information department at UT-Chattanooga by way of Canisius College (NY) taught me the ins and outs of how a Division 1 Athletic Department is run which correlates to the speed and intensity of recruiting.
The skills that I acquired from my time in sales and in my graduate school internship, ended up benefiting the basketball programs at Covenant (NCAA D3), Hiwassee (NCCAA D1) and Mid-Continent University (NAIA D1).
I was responsible for all of the following in three years as a college coach: player development, team travel (he made all arrangements: including hotels, buses, meals, directions, shoot-around times, film exchange, video editing of opponents and team breakdowns, fundraising, assisting with summer basketball camps (high school and middle school team, youth day at Covenant), and the midnight madness event with corporate sponsorships.
I was fortunate to coordinate all of the recruiting travel for the entire staff and was the recruiting coordinator (Covenant, Hiwassee, MCU). At the smaller college level, one has to start with a pool of about 500 prospective student-athletes and slowly whittle that number down over time. It is tedious work calling, e-mailing, and maintaining that database throughout each year. These experiences have allowed me to circle back with Tom Diener to pursue a mutual passion of ours.
Partnering up with future Hall of Fame Boys Basketball Coach at Muskego, Milwaukee Vincent, Milwaukee Hamilton and Cedarburg HS, Tom Diener is something I never would have imagined possible and is certainly a privilege. We will aim to provide a credible service to families across the board and in turn connect them with a specific college or university coaching staff further helping them achieve their dreams.
Basketball Coaching Quotes:
“Matt Ivers is a gym rat AND an exceptional evaluator of talent! That combination is tough to beat in the world of recruiting services. The details he provides on each players’ skill set, projected level of play, personal and academic profile, as well as contact info is second to none. His knowledge of prospects in the state of Wisconsin in particular is outstanding. Definitely a service worth subscribing too!”
– Kyle Taylor
Associate Head Coach, Idaho State
“Coach Ivers is an avid recruiter and was able to connect in a various communication formats including social media so that we could get in the door with many players. He is a sponge and a lover of all things basketball.
This great desire to expand his basketball knowledge is illustrated by his extensive contacts in the world of college coaching. He is in contact seeking advice and mentoring from many D-I & D-2 coaches. Matt has a keen eye for talent on the various levels of collegiate play and is fearless in making the contact with prospective student-athletes. A background in business to business sales gives him the advantage of never meeting a stranger.”
– Rodney Nelson
Blount County, TN High School Basketball Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee