Longtime Minnesota college basketball coach resigns suddenly


A longtime Minnesota college basketball coach unexpectedly resigned Friday.

Winona State University announced that men's basketball coach Mike Leaf has resigned. Leaf had been the head coach at Winona State since 1998 and has been involved with the program for 28 years.

The university did not give a reason for Leaf's sudden resignation. It only said that his departure will become official June 30.

Leaf had a tremendous amount of success at Winona State. During his 17 seasons as a head coach the Warriors had 16 winning seasons, six Northern Sun Conference championships, five Northern Sun Tournament championships and even won two NCAA Division II National Championships (2006, 2008).

Between 2006-2008 the Warriors made it to three consecutive national title games and set a Division II record with 57 straight wins between January 2006 and March 2007.

The university announced that assistant coach Zach Malvik will run the program until a national search to find a replacement is conducted. Malvik, who recently returned to Winona State as an assistant, played on the Winona State national championship teams.

The Winona Daily News documents Leaf's lifetime involvement in Winona basketball. He played for Winona Cotter High School from 1976-79, where the Ramblers won a state championship during his sophomore season.

He played college basketball at St. Mary's University in Winona, graduating in 1983 and joined the Winona State coaching staff in 1987 as an assistant coach under Jerry Nauman and Les Wothke.

Leaf took over as the Warriors head coach in 1998 after Wothke departed.

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