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Working the Wojo Magic

By BOB GOSMAN
Photos by Dan Bishop

November 2014

It was more than just a basketball decision for Steve Wojciechowski to become the men’s basketball coach at Marquette University. Of course, it had to be the right fit from a hoops standpoint for him to leave Duke University, the team he played for (1998 NCAA Defensive Player of the Year) and was an assistant coach for (15 seasons to the legendary Mike Krzyzewski). But for him to leave Duke, it also had to be the right city and environment for his wife, Lindsay, and their two sons, Jack and Charlie.

"Both situations — Marquette and Milwaukee — are ideal," says Wojciechowski, whose nickname is "Wojo." "I feel like I got the best of both worlds. Marquette makes an elite-level commitment to its basketball program, and the city has a great vibe. There’s an energy here. It’s a great place to raise a family and a place where we will enjoy being part of the community."

Wojciechowski embraces the challenge that comes with being the head coach at a program such as Marquette. "As an assistant coach you make suggestions, but as the head coach the final decision rests with you," he says. "You’re responsible for everything that goes on."

Former Marquette standout Dwyane Wade told ESPN.com that the Golden Eagles are getting a winner. Wojciechowski was an assistant coach under Krzyzewski with the U.S. national team from 2006 to 2012 and had the opportunity to work with Wade.

"I think it’s a great hire," Wade says. "He’s a young, fiery coach that has had success as an assistant and comes from an unbelievable (coaching) background."

Wojciechowski said the first time he met with his new team was a moment he will never forget. "This is something you dream about and (now) it’s a reality," he says. "You start to feel all the emotions and (reflect) on what made this all possible. The guys have embraced me and my staff. They’re working on their games and getting better as players."

One of Wojciechowski’s assistants is a familiar face to Marquette fans. Travis Diener played a key role on Marquette’s 2003 team that advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

"Travis is a great asset to the program; he’s a guy who wore the jersey and represents the best that Marqwuette has to offer," Wojciechowski says. "There have been great players and coaches here and it’s important to maintain that connection to the past."

Wojciechowski said he first began to dream of playing college basketball in his early teen years. "That’s when I really got super serious about the game," he says. "I had a fire in my belly to see how far I could take it and maybe one day even earn a college scholarship."

From there, he became even more immersed in basketball and decided he would make coaching his career.

"I was lucky that my coaches played a tremendous role in shaping who I am as a person," he says. "Now I have the ability to pay that forward."

 


This story ran in the November 2014  issue of: