Dan Madhavapallil finds forever home at Marquette

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Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

It’s incredibly rare that an NCAA Division I coaching staff’s longest-serving member is also a recent graduate, but Dan Madhavapallil is an exception. 

Madhavapallil serves as the assistant video coordinator for the Marquette men’s basketball team for the 2018-’19 season, but he has been a valuable part of the program for the past six seasons.

The Wheaton, Illinois, native was a four-year team manager as a Marquette student, serving under former head coach Buzz Williams, who is now at Virginia Tech, and current head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

When deciding which college he wanted to attend, Madhavapallil said he knew he wanted an academically reputable school with a strong basketball program. That’s what he found in Marquette.

“I knew Marquette was in the Midwest, it was an amazing school (and it was an) amazing basketball school,” Madhavapallil said. “So I would be learning under some great coaches and (would be) in the BIG EAST. It was a no-brainer to come here and get involved in basketball.”

After his May 2016 graduation, Madhavapallil moved into the position of program assistant for two years, where he assisted with scouting reports, summer camps and team travel plans. While continuing his studies in graduate school, he was the first person to occupy the role since Wojciechowski took over in 2014.

Now Madhavapallil, a marketing major, has found a spot as the squad’s assistant video coordinator. He said his current role is his favorite of the three, but he still has a lot to learn.

“As far as making highlights, it’s definitely more time consuming than you think,” Madhavapallil said. “I asked Patrick Reed … ‘How long does it take to be proficient in it?’ and he’s like, ‘Oh, six months.’ OK, well, let’s try to speed that up.”

Even though there are many glamorous parts of his job, Madhavapallil cannot get enough of having the opportunity to be around Division I players and coaches at all times.

“You want to help them as much as possible,” Madhavapallil said. “You’re trying to help them reach their goals and dreams, and they’re incredible people. They’re good human beings first, so to come into the office and see them every day, that’s amazing.”

Now in his seventh season, Madhavapallil has been around for a lot of phenomenal moments in program history, including the defeat of No. 1 Villanova in 2017, but he said his favorite stories come from behind the scenes.

“Everyone sees what happens in games and all that, but what happens in practice is unbelievable,” Madhavapallil said. “There are all these small stories that happen … highlights that happen in practice are some of the game situations that we have.” 

Even though he’s the longest tenured member of the coaching staff, Madhavapallil said he is still constantly in awe of what Marquette has to offer him.

“He is an invaluable member of our family and helps us get better on a daily basis,” Wojciechowski tweeted on Madhavapallil’s birthday on Sept. 26.

University President Michael Lovell also said in May that Madhavapallil is “part of the fabric that makes Marquette great.”

Although being head coach is the ultimate goal for most assistants, Madhavapallil has a unique perspective.

“If I said that I’m trying to be a head coach someday, a lot of it to be a head coach is luck,” Madhavapallil said. “So if you aren’t a head coach, does that mean that you failed? … I love basketball, I love helping people, so helping people through the game of basketball, that’s my goal. And whatever way I can do that, that’s a success for me.”

While he recognizes that it’s probably unrealistic to stay at Marquette his entire career, Madhavapallil said he hopes he never has to depart from his stomping grounds at the Al McGuire Center.

“I absolutely love this place,” Madhavapallil said. “Hopefully I never leave.”