Tommie Sports - Men's Basketball


Johnny Tauer

Head Coach

Former Tommie standout player John Tauer enters his 3rd season as St. Thomas' head coach. Tauer has a 52-9 (85%) record across two seasons, including a 39-5 MIAC record (89%), both culminating in MIAC Championships and MIAC Playoff Championships. Tauer is one of the first MIAC coaches in any sports to win conference and playoff championships in each of his first two seasons as head coach.

In 2012-13, UST was ranked #1 in the nation for much of the regular season, tied a school-record with 30 wins, advanced to the Division III Final Four for the third time in school history, and set all-time UST records for FG% and 3-point FG%. In addition, UST led the country in wins, winning percentage, FG%, and scoring margin, and was second in the country in assist-turnover ratio and 3-point FG %. In 2013, Tauer was named MIAC Coach of the Year, NABC West District Coach of the Year, West Region Coach of the Year, and Division III National Coach of the Year by Basketball Times magazine.

Prior to Steve Fritz’ retirement in 2011, Tauer had been an assistant coach for 11 years under Fritz. An All-MIAC and Academic All-American Tommie player under Fritz in the 1990s, John Tauer has 17 seasons with Tommie basketball. During that time, he ran the St. Thomas defense for two seasons (2001-2003) and for the past ten years he directed the Tommies' offensive sets and coordinated recruiting. UST’s offense during that time has consistently ranked among the best in NCAA basketball in field-goal percentage, 3-point proficiency and assist-to-turnover ratio.

"I consider John Tauer to be one of the top young talents in college basketball coaching," head coach Steve Fritz said. "He has a terrific basketball mind and a total grasp of all aspects of the college game. John will be a very successful college head coach.”

Tauer was inducted into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He was an All-MIAC player, first team All-West region, and Academic All-American, and as a senior led the 1994-95 Toms to a school-record 27-0 start, including an MIAC championship with an unprecedented 20-0 record. Tauer ranks 14th in career scoring (1,219 points) and 15th in career rebounding (482) at St. Thomas, and was the school 3-point leader until 1999-2000. He ranks sixth on the all-time MIAC 3-point list. He also helped the 1993-94 Toms to a berth in the Division III Final Four.

Prior to attending St. Thomas, Tauer graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall where he was All-State in both basketball and baseball, captain of both sports, and won state championships in baseball (1990) and basketball (1991).

Tauer served as the defensive coordinator for two seasons (2001-2003), both of which were years St. Thomas won conference titles. Tauer turned his attention to the offensive side of the ball in 2003. St. Thomas has played an uptempo offense predicated on balance, shot selection, and teamwork. St. Thomas was the only school in NCAA men’s basketball (Division I, II, III) to be in the top 12 in the country in three-point field-goal percentage from 2004-07. In the 2008-09 season, St. Thomas led more than 400 Division III teams in assist-turnover ratio.

During Tauer’s 13 years of coaching, St. Thomas has broken records for wins in a season, winning percentage in a season, and highest single-season field-goal percentage, and has an MIAC record of 217-43 (83%) with ten conference titles, eight MIAC playoff championships, and nine NCAA appearances.

During Tauer’s seventeen years playing and coaching at St. Thomas, UST has an overall MIAC record of 285-55 (84%), with 13 MIAC titles and 12 NCAA appearances. Over the past eight years, St. Thomas has won an unprecedented eight consecutive MIAC titles, made eight consecutive NCAA appearances, has an overall record of 205-32 (87%) and an MIAC record of 143-17 (89%). Over the past five years, St. Thomas has the highest winning percentage in all of NCAA Men’s Basketball across Divisions I, II, and III, with a 135-17 (89%) record, including a 91-9 MIAC record. Tauer is the only person in MIAC history, and one of a small number of coaches nationally to have played in, been an assistant coach, and been a head coach in the Division III Final Four.

An NCAA Postgraduate Scholar and Academic All-American, Tauer earned master’s and PhD degrees in Social Psychology at UW-Madison. Tauer returned to campus and joined the St. Thomas faculty in 2000. He is also a tenured member of the faculty, one of the only head college basketball coaches in the nation who also has a doctorate in sport-related psychology. Tauer is a Professor of Psychology where he studies factors that affect academic and athletic motivation.

Thousands of youth basketball players have attended the Johnny Tauer Championship Basketball Camps over the past 18 years, including standouts Isaac Rosefelt, Alex McCoy, Mike Keating, Josh Peltier, Tommy Hannon, and John Nance.

"I am thrilled by the opportunity to be the head men’s basketball coach St. Thomas," Tauer said. "I was fortunate to have coached under Steve for 11 years as well as play for him. He has been an unbelievable mentor to me and so many others, and he is the common link with St. Thomas basketball for the past 44 years. I am also indebted to all of my colleagues in the psychology department who have been wonderful to work with these past eleven years. We are also grateful for the support of President Sullivan and the administration’s support of our pursuit of excellence in men’s basketball and across all of our athletic teams. Our priorities and mission in the basketball program have been and will continue to be Faith, Family, Academics, and Athletics. We encourage our players to honor the first two and excel in the last two as we strive to be in the upper echelon of college basketball.
This position gives me a chance to blend two of my passions – the classroom and the basketball court. In many ways, teaching is coaching and coaching is teaching. My situation has been unique because what I study in psychology (intrinsic motivation, competition, and goal-setting) is closely tied to my work as a basketball coach. We have a coaching staff and group of student-athletes who are committed to working together in the pursuit of excellence. We are excited by the many challenges in front of us, this year and beyond.”

Tauer lives in St. Paul with his sons Jack (11) and Adam (8).

Coach Tauer can be contacted via email at:

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