A team’s winning tradition usually reflects something about the players or the coaching staff, but in this case, the Storm women’s basketball team showcases both.
The women’s head coach, Brian Niemuth, captured his 450th career win with a Storm victory over the Norse of Luther College on Jan. 22. A final score of 118-58 brought the women’s winning streak to 14 and allowed Niemuth to put another notch in his milestone belt.
“Brian has been an integral part of Simpson athletics for over 20 years,” Athletic Director John Sirianni said. “His leadership has shaped the Simpson’s women’s basketball program to be the elite program in the conference as well as one of the top programs in the region.”
Under Niemuth and the assistant coaching staff, the Storm continues to prove to the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) that they’re a traditionally successful team. The Storm has had numerous outstanding seasons such as this one, which have included appearances at the National Tournament, advancing as far as the Sweet 16 bracket.
The Storm has high goals set of making it back to the National Tournament and furthering their placement against elite competition. So far the Storm has proven that obtaining those goals are very possible.
After claiming a victory over Luther, the Storm conquered conference rivals Loras (73-68) and Dubuque (81-64), bringing their overall record to 17-3 (11-0 IIAC). Simpson sits at the top of the IIAC, ahead of Coe and Wartburg who have both also earned conference tournament spots.
With that success, the Storm has worked hard to build an elite basketball team with a winning tradition. And that notoriety has stuck with many of Simpson’s players.
Former Storm basketball player, and now Simpson’s controller, Heather (Kay) Travis, remembers how her experience on the court was influenced by Niemuth.
“Coach Niemuth is an outstanding coach and has a great appreciation for the game of basketball,” Travis said. “He really cares for his players on and off the court, in or out of season, during or beyond their athletic career at Simpson. I think that is what makes him unlike other coaches. Even now, he’ll contact me just to see how things are going.”
Niemuth’s dedication to the sport and his team is evident as the women’s program continues to bring in quality, hard working athletes.
“His success over time truly exemplifies his commitment to excellence,” Sirianni said. “Brian has a great relationship with his student athletes, and it definitely shows by how hard they play. It has been my privilege to work with a coach as talented as Coach Niemuth.”
A talented coach he may be, but Niemuth doesn’t attribute his 450 wins to himself or the coaching staff.
“I think 450 wins speaks highly of the players that have been in this program over the years,” Niemuth said. “The thing I am most proud of, are all the players I have been lucky enough to coach. It’s all about the players and I truly mean that. I haven’t scored one point or gotten one rebound. But I have been able to coach some remarkable female athletes.”