Viterbo basketball manager brings loyalty to new levels

Rain or shine, Giff Wagner has your back.

“Not many people really understand what I do,” said Viterbo basketball manager Giff Wagner. “None of my friends really think it is a big job. I do not get paid for it. I’ve been in to all of this ever since I was little. I loved doing that over the years. My uncle Wayne Wagner is the head coach over there. I do not think I would ever want to quit doing that.”

Being the basketball manager for a collegiate team is not a gig with many perks. Towels, water, and anything else imaginable that needs to get done. And Giff Wagner gets it done with a smile.

“For me with Giff, he has been my lifelong V-Hawk buddy,” said Viterbo Head Coach Wayne Wagner. “He goes thru things as emotionally as I do. When things aren’t going good, I know Giff is down and out about it. When it is going well, he is the first one there to congratulate the guys.”

“His love for the program just rubs off,” said former Viterbo guard Ed Smudde. “Anybody that has a positive attitude for that kind of a job is special. We could go against William Penn and get blown out by 45, and Giff would look forward to getting them again in two weeks.”

And while Giff Wagner spends the night roaming the V-Hawks sideline, expect a helping hand from him during the day at Festival Foods.

“I’ve been working here for about eight years now,” said Giff Wagner. “I’m having fun here, and I just love being around people. The customers always come first. I don’t think they want me to leave anytime soon.”

The employees of Festival on Copeland Ave. in La Crosse agree that Giff is one of a kind.

“When I started about three months ago, Giff was the first person to greet me,” Festival Foods Manager Nick Dziedzic. “Giff gives me a hand shake, pats me on the back, and says, ‘I am going to call you boss man.'”

“The biggest thing Giff provides to people all around him is loyalty,” said Wayne Wagner. “Giff is a hard worker. Those of you that see him at Festival Foods on the below zero days and the rainy days. He loves to help people.”