Niemuth chosen as national coach of the month

Niemuth chosen as national coach of the month

by Lara GillespieStaff Writer

Brian Niemuth, head women’s basketball coach and instructor of physical education, was selected as the January National Coach of the Month by DIII News, a publication specifically covering Division III athletics.

According to Gary Rubin, publisher of Women’s DIII News, the coach of the month is chosen by the staff based on how the team did during the month in terms of wins and losses, rise in national ranking or milestone victories for a coach. On average, 6-10 coaches are considered for the award.

The Storm’s unbeaten month of January and current stance as the sixth Division III women’s basketball team in the country played a role in the coach’s recognition.

“In the case of Coach Niemuth, the team’s winning streak had a lot to do with his selection,” Rubin said. “Simpson’s national ranking and the fact that the team beat some of its closest IIAC competitors handily and on the road helped him stand out from the other coaches.”

Niemuth found out about the award from Sports Information Director Matt Turk. Niemuth was pleased to have received the recognition.

“To me it’s quite an honor to be selected out of over 420 coaches across the nation,” Niemuth said. “I am very honored and very prideful of what we accomplished as a group during that month and through the season.”

Niemuth, the winningest women’s basketball coach in school history, also gives the team credit for him receiving the award.

“Obviously they gave the award to me, but I didn’t do much except guide the team a little bit,” Niemuth said. “The team is the one that accomplished what we did during that month. To me it’s an award for them too.”

Senior Ashley Katch believes Niemuth is deserving of the award for all of his dedication and concern for the team.

“He has a passion for the game and cares for everyone-not just in basketball but also academically and personally,” Katch said. “He pushes us to be the best we can be every day at practice and you want to play well for him because he does so much for us.”

Catherria Turner, assistant women’s basketball coach and diversity recruiter, feels his ability to connect with the players and his care for the team makes him stand out as a coach.

“He’s had an incredibly successful program,” Turner said. “He really cares about the kids and that’s reflected in the way they play for him. The girls know when he means business and they want to play for him because he cares about them and they care about him.”

Turner was also excited for Niemuth’s recognition.

“I think it’s a huge accomplishment,” Turner said. “He’s more than deserving of it and I feel honored to be here and to be able to learn from him.”

Nicolle Whalen, assistant women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic trainer, has coached with Niemuth for six years and believes his play and recruiting knowledge are major components in his success.

“He’s a very good recruiter and knows how to bring the girls in,” Whalen said. “He really cares about the girls, which they sense, and they don’t want to disappoint him as much as he doesn’t want to disappoint them. He’s also very smart at X’s and O’s, with his play calling and play design.”

Other coaching honors Niemuth has received in his 21 years as women’s head basketball coach include being selected Iowa Conference Coach of the Year four times, district coach of the year twice and national coach of the year finalist twice.