New Aurora University women’s basketball coach Ryan Rebsom worked the past two seasons as an assistant to men’s coach Lance Robinson. (Aurora University)
Aurora University officials may have conducted a national search, but found their new women’s basketball coach just down the hall.
Ryan Rebsom, assistant to AU men’s coach Lance Robinson for the past two seasons, was named this week to replace Brittany Carper.
Rebsom said he applied for the job because he likes coaching at Aurora.
"The bottom line is because of the deep respect I have for Aurora University, the special place it is and people who are here," Rebsom said.
Carper held the post for the past five seasons before stepping away from coaching earlier this month. Her teams were 57-74, including 50-50 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
Led by conference Freshman of the Year Julie Galauner, the Spartans (14-12, 12-8) finished sixth in the league this season with no seniors on the roster.
"She walked into a complete rebuild, turned the program around and now the team is in the best place it has been in years," AU athletic director Jim Hamad said.
Galauner, a 5-foot-8 guard from Genoa-Kingston, averaged a team-high 16.1 points. The team’s next four top scorers — Alyssa Brems (11.6), Adriana Ramirez (9.3), Meija Rabi (9.0) and Metea Valley graduate Bri Hall (9.0) — all are eligible to return.
"The cupboard, by all means, is not bare," Rebsom said. "The last two years (Carper) and (assistant coach Matt) Nelson have stocked the team with good, young players. I think we’re really close to being a top team in the NACC, not for just one or two years, but on a consistent basis."
Nelson will stay on as assistant.
"We’re working our butts off and are on the same page, trying to make sure we take the next step," Rebsom said.
Rebsom was men’s head coach at Rockford University for 10 years before working in team sales in business. He returned to coaching with Robinson two years ago. He had coached against AU the four years that Robinson played for former coach James Lancaster.
"We knew Ryan well," Robinson said. "Obviously, his personality drew him to me when I brought him in. He was kind of a unicorn. He had head coaching experience, knew what to do to run a program and he could recruit."
Robinson credits Rebsom for landing junior college transfer Marcus Myers, who won conference Player of the Year honors and led the Spartans to a league title as well as a first-round win in the NCAA Division III tournament this season.
"I never saw him as an assistant," Robinson said of Rebsom. "I saw him more as a co-coach. He was a big part of the success we’ve had the last two years."
Rebsom said he wants to continue the uptempo offense the women employ that is similar to what the men run. AU’s men (83.0 average) and women (67.8) both were second in the NACC in scoring this season.
"We take pride in that, absolutely," Rebsom said. "We’ve got quite a few scorers, we just need to add a little more depth."
A Montana native and graduate of Montana-Western, where he played four seasons and twice made all-conference, Rebsom coached high school girls for four years in his first coaching job.
"I enjoyed it," he said. "It’s a little different dynamic, of course, but the bottom line, it’s coaching basketball."