Northern Kentucky Women’s Basketball Staff Update

 It is a true homecoming for Northern Kentucky women’s basketball and head coach Jeff Hans, as the hirings of Molly Bateman, Gabby Johnson and Brenden Stowers were made official on Tuesday.

The three assistants, all from the Tri-State area with NKU ties, rounds out the first coaching staff of the Hans era for the 2024-25 campaign.

“It was essential to put a staff together that lives the values of Northern Kentucky University Athletics and our Women’s Basketball program,” an excited Hans said. “Molly, Gabby, and Brenden will help our current and future student-athletes grow on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.”


Bateman joins the Norse after a nearly three-year stint as the assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at local Xavier University. She started as the Musketeers assistant athletics director for women’s basketball in 2020 and was then promoted to assistant coach in 2021 and assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in 2022.

No stranger to the Horizon League, Bateman served as an assistant coach at Detroit Mercy from 2015-20, where she added the title of recruiting coordinator for her last two seasons on the Titans sideline. She assisted in coaching five student-athletes to All-Conference honors and saw the program establish two single-season school records during her time on the bench. Bateman helped the team advance to the Horizon League Championship game in 2017. She was also recognized as one of the top-30 up-and-coming women’s basketball coaches nationally with an appearance on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Thirty Under 30 in 2019.

“I am absolutely thrilled to join the staff and work under Coach Hans,” Bateman said. “He has had proven success as a head coach and knows how to win. I am excited to be part of the Northern Kentucky family and help give our student-athletes a great experience on-and-off the court!”

“I am excited to welcome Molly to the Norse Family,” Hans added. “She will bring great energy along with experience gained over eight seasons as a Division I assistant coach. Molly does a good job of building relationships with our student-athletes and high-level recruits and gets them to campus.”

Prior to her time at Detroit, she also had previous coaching stops at Mount Union (2013-15) and Averett University (2011-13). The New Weston, Ohio native played at Defiance College from 2007-11, where she earned All-Conference honors as a senior. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Defiance College (2011) and a master’s in business administration from Averett University (2013).


Johnson makes her return to the NKU sidelines as an assistant coach with the program, a role she held under legendary coach Nancy Winstel in the early 2010’s.

She makes her way back to Highland Heights after spending the past two years as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at national power South Dakota.

“It feels great to be back at NKU and to have the chance to work with Jeff again,” Johnson said. “It means a lot to be a Norse, and I am excited to share that excitement with recruits, coaches, and alumni.” 

“Gabby is an outstanding addition to our staff,” said Hans. “She brings multiple years of experience at various programs that will help us build NKU women’s basketball to a new level. Gabby has a great knowledge of the game and will connect with our current student-athletes as well as future Norse.”

Prior to South Dakota, Johnson spent the previous four seasons serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at a pair of Division I schools, including three seasons at the Missouri Valley’s Valparaiso and one year at the Big East’s Butler. While at Valpo, she helped guide one of the nation’s most impressive year-over-year turnarounds from 2019 to 2020. The Crusaders jumped 171 spots in the RPI, the largest leap by any NCAA Division I program that season.

Johnson also brings head coaching experience with her to Highland Heights. She served six seasons as the head coach of Dominican University, an NCAA Division III program in Illinois.

Previous assistant coaching stops from Johnson include Northern Kentucky and her alma mater, Thomas More College. She was on the bench for two-time National Coach of the Year Nancy Winstel’s final two seasons at Northern Kentucky.

Johnson graduated from Thomas More College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2009. There she led the Saints to three-straight NCAA Division III Tournament appearances as a student-athlete, reaching the Sweet 16 her senior season. She graduated with the third-most career assists in program history.


Stowers is too making his way back to NKU after he served as an assistant with the men’s basketball program in the early 2010’s after a stellar four-year career with the Norse.

He has spent the past two years as the head girls’ basketball coach at Simon Kenton High School, where he most recently led the team to their sixth eighth region title and a spot in the Sweet 16.

“Black and gold runs in my family’s blood and the chance to give back to this university was a no-brain decision for me and my family,” Stowers said. “I am excited to get started and help Jeff take this program to a new level.”

“It is great to have Brenden back in the Norse family,” Hans said. “Brenden excels in the X’s and O’s and will be instrumental in our player development. He is a hard worker that has a passion for NKU and will help us be successful on the court and in the classroom.”

To go with his time leading the Kenton High School program, he had stops as a video coordinator at Xavier University for two years, an assistant men’s coach at NKU for a year and spent a year as an assistant men’s coach at Thomas More College. Stowers was also the assistant varsity girls coach at Simon Kenton from 2004-08.

Stowers graduated from Simon Kenton in 1999 and was a standout with the Norse from 1999-2003. In his senior season at NKU, he was named the Co-Player of the Year in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and a Second Team NCAA Division II All-America.

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