Pollari named new Wildcat women’s hoops coach
Wayne State College athletic director Mike Powicki announced late Thursday afternoon that Brent Pollari has been named head women’s basketball coach, replacing Chris Kielsmeier, who stepped down April 17 to become head coach at Cleveland State.
“We are excited to have Coach Pollari join the Wayne State Athletics team as our next head women’s basketball coach,” said Powicki. “He has a great deal of valuable experience and success coaching and recruiting in our region so he will be able to hit the ground running with an understanding on what it takes to maintain the tradition of Wildcat women’s basketball.”
Powicki added, “Brent is also very committed to the academic achievement of our team and the importance in providing a positive experience for our student-athletes.”
Pollari brings 15 years of collegiate coaching experience at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels to Wayne State, along with four years of high school experience.
He comes to Wayne State after spending the previous three seasons as head coach at NCAA Division III St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, compiling a 50-29 records and two trips to the MIAC playoffs. Pollari’s 2015-16 team at St. Mary’s was 21-6, earning MIAC Coach of the Year honors.
Pollari also served one year as an assistant coach at Minnesota State in 2014-15, helping the Mavericks reach the NCAA Div. II National Tournament with a 21-10 record. He also spent one year as an assistant at Div. I North Dakota (2013-14), helping the school win the Big Sky Conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Other coaching stops for Pollari include six years as associate head coach at Northern State, where he was recruiting coordinator and head junior varsity coach, helping the Wolves reach the NCAA Div. II National Tournament in the 2010-11 season. He also served as assistant coach/interim head coach at Texas A&M Kingsville (2006-07), was a graduate assistant at Northern State (2004-06) and assistant for one season (2001-02) at Montana State.
High school coaching experience for Pollari includes two years as head girls basketball coach at Corvallis High School in Montana, one year as assistant at Bozeman High School in Montana and one year at Bismarck St. Mary’s High School in North Dakota.
Pollari obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary in 2001 (physical education teaching with history minor) and earned a master’s degree from Northern State in 2006 in physical education, health and coaching.
“I have spent many years competing against and admiring Wayne State College’s women’s basketball program and I am excited to join the Wildcat family,” remarked Pollari. “I am humbled by the sustained success and community support that I have witnessed and I can’t wait to contribute to it. Connecting with our current and incoming players is my first priority and I am ready to help guide this program into a new chapter of continued success.”
Pollari added, “I want to thank the search committee, Athletic Director Mike Powicki, my family, friends and former players/coaches for their belief in and support of me. This is truly an exciting time.”
Pollari becomes the 11th head coach in the 48-year history of the Wayne State College women’s basketball program. He takes over a team that went 25-7 last season and finished second in the NSIC South Division with an 18-4 league record.