The Cleveland State University Department of Athletics has announced Chris Kielsmeier as the seventh head coach of the Cleveland State women’s basketball program. Kielsmeier joins the Vikings with 20 years of collegiate coaching experience and will begin his duties immediately.
Kielsmeier will be officially introduced on Thursday, April 19 at a 4:00 p.m. press conference on the fifth floor of the Wolstein Center (2000 Prospect Ave.)
“We are very excited to welcome Chris to the Viking Family and look forward to his leadership of the Cleveland State women’s basketball program,” Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. “Coach Kielsmeier has consistently developed successful programs on and off the court and has established a tradition of winning as a head coach at his previous institutions, which we hope will be a continuing trend at Cleveland State. With Chris at the helm, I truly believe the Viking women’s basketball program has an extremely bright future.”
Kielsmeier comes to Cleveland State after 10 years as the head women’s basketball coach at Wayne State College (NE) – a perennial Division II powerhouse. During his tenure, Kielsmeier led Wayne State College to a 237-72 record, becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history.
“I could not be more excited for the opportunity to lead the Cleveland State women’s basketball program. Cleveland State University is a premiere academic institution with an outstanding athletics and women’s basketball program, and I am very happy to be a part of the family,” Kielsmeier said. “My vision and philosophy for the program will be very simple, and my staff, players and I, will work as hard as we can every day to put our program in a position to be successful at the highest level and always do it the right way, both on and off the court.”
During his time with the Wildcats, Kielsmeier led the program to a top-20 ranking during multiple years, including a No. 4 USA Today/ESPN final ranking during the 2011-12 season – the highest final ranking in school history.
Throughout 10 years with Wayne State College, Kielsmeier guided the Wildcats to seven 20-win seasons, including a program record 32-3 record during 2011-12. WSC captured four Northern Sun Conference regular season titles (2011, 2012, 2014 & 2015) and two Northern Sun Conference tournament crowns (2010 & 2012) under his guidance, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 & 2015).
Kielsmeier was a two-time Northern Sun Conference Coach of the Year (2010 & 2012), and was also named the WBCA Region 7 Coach of the Year following the 2011-12 campaign.
Prior to his time at Wayne State College, Kielsmeier spent nine seasons at Howard Payne University, eight as the head women’s basketball coach and one as an assistant coach.
Kielsmeier accumulated a 179-44 record as head coach of the Yellow Jackets, and led HPU to a Division III National Title during the 2007-08 season.
As the winningest coach in program history at HPU, Kielsmeier helped the Yellow Jackets to three American Southwest Conference titles (2005, 2007 & 2008) and was a three-time ASC Coach of the Year (2005, 2007 & 2008), two-time WBCA Region 5 Coach of the Year (2007 & 2008), and the 2008 WBCA National Coach of the Year.
With five 20-win seasons at HPU, Kielsmeier has a combined career coaching record of 416-116.
During his career, Kielsmeier has mentored three All-Americans, five honorable mention All-Americans, two national Players of the Year, over 50 all-conference selections, and more than 75 all-academic selections.
“I want to thank Mr. Thomas, Ms. House-Browning, Ms. Worthington Wilson, and the rest of the search committee for giving me the chance to be a part of the Viking Family. Throughout this entire process, everyone at Cleveland State has been so nice and welcoming, and I cannot wait to get started!” Kielsmeier said.
For the past three seasons, Kielsmeier has served on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Board of Director’s Executive Committee – the only non-Division I head coach to be part of the committee.
Kielsmeier was inducted into the Howard Payne University Athletic Hall of Fame on October 24, 2014.
A native of Iowa, Kielsmeier is a 1999 graduate of Iowa State, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sports management.DI Head Coach