Pohlman elevated to Head Coach at Drake

Allison Pohlman, a longtime associate head coach and one of the primary architects of the Drake women’s basketball program’s renaissance, has been named the Suzie Glazer Burt Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Drake University.

Drake director of athletics Brian Hardin announced Pohlman’s hiring Sunday, April 18. A formal introduction of the seventh women’s basketball head coach in Drake history will follow on Monday, April 26 at a time and location to be announced.

Pohlman has been a member of the Drake staff since 2007 and elevated to associate head coach in 2014 by then-head coach Jennie Baranczyk. Last week, Baranczyk accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma after nine seasons at Drake.

“Allison has been a critical part of our women’s basketball program’s success. Throughout this process, it became incredibly apparent that in addition to her proven record of achievement as an assistant, she also possessed the perfect combination of vision, drive and leadership to continue the ascent of our program as its head coach,” Hardin said. “Her passion for our program, University and student-athletes is unrivaled. Allison’s values align perfectly with our athletic department and I know she will continue the Drake women’s basketball tradition of developing strong women leaders both on the basketball court and in life.” 

In her 14 years on the Drake campus, Pohlman has crafted and established a proven legacy of culture building, on-court excellence and the ability to recruit and develop some of the finest student-athletes in Drake history. 

“This truly is a dream come true,” Pohlman said. “I’ve always held Drake in the highest regard and every day I am reminded of the prominence of this program as I walk through the Knapp Center and see the tradition displayed on those banners. I’m grateful to President Martin and Brian Hardin for having the faith and trust in me to continue that tradition. I’m ecstatic about not only this opportunity, but the people I get to do it with. It was an honor to work with Jennie to create the success we had and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to build upon that success.”

As the Bulldogs’ recruiting coordinator under Baranczyk, Pohlman has assembled rosters that advanced to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, won four regular-season Missouri Valley Conference titles, two MVC Tournament championships and a record of 123-39.

Her recruiting efforts led to Bulldogs earning six Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year honors and four MVC Freshman of the Year accolades. A total of 27 of her recruits have earned All-MVC honors during her tenure. 

Those same student-athletes have helped the Bulldogs become a source of pride in the Des Moines community and an elite team in the classroom. The culture that Pohlman helped direct led to the team annually performing more than 1,000 hours of community service. Academically, the team has ranked in the top 10 nationally in team GPA for six-straight seasons, with the Bulldogs earning a total of six CoSIDA Academic All-Americans to rank among the national leaders.

“I am thrilled to welcome Allison as the next head coach for Drake women’s basketball,” said Drake University President Marty Martin, “She brings everything needed for success to her new position – strong leadership, a brilliant basketball mind, and a deep commitment to the well-being and success of our student-athletes. The future is bright for our women’s basketball program!”

Pohlman’s success and familiarity in the MVC and within the state of Iowa run even deeper than her 14 years at Drake.

Before joining the Drake staff, the Wellsburg, Iowa native spent seven seasons on staff at UNI and served as the Panthers’ associate head coach during the 2006-07 campaign. She began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at UNI in 2000-01 before being elevated to an assistant coach for the following season at her alma mater.

As a player from 1996-2000, the former Allison Starr, was one of the top student-athletes in UNI history as the centerpiece in the rejuvenation of UNI women’s basketball under retired head coach Tony DiCecco. In 1997, she was named to the MVC’s All-Freshman team. In each of her final three seasons, she was named All-MVC First Team and to The Valley’s All-Defensive Team.She was runner-up to Jackie Stiles for the MVC’s Player of the Year award in 2000 and named The Valley’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Pohlman capped her career by ranking second in UNI history with 1,463 points, third with 711 rebounds, second with 274 steals, fifth with 278 assists, and the school record holder for free throws made, free throws attempted, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, double-doubles and steals per game. Pohlman was inducted into the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 2011.

The Wellsburg, Iowa native and her husband, Kirk, have triplet daughters, Quinn, Rubie and Sidny. Pohlman holds a bachelor’s of science in Dietetics and a master’s degree in Health Education from UNI. 

Photo Courtesy Drake Athletics

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