FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (e077 -- 5/10/2012)
Ellsworth Women's Basketball Coach Justin Weiland steps down
IOWA FALLS – Ellworth Community College's Justin Weiland has been with the women's basketball program for two seasons. He started as assistant coach under Ed Geitz and then transititioned into head coach last season. Weiland will be leaving the Panthers for an assistant coaching job at Division II Bemidji State University.
The Panthers will have eight returners this upcoming season, with five of those being starters. Weiland has also signed four incoming freshman and one walk-on for this fall. "The team is poised to have great season," says Weiland. "A lot of our girls are coming in for not just basketball but programs offered at ECC." The decision to move on was not an easy one for Weiland to make. "It was a tough decision. I came in with no plan of what I was going to do after ECC or how long I would stay, just that I was going to get as much experience as possible and learn as much as I could."
This would have been the first class Weiland has recruited at the collegiate level. "Its hard to pass up on getting experience at the Division 2 level. As much as I would love to stay and see these girls go all the way through, for me I think it's too good of an opportunity to pass up for my growth and experience as a coach. I had to weigh my options when this job came up."
Bemidji State University is located in Bemidji, MN, and is part of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). A few of the schools in this conference are Mankato, Duluth, and Winona. "This is a really tough conference to be a part of," commented Weiland. "It will be a battle to win each game because each school is so strong in this conference. It will be nice, though, because I will be recruiting in a lot of the same areas as I already am."
Weiland will be joining a coaching staff of two others, including the head coach and one other assistant. He says will be doing a little of everything in his new position. "Chelsea is very hands-off," Weiland says about Bemidji's head coach. "She gives us our own accountability. She will give us what we need to do and its up to us if we do the tasks or don't do them."
In his time at ECC, Weiland has had both the support of the community and the athletic staff. "There are a ton of people who have helped me. Obviously I would like to thank Ed Geitz for giving me the assistant position two years ago. I wouldn't be in this position now without that experience. Everyone here on campus has been helpful in some aspect of my time here, especially last year as head coach."
"The community here is great. I was constantly getting asked about the program. We wouldn't have the scholarships here without the E-Club and community that came to all of our events. I would like to thank everyone. The other coaches have been a great support system, too."
Reflecting on his time at ECC, Weiland says, "I liked my time here and am sad to leave people I have come to know and like. This is just how it is in the coaching world. Some stay for a long time and I'm just trying to make my way up. When you have an opportunity to get to a higher level and grow as a coach and leader as someone players and kids can look up to, it's hard to pass up."
Weiland will be starting in his new position at Bemidji State on July 2.