Friday, September 10, 2010

UIS hires Evansville assistant as men's hoops coach

The start of college basketball practice is a little more than a month away, and the University of Illinois Springfield finally has a coach for its men’s team.

Ben Wierzba was introduced as coach Thursday. The 33-year-old first-time head coach comes to UIS from the University of Evansville, where he was an NCAA Division I assistant.

Wierzba is UIS’ second coach in program history. He replaces Kevin Gamble, who resigned to become director of player development at Division I Providence College.

The transition should be made easier since he has strong ties to the Great Lakes Valley Conference and central Illinois.

“I’ve been in their shoes,” Wierzba said. “When I was at South Alabama, coach (Bill) Musselman left 10 days before practice started. Now, they’re going through it three weeks into school.

“I know what they’re going through. The biggest thing is building a relationship with these players. We’ll gradually build toward Oct. 15, that first day of practice.”

Wierzba was featured in a September 10, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article