Joe Kuhn checked all of the boxes on Director of Athletics Ryan Kaiser‘s required list for a new College of DuPage men’s basketball head coach.
Kuhn, an NJCAA Hall of Famer who led nearby Joliet Junior College to an unprecedented record of success in his 25 seasons at the helm that included the 2010 NJCAA Division III national championship, has been named the Chaparrals’ head coach, the College announced Wednesday.
He becomes the sixth head coach in school history for a program that began in 1967.
“I am incredibly honored to be named men’s basketball coach at College of DuPage,” Kuhn said. “I would like to thank President Dr. Brian Caputo, Athletic Director Ryan Kaiser, Assistant A.D. Rich Dawkins, and the athletic administration for their confidence in me to restore this historic program back to the national spotlight.”
“Men’s basketball has a rich tradition in the history of athletics at COD and having Joe on board as our head coach puts us on a path toward re-building upon that success,” Kaiser said. “His history of winning at Joliet at the Division III level speaks for itself. He has the proven ability to take teams and make them successful, locally, regionally and at the national level. His recruiting acumen and familiarity with DuPage County are complete assets. Coach’s reputation of working with student-athletes and making them better people, both on the court and in the classroom, will be a model for all of our programs.”
The Wolves went 525-259 (a .670 winning percentage) under Kuhn’s direction, and in addition to the 2010 national championship, Joliet won at least 20 games in 15 of his final 18 seasons and 16 times overall. He led the Wolves to the national tournament seven times (1998, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2022) with three title game appearances and four Final Four appearances. He coached 16 All-Americans, seven N4C conference players of the year and more than 40 All-Region players. The Wolves played in the Region IV title game 19 of his 25 seasons including 15 consecutive seasons with seven conference titles (2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013).
Kuhn was inducted into the NJCAA Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017, and also is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame (2015) and the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2013.).
For 15 seasons, Kuhn matched up against the Chaps and Hall of Fame coach Don Klaas (1978-2013), who led the Chaps to the 2002 national championship, along with 12 N4C Conference titles, eight sectional titles and seven Region IV titles during his 35-year COD career (1978-2013).
“This is a full circle moment in my coaching journey,” Kuhn said. “For many years, I had to figure out how to beat coach Klaas on numerous occasions. I spent countless hours honing my craft which has ultimately prepared me for my final journey in coaching.”
Kuhn currently serves as the First Vice-President for the NJCAA Basketball Coaches Association and also is the Region IV Division III Basketball Representative. He is also on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors.
Kuhn served as an assistant coach at JJC during the 1992-93 season. That year, the Wolves advanced to the NJCAA Division II nationals in Delta, Mich., finished with a 30-6 record, and won the N4C championship.
Before accepting the coaching position at JJC, Kuhn was the head coach at Rich East High School for three seasons.
Kuhn was an assistant coach at the University of St. Francis for two seasons (1990-92) before taking the assistant coaching position at JJC.
Prior to coaching at USF, Kuhn was a teacher and assistant coach for both basketball and baseball at Thornwood High School in South Holland.
Kuhn received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Chicago State University and earned master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction from National-Louis University and educational leadership from American College of Education.
Kuhn, who recently retired from his physical education position at Rich Township High School, and his wife Kathy make their home in New Lenox.