Niemuth number 1 again

Niemuth number 1 again

by Gabe GilsonStaff Writer

It is easy to see that under coach Brian Niemuth, the women’s basketball team has found success.

After a 24-4 (14-2 IIAC) season in which Coach Niemuth won his 400th career game, the team won the regular season IIAC conference as well as the IIAC conference tournament and gained an NCAA tournament berth.

Now Niemuth has been named IIAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his 22 years at Simpson College.

After the vast accomplishments that Niemuth brought about this year, he still stays humble when talking about this recent award.

“I think it says a lot for what the team accomplished,” Niemuth said. “I received the award and I think it speaks highly of what the team did.”

After all those years of coaching, Niemuth is finding out a few things that only experience can bring.

“I’m finding that once you’ve been to the top, it’s harder to stay there than to get there, which is becoming the challenge for me,” Niemuth said.

Assistant coach Ann Keller said she could not be happier for Niemuth.

“It’s a very big accomplishment for him even though he won’t say it,” Keller said. “He’s pretty quiet about it. All the wins are a testament to him and the work he puts into the program and the type of players he brings.”

The players were excited for their coach when, on Jan. 7 against Luther College, Coach Niemuth and the Storm took home a 73-43 victory at the Cowles Center. The victory was remarkable in the fact that it was the 400th career win for Coach Niemuth.

“It was a big deal for the girls to get that,” Keller said. “Coach didn’t make a big deal for that, but they were all really excited for him.”

Senior forward Carrie Larson also had an outstanding season for the Storm. Larson was awarded with IIAC Player of the Year as well as an Honorable-Mention All-American. She is also proud of her coach and said she is not surprised by any of the Coach of the Year awards he has won.

“I expected it,” Larson said. “He’s deserved every single one of them. His success is unlike anyone, and he has a way of building on that success.”

Even after 22 years and 412 wins, Niemuth is never satisfied with what he has done career-wise and he keeps his goals high looking to the future.

“First and foremost, I want to win a national championship,” Niemuth said. “Of course I want to continue winning conference championships and get back to the NCAAs. It’s a big senior class, which makes me a little nervous. We’ll be less experienced, but I still think we have some talented players here, and I hope to bring some talent in if recruiting goes well.”