Stritch Mourns Loss Of Beloved Rich Panella
Coach Rich Panella passes away after a valiant fight with ALS
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jan. 13, 2018)– The Cardinal Stritch University family mourns the loss of former women’s basketball coach Rich Panella, who died Friday after a valiant fight against ALS. Coach Panella was the embodiment of our Franciscan values and left an impact on all those he coached and with whom he worked.
Coach Panella’s success was unparalleled in Stritch athletics history. He led teams to the NAIA national tournament 13 times, including three Sweet 16 appearances and two trips to the Elite 8. During the 2009-10 season, his last at the helm of the Wolves, he earned his 500th career victory. A Milwaukee native, he earned conference coach of the year honors 13 times and was inducted into the Stritch Athletics, Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and NAIA halls of fame. In October 2010 after his retirement, the basketball court in the Stritch Fieldhouse was named Panella Court. Rich also served as the University’s softball coach for nearly 20 seasons.
His basketball players achieved great success as well. Twenty-two were named NAIA Academic All-Americans; nine were All-Americans and 31 earned All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) honors.
Coach Panella said about his players, “But more important than how they played or the kind of student-athletes they were, they’re even better people.”
Coach Panella continued to bring the Stritch community together through his fight against ALS. In 2010, Panella’s Pack was formed and participated in the annual Milwaukee Walk to Defeat ALS. Thousands of dollars have been raised in Coach Panella’s honor.
More details will be shared once they are finalized. Please keep Rich’s family and all those who were fortunate to call him “Coach” in your prayers.