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Meet the Staff: K-State Women's Basketball
K-State women's basketball head coach Jeff Mittie and associate head coach Brian Ostermann's relationship goes back 22 years.
August 21, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
Note: This is the second of a two-part series on the K-State women's basketball coaching staff. On Tuesday, K-State Sports Extra highlighted assistant coach Ebony Gilliam, which can be found here. Today, K-State Sports Extra highlights associate head coach Brian Ostermann and assistant coach Claire Coggins.
As mentioned in K-State Sports Extra earlier this week, if you head out to a K-State women's basketball game this season, you'll see a few new faces on the K-State bench in Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State women's basketball's new head coach Jeff Mittie announced his coaching staff earlier this summer, and, from long-time, experienced coaches to former collegiate stars and professional players, his staff is made up of a dynamic group of coaches who are all passionate about the game.
"The dynamics of this particular group that we have for our first year at Kansas State, it's a great group of coaches," said associate head coach Brian Ostermann. "We all get along very well. We all understand our roles and are working to help Kansas State basketball be as good as we can be."
BRIAN OSTERMANN - ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Brian Ostermann and K-State women's basketball head coach Jeff Mittie have known each other for quite some time. The duo's relationship goes back more than two decades when they first coached together at Missouri Western in 1992. It was Mittie's first job as a head coach, and Ostermann was right by his side.
"When (Mittie) first started coaching, I was his very first assistant," explained Ostermann. "We began a great working relationship and a great friendship. It goes beyond just working for somebody; it's working with somebody. We share a lot of the same ideas and philosophies, so we mesh well together."
With 23 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level under his belt, Ostermann knows how things are done. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State University (1989-91) before spending time as an assistant coach at Mercyhurst College (1991-92), Missouri Western (1992-96) and UMKC (1996-99).
No stranger to the state of Kansas, the Good Thunder, Minnesota, native followed his time at UMKC with five seasons (1999-2004) as the head men's basketball coach at Colby Community College. Ostermann remains the school's all-time leader in career victories after posting a 95-61 record during his time with the Trojans.
In 2004, Ostermann became the head coach of the Missouri State-West Plains men's basketball team and stayed with the Grizzlies from 2004-08 before reuniting with Mittie as associate head coach of the TCU women's basketball team.
In their six seasons at TCU together, Mittie and Ostermann recorded four post-season appearances - two NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs - and compiled a 107-81 record.
"Having been a head coach previously, I think that's good for Coach Mittie to have someone with him that has shared some of the experiences that he goes through as a head coach," said Ostermann.
With Ostermann now holding the position of associate head coach, the transition from living in Fort Worth, Texas, to now living in the Little Apple has been an adjustment for the Ostermann family - which includes his wife, Julie, and four children: Robbie, John, Allie and Emily - but he said it's gone smoothly overall.
"We've got our family moved now, and I think that's always the toughest adjustment for a coach when he's got a wife and four children. He's got to get everybody moved and adjusted," said Ostermann. "But it's gone great and as far as working at a new university, that's been great too. The people that we're working with have been tremendous and very helpful in all areas. From working with new strength coaches and athletic trainers all the way up to working with (associate athletics director) Jill Shields and (athletics director) John Currie, it's all been very good."
Ostermann said that he and the K-State women's basketball coaching staff work well together, and all have the common goal of building the K-State women's basketball into a championship-caliber program.
"I think you can expect some consistency in terms of us staying the course with our philosophy with our players," said Ostermann about the K-State coaching staff. "We'll be persistent. We have a relatively young basketball team this year - we certainly have a team that lacks experience in the Big 12 - so I think to be consistent and persistent with our teaching and our philosophy, that will leave many dividends over the course of time. I think that's what you can expect to see from this coaching staff."
CLAIRE COGGINS - ASSISTANT COACH
Claire Coggins knows a thing or two about K-State women's basketball.
A standout performer for the Wildcats during one of the greatest eras in K-State women's basketball history, Coggins' Wildcat career is one she can reflect on during her time as, now, an assistant coach for her alma mater.
"I think that it's nice that I have the luxury of being at K-State," said Coggins. "My name is on a banner in the practice facility under the 'WNBA players,' and I can share stories with the girls. I can tell them, back when I played, Bramlage was rocking with 9,000 fans each night and how we want to get it back to that. We want to bring that excitement back to women's basketball, and I, personally, know what it's like."
A member of the 2004 Big 12 Championship team, Coggins was a two-time All-Big 12 Second Team selection, the MVP of the 2006 WNIT and finished her Wildcat career in the top 20 of K-State's career points list with 1,236.
Following her career with K-State, Coggins went on to play professionally for the WNBA's Chicago Sky for one season followed by a season playing with Panathanaikos in Athens, Greece.
Upon returning to the United States, Coggins began her path in coaching by spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Connors State (2009-11) and Oklahoma City University (2011-12).
In 2012, Coggins returned to Manhattan to take over as K-State's director of video operations where she quickly moved into the Wildcats' director of operations position for the 2013-14 season.
The transition to assistant coach with Mittie made for a very busy summer for Coggins, however, now settled in with her new staff, she said there's no place she'd rather be.
"With the hiring of Ebony and Brian, it's just been a really great fit for me," said Coggins. "I truly do enjoy them as people, and we're all a team. I know that sounds cliché, but it's true; we're all working towards one goal. It's really cool, and it's really awesome to be able to be in the office with them. I've very much enjoyed every day."
With the 2014-15 season just around the corner, Coggins said she and the team are ready to get on the court and show Wildcat fans what they are made of.
"People can expect a lot of hard work from us," she explained. "K-State fans are going to see different energy on the sidelines because its brand new people, and they'll see a different philosophy on the court. I think people can expect the best from us every day and night, whether it's a win or loss. That's what we'll give and what we are giving and know that we want nothing more than a Kansas State victory and that's what we're looking for."
K-State fans can check out the complete 2014-15 women's basketball schedule by clicking here. Also, women's basketball tickets for the upcoming 2014-15 season are available now for purchase. For more ticket information, call 1-800-221-CATS, visit the K-State ticket office in Bramlage Coliseum, or visit www.kstatesports.com/tickets.