By Max De Leeuw – Collegiate Staff
Veteran coach John Maciak has stepped up to fill the role of Head Coach for the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team after former coach Tracy Little’s resignation over the winter break.
Maciak will coach the remainder of the season, after which GRCC will look to hire a permanent replacement to head up the team.
Throughout Maciak’s career, he has coached football, baseball, and basketball at varying levels, ranging from junior high to high school, collegiate athletics. Maciak has even been involved with coaching Team Michigan, a part of the Transplant Games of America.
The team that Maciak coached is three on three coed basketball, played entirely by athletes ages 14 and up who have had a transplant. These basketball players have had a variety of organs transplanted, including kidneys and hearts.
“I started getting involved with it because my son had to have a transplant back when he was 18 years old,” Maciak said of his son TJ who has played for about 11 years.
Maciak led the transplant team to gold medals in 2010, 2012, and 2014. These championships took place in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Texas respectively. The games are played all across America in order to spread organ donation awareness to a wider audience.
“The reason why I’m doing this is to encourage people to donate organs because organ donation is the key to people living when their organs fail.”
Before returning in time for the game against KCC, Maciak worked as the assistant coach of the GRCC men’s basketball team for 14 years. During one of those years, he also coached the women’s basketball team.
During his time with coach Salmon, the Raiders won six Western Division Championships and made it to regionals every season.
He stepped down from the position in 2009 and has picked up the trail six years later.
Despite all his work as a coach, Maciak puts an emphasis on what happens away from the gymnasium.
“I think the most important thing about going to Grand Rapids Community College is, you’re here as a student athlete and we stress the word student because that should come first…you gotta be a student first. That’s the most important thing.”
Maciak also spent some time at GRCC as an adjunct professor, teaching basketball theory and performance classes.
Outside of the gymnasium, Maciak works for his own business selling wood to campgrounds. He also gardens and has taken trips all around the world. On one vacation, Maciak rode a train across Europe, visiting countries like Austria, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.
“I’m just glad to be here,” Maciak said. “I enjoy working with the young ladies. I enjoyed working with the men’s team working with Dave Selmon. Hopefully a lot of students come out and watch us play.”