The Final Four

The Final Four

North Dakota State has four candidates for its women’s basketball opening and all of them are current D-1 assistants. Only one has head coaching experience, which I thought may be a requirement for the candidate for this position considering the last two hires have been high profile D-1 assistants.

There are a couple of connections to NDSU and the Summit League. Chuck Love is the assistant coach at Nebraska, where he’s been the last three years with Amy Williams, who prior to that was the head coach at the University of South Dakota. I’m still working on finding out how much if at all Love had in recruiting Sam Haiby, the former Moorhead all-state player to Lincoln. Love has been with Williams for the last seven seasons and has familiarity with the conference.

Kayla Ard is the associate head coach at Denver, another Summit League school. Ard has been with the Pioneers for the last two seasons and also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator. Denver won 18 games this past season but was upset by UND at the Summit League Tournament. The Pios won a game in the WNIT before they lost in the second round. Ard was also an assistant at Clemson and Dayton.

Jory Collins is the only candidate that has head coaching experience. He was the head coach at D-2 Emporia State in Kansas from 2010-18, leading a team that was a perennial power for years. Collins was an assistant at ESU when they won the D-2 national championship in 2010. Collins left Emporia for Kansas this past season and was an assistant coach with the Jayhawks. I’m curious to see if his head coaching experience will count for anything extra in the interview process.

The last finalist is Drake associate head coach Allison Pohlman. Pohlman has been in Des Moines since 2007, before that she coached at Northern Iowa. She is a UNI graduate and former standout for the Panthers, finishing as the school’s number two all-time scorer. She also handles the recruiting for the Bulldogs.

This is an attractive job. NDSU has a good budget, fantastic facilities, cost of attendance and plays in a league that just sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament, one to the Sweet 16. There should be strong candidates for this position. They also know that the job isn’t going to be an easy one. NDSU hasn’t had a winning season since 2009, Carolyn DeHoff’s first season. That was the last time the Bison won a postseason game. DeHoff lasted six seasons before she resigned and Maren Walseth took over. Success was hard to find as Walseth posted a 40-108 record before her and the school parted ways with still a year left on her contract.

Athletic Director Matt Larsen told me he wouldn’t comment until a hire had been made. The waiting game now begins. I’d expect an announcement early next week.


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