The IUPUI Athletics Department has announced the hiring of Kate Bruce as the tenth head coach in the history of the women’s basketball program. Bruce comes to IUPUI from Walsh University where she was the program’s all-time winningest head coach and guided the Cavaliers to four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.
Bruce compiled a 134-43 (.757) record over her six-year tenure, including a 28-5 mark and the program’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance this past season. Her .757 winning percentage ranks among the nation’s best over the past six years while she’s also guided Walsh to an impressive 100-25 mark (.800) in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC).
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank the search committee for its work throughout the entire process. We’re excited to name Coach Bruce the next head coach of our basketball program. She emerged from a deep and talented candidate pool and impressed us with her winning background, her vision for continuing the program’s success and her ability to connect with her student-athletes,” Perry said. “She’s going to be an incredible addition to our department and a great leader for our young women. We’re excited to welcome the Bruce family to the IUPUI Athletics family.”
“We are delighted to welcome Coach Bruce to lead our women’s basketball program at IUPUI. An All-American athlete herself, Coach Bruce’s winning record speaks volumes as does the coaching legacy she represents,” interim IUPUI Chancellor Andrew R. Klein said. “We look forward to Coach Bruce leading our team to success both on and off the court.”
“I am very excited to be the next Head Women’s Basketball Coach at IUPUI. I would like to thank Chancellor Klein, Dr. Perry and the search committee for this incredible opportunity,” Bruce said. “My family and I are thrilled to become a part of the Indianapolis community. I look forward to building on the previous success of IUPUI women’s basketball that the university and Indianapolis communities can continue to be proud of.”
Bruce led Walsh to back-to-back G-MAC regular season and tournament titles in 2019 and 2020 and was named the 2020 G-MAC Coach of the Year. Her 2020 squad had the first undefeated mark in G-MAC history at 18-0 and set a program record for most consecutive victories (26). The team ranked No. 5 in the country in scoring offense (85.6 ppg) and finished the year with a 28-2 record. She won 20 games or more in four of her six seasons and had a winning record in all six seasons.
Bruce recruited and coached the top two leading scorers in Walsh history in Sha Carter and Mayci Sales and, in total, recruited and coached one Regional Player of the Year, two All-Americans, two G-MAC Players of the Year, one G-MAC Freshman of the Year and 12 all-conference performers.
Bruce has been successful at every stop, excelling as a player, assistant coach and head coach. She starred at Florida Gulf Coast University for legendary head coach Karl Smesko, earning Division II All-America honors while helping the Eagles to the 2007 NCAA Division II National Runner-up finish. Despite playing just two seasons at FGCU, she finished as the program’s all-time leader in points, field goals made, free throws made and free throw percentage. She played one season professionally for the Perrik Jumpers in Holland before returning to FGCU as graduate assistant coach in 2008.
A year later, she was promoted to an assistant spot and helped FGCU to a 50-12 overall mark and 34-6 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference while earning back-to-back WNIT berths in 2009 and 2010. She later had assistant coaching stints at Youngstown State (2010-13) and Ohio University (2013-16) before taking over the Walsh program in 2016. At YSU, the Penguins won 23 games and advanced to the 2013 WNIT in Bruce’s final season with the program.
At Ohio, the Bobcats went 62-33 in her three seasons and won back-to-back Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles in 2015 and 2016. OU won a school record 27 games in 2015 and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.
Kate and her husband Jesse are the proud parents of three children – Brenna, Laney and Evan.
Bruce will be officially introduced on Thursday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m. inside the Jungle on the IUPUI campus. The event is open the public and media members are welcome to attend.