Wayne State College head women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier announced late Tuesday afternoon he is leaving the Wildcat program to become head coach at Division I Cleveland State in Ohio.
“I have been very proud to lead the Wayne State College women’s basketball program for the last 10 years,” stated Kielsmeier. “It has provided me with some lifetime memories that I will cherish. The experiences that I have had at Wayne State have helped to grow me into a better person and coach. Everyone associated with this program has worked hard to make it one of the most respected programs in the country, both on and off the court.”
Kielsmeier added, “I want to thank our players, Assistant Coach Kelly (Kielsmeier), all of our other graduate assistants, trainers and managers that have helped make this program what it is today. I have been able to coach talented players who most importantly were great people.”
Kielsmeier just completed his 10th season at Wayne State College, guiding the Wildcats to records of 237-72 overall (.767) and 166-50 in Northern Sun Conference (.768) play. This season, Wayne State was 25-7 overall and second place in the NSIC South Division with an 18-4 league mark, the seventh time the Wildcats won 20 or more games in a single season under Kielsmeier.
Wayne State College Director of Athletics Mike Powicki said, “I want to thank Chris for his service to Wayne State College and the women’s basketball program. Through his work and dedication he has made Wayne State one of the best NCAA Division II women’s basketball programs in the country over the past decade.”
Powicki added, “Coach Kielsmeier is most certainly ready and deserving to take this next step in his career and I wish him the best of luck at Cleveland State. That being said, I am excited about the student-athletes we currently have in our program and the future of Wildcat Women’s Basketball.”
In his 10 years at Wayne State, Kielsmeier coached the Wildcats to four NSIC regular season titles (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015), two NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament titles (2010, 2012) and five trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). He led the Wildcats to the 2011-12 NCAA Central Region title and the schools’ first-ever trip to the Elite Eight.
Wayne State recorded the teams’ most successful season in school history under Kielsmeier in 2011-12, winning a school record 32 games (32-3) while capturing the NSIC regular season and tournament titles to go with the NCAA Central Region title held at Wayne State College. That season, the Wildcats vaulted to a #1 national ranking, another first in school history, and advanced to the Elite Eight in San Antonio, Texas.
Under Kielsmeier, Wayne State developed one of the top home court advantages in the NSIC and Central Region at Rice Auditorium in Wayne, producing a 125-13 record over the last nine seasons that included a 52-game home court win streak from 2009-2013.
In 18 seasons as a head coach, Kielsmeier owns a career record of 416-116 (.782) and has advanced to the NCAA National Tournament nine times with one national title.
Prior to arriving at Wayne State, Kielsmeier coached eight seasons at Howard Payne University in Texas where he was 179-44. He led Howard Payne to four straight NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances, highlighted by a perfect 33-0 season and the 2008 NCAA Division III National Championship.
“I want to thank our administration, Athletic Director Mike Powicki and all of his staff for the wonderful support and resources they have always provided to our program,” remarked Kielsmeier. “I also want to thank Eric Schoh (past athletic director) and President Curt Frye (retired) for giving me this opportunity 10 years ago. A big thank you to every Wildcat women’s basketball fan that has supported us so much from the beginning. The friendships I have built here will last forever! Wayne State College and the city of Wayne is a special place that will always have a place in my heart.”
Powicki said a search will begin immediately to find Wayne State’s next head women’s basketball coach.