Pat Cunningham will be in his 21st season as Trinity’s head men’s basketball coach when the 2019-20 campaign gets under way. He also serves as the Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance.
Coach Cunningham is the winningest men’s basketball coach in Trinity history. Since his appointment in 1999, Coach Cunningham has amassed a record of 342-205 (.625). Over a head coaching career of 32 seasons, Coach Cunningham has chalked up a record of 494-371 (.571). He is ranked in the top-20 of active DIII coaches by victories.
He has guided the Tigers to nine NCAA Division III Playoffs appearances and seven Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships. The Tigers won three consecutive SCAC Championships on two occasions from 2003-2005 and 2012-2014. Trinity stands at 202-101 (.667) in SCAC competition under Coach Cunningham’s leadership.
Trinity advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2005 and won a school-record 25 games. Coach Cunningham’s squads have produced eight 20-win seasons over 20 years. Respected by his peers, Coach Cunningham has been elected SCAC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year six times.
During Coach Cunningham’s tenure at Trinity, the Tigers have produced an All-American, one SCAC Player of the Year, three SCAC Defensive Players of the Year, and a SCAC Newcomer of the Year. Danny Rivara was elected the 2017-18 SCAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and was the Newcomer of the Year the previous season. A total of 29 Tiger players have earned All-SCAC recognition in Coach Cunningham’s time at the helm, including three honorees following the 2018-19 season.
Coach Cunningham received a high accolade from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors in 2011. He was honored at the NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four in Houston, Texas, as a Guardian of the Game by the NABC. Coach Cunningham was the recipient of the Advocacy Award, which recognizes leadership and guidance on issues affecting the basketball community.
He is a former member of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Committee and was instrumental in starting the NABC All-Star Game.
Prior to joining the Trinity staff, Coach Cunningham was the head coach at the University of Chicago (IL) from 1991-1999. His Chicago Maroons advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 twice in a three-year period. Coach Cunningham was elected the University Athletic Association (UAA) Coach of the Year in three of his last four seasons at Chicago. During that time, Coach Cunningham’s teams compiled an 82-23 record (.781). Chicago also captured two UAA Championships and had two runner-up finishes.
Coach Cunningham was the head coach at Manchester (IN) University from 1987-1991 and was an assistant at Illinois State University from 1981-1987.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Kalamazoo (MI) College in 1974. An exemplary student-athlete, Coach Cunningham was a captain of the Hornets men’s basketball team. He later received a Master of Science degree in athletic administration from Illinois State.
Coach Cunningham and his wife, Mary Jo, are the parents of an adult son and daughter, fraternal twins Casey and Claire.