Watch Now: Brian Ehresman Replaces Sister on Illinois Wesleyan Basketball Team | Illinois Wesleyan
BLOOMINGTON – After serving as a graduate assistant and video coordinator, Brian Ehresman caught his eye to become a full-fledged college basketball assistant coach.
And after a courtesy visit to a family member, Ehresman’s next step was warmly endorsed by his former boss (Illinois State coach Kristen Gillespie) and new boss (coach Illinois Wesleyan Mia Smith).
“His reviews were excellent,” said Smith, who hired Ehresman as his first full-time assistant coach earlier this month. “He’s done so much already. He recruited just about anywhere in a four state area. “
Indeed, Ehresman replaces his sister Rebekah Ehresman Mounce, a former IWU player who left Smith’s team to take up an accountancy position in her hometown of El Paso.
“I’ve always had my eye on it. But I was waiting for Rebekah to say she wasn’t going to do it, ”Brian said. “Illinois Wesleyan is a school that I have always felt a part of thanks to Rebekah. I have known Coach Smith for a while and have a lot of respect for the school as an academic institution and women’s basketball has a lot of tradition.
A former El Paso-Gridley High School and Greenville University player, Ehresman made his debut in 2017 as a graduate assistant for ISU women’s basketball. He then took on a role of video coordinator.
“I enjoyed my time at ISU,” he said, “but I was looking for a coaching role rather than video. It was one of the missing pieces that I knew I had to add. to my CV if I wanted to eventually become a head coach My goal is to be a head coach one day.
Gillespie believes Ehresman is on track to achieve this goal.
“Brian is one of my all-time favorite people,” said Gillespie. “We knew he wanted to coach. It was his passion. We knew there would be a time when he would leave, and we are very grateful for the four years we have spent with him.
Gillespie sees many attributes of a successful coach in Ehresman.
“He’s been such a sponge over his four years in every aspect,” said the ISU coach. “He really got something from each of our coaches. He was so good with the players. His character was impeccable. I was so sad when he left but so happy because he wants to be a coach.
Ehresman calls his time at ISU “better than anything I could have imagined. I have become very close to all the staff. Everything I learned from them – their attention to detail and their knowledge of the game – has helped me immensely. I’ll miss seeing them.
Ehresman said his sister will be a valuable resource as he begins working with Smith’s highly successful program.
“She helped with the transition. She knows how Coach Smith works and how I can help her and take charge of things, ”he said. “She doesn’t work here anymore, but I’ll put her on speed dial.”
Ehresman is grateful for the freedom Smith has given him in his new position.
“She let me do my own schedule,” said Ehresman, who took up a lot of her time recruiting.
“It’s one of my favorite things so far,” he said. “The first thing is to get in touch with them and see what they’re doing. I try not to be discouraged if they have a D2 (scholarship) offer. They may want the D3 experience.
“I am excited about the kids who have visited so far. I have a presentation for them. We had several scholarship students on campus. Hope we can get some.”
Smith was amazed at the caliber of players Ehresman convinced to visit the IWU campus.
“We had more visits in August than ever before,” said Smith. “He brought in a lot of really talented players, players that I would consider a major D1 midfielder or definitely D2 (prospects). It’s a great opportunity for us and truly an honor with some of the girls we had on campus.
Chad Cusac will continue as Smith’s assistant, while Marla Maupin-Cleveland will assist on occasion. Katrina Beck, IWU assistant last season and former ISU player, has accepted a position at Division II Lindenwood.
Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt