MITCHELL, S.D. (KWSN)– Matt Wilber has been hired to take over as the head men’s basketball coach at Dakota Wesleyan University, athletic director Curt Hart announced Thursday afternoon.
Wilber – who becomes the 19th head coach in DWU men’s basketball history – takes over for Shane Murphy, who resigned in May after three years with the program to pursue a career outside of coaching. Wilber comes to Dakota Wesleyan with a resume full of state and local connections and basketball experience at all levels of the game.
“Matt’s energy and excitement about the future of Dakota Wesleyan men’s basketball, as well as his connections with both high school and college coaches in the area, made him stand out as our choice for the next basketball coach here at DWU,” Hart said. “His coaching experience at three of the top colleges in the state, combined with his work with TIBBS and the connections he has made there, translate into very positive connections recruiting-wise for Dakota Wesleyan. I think he will hit the ground running and will make a smooth transition into the college coaching world.”
Most recently, Wilber – a Miller, S.D., native – was the co-owner and director of Tibbetts Instructional Basketball School (TIBBS) with Nate Tibbetts, who was hired in May as an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers. Wilber ran the basketball school, which worked with between 800 and 1,000 basketball players from around the area each year, and helped it grow from a program that started in a residential home gym and was recently purchased by Sanford Health to be the focal basketball development program in the Sanford Pentagon, a $20 million, 11-court basketball facility.
Through his work with TIBBS, Wilber, a Dell Rapids High School graduate, developed connections with high school basketball players from around South Dakota and the Midwest. He also directed summer camps and satellite camps with TIBBS, which allowed him to create connections with area high school basketball coaches that will be vital in the recruiting process at Dakota Wesleyan.
Prior to his work at TIBBS, Wilber was an assistant coach at South Dakota State University for two seasons and the University of Sioux Falls for one season. At SDSU, Wilber was an assistant for head coach Scott Nagy during the Jackrabbits’ transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I from 2004-06. He assisted with recruiting both on and off campus, practice planning, scouting, game management, film exchange and off-season workouts. He also assisted with budget management and game scheduling, and he served as the team’s academic and travel coordinator.
Wilber worked under Shane Murphy for one season at USF in the 2003-04 season. He helped Murphy with recruiting and NAIA compliance guidelines. He also had a hand in practice planning, scouting, game management, budget coordination and film exchange and served as the junior varsity coach. His work at USF also allowed Wilber to get familiar with every aspect of the Great Plains athletic Conference.
“Matt’s passion, experience and commitment to the mission of Dakota Wesleyan University resonated with our student athletes, our search committee, our athletic department and myself,” Dakota Wesleyan University president Amy Novak said. “I am extremely confident that his coaching style, commitment to academic success and motivational strategies will strengthen the DWU men’s basketball program and continue to create transforming experiences for our students.
“There were a number of very qualified candidates for this position, but Matt’s vision for the program elevated him to the top.”
Wilber got his start in coaching at Augustana College, his alma mater. He was a student assistant from 2002-03 for coach Perry Ford and helped with recruiting, scouting, film exchange and practice planning. He played for the Vikings from 1997-2002 and was a two-year starter. He joined the team as a walk-on, but earned a scholarship his junior and senior seasons and finished in the top 10 in career 3-pointers made. He earned academic all-conference honorable mention honors in 2001. Wilber was also a four-year starter for the Augustana baseball team and he played infield, outfield and pitcher throughout his career.
Wilber and his wife, Lindsay, have four children: twins Benjamin and AJ, 7; Nathan, 5 and Tyson, four months. They currently reside in Sioux Falls, but plan to begin the transition to Mitchell immediately. He also said he plans to start the recruiting process immediately and plans to be on the road this weekend looking at players.
“I’m completely honored and humbled by being selected for this position,” Wilber said. “I understand the rich tradition of DWU and the past and recent success we’ve had with men’s basketball, and I couldn’t be more excited to carry that on and build on that and I’m ready to get going.
“(My family) wants to become a part of the Mitchell community right away. We want our kids in the Mitchell school district next year, and we want our kids to grow up and be Mitchell Kernels.”
Courtesy: Dakota Wesleyan University