Greg Tonagel begins his eighth season at the helm of the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball team in 2012-13.
Five conference championships and four Elite Eight finishes in the last six years have put the Wildcats in elite company nationally. With IWU’s 2012 preseason ranking of No. 4 in the nation, Coach Tonagel’s team has spent time in the top-five nationally in each of the last seven years. Despite being a head coach for only eight seasons, Tonagel is already the winningest coach in the program’s history. He has the highest winning percentage, most regular season victories, most post-season victories, most national tournament appearances and wins in the school’s history along with the only five conference championships and one tournament championship.
The former Valparaiso (Ind.) University point guard, known for his hard work and energy, has brought those characteristics to the basketball program. Tonagel was introduced as head men’s basketball coach on April 1, 2005. Drawing from experience gained from leading the Valparaiso Crusaders to four NCAA tournament appearances as a starting point guard, along with the tutelage of mentor Homer Drew, Tonagel has helped orchestrate a new era of Wildcat basketball. Indiana Wesleyan has posted the five best seasons in program history under Tonagel as the Wildcat’s 30-5 season of 2006-07 and 30-6 season in 2009-2010 tied for most wins in school history, the 2008-09 season of 29-7 is the third most wins, the 28-8 record in 2010-2011 season is fourth, and the 26-7 in 2012-13 is fifth.
Prior to Tonagel’s hiring, the Wildcats had won seven games and finished last in the Mid-Central College Conference. The program improved by 10 wins under Tonagel’s tutelage in his first year on the bench and reached the NAIA Elite Eight in his second season. Making a name for himself when it comes to program building, Tonagel has done it through sound developmental teaching and high caliber recruiting.
Known for defense, the Wildcats led the nation in scoring defense at 59 points per game at the completion of the 2006-07 regular season. They also ranked in the top ten in the nation in six defensive categories in the 2009-2010 season. Although it all starts on the defensive end for the Wildcats, an up-tempo, aggressive offensive style that utilizes skilled and creative play has rejuvenated Luckey Arena into a fantastic place to experience a basketball game. Tonagel and his staff have introduced an innovative offensive style that players want to be a part of and fans desire to see.
Perhaps the biggest influence that Tonagel and the staff have had on the program is the work ethic that they have instilled on and off the court. Tonagel’s teams have passion and toughness. Whether it is writing a paper, helping a neighbor or working out in the gym, Tonagel demands commitment and 100-percent effort from each student-athlete.
Many consider his weight and conditioning programs to be as hard as any around. Players learn to bond together, which is the only way to survive these grueling workouts.
Prior to his current position, Tonagel served as Director of Basketball Operations at Valparaiso University, where he played in four NCAA Tournaments. He also led his LaPorte High School team to the last single class state finals in 1997. Greg and his wife, Amy, along with their three children Jace, William, and Allie reside in Marion. He is active in a number of organizations and causes, most notably his church.