Sacramento State names Kallhoff WBB Head Coach

Aaron Kallhoff, a veteran collegiate coach with more than two decades of experience as an assistant and head coach, has been named the head coach of Sacramento State’s women’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Mark Orr announced on Monday. He is the seventh head coach in the program’s Division I history.

“I am thrilled to welcome Aaron Kallhoff as the new leader of our women’s basketball program,” Orr said. “He is a dynamic coach and recruiter who is relentless in pursuit of excellence, as evidenced by his outstanding 20-year track record of elevating numerous programs at every level of college basketball.

“Aaron will help transform the lives of our student-athletes on the court, in the classroom, and in their overall development. We are very excited that he and his wife, Josie, and their children, Camden, Caylix, and Capri, are joining our Hornet family and I am confident that he will lead Sacramento State women’s basketball into a successful future.”

Named as one of the most impactful high-major assistant coaches by Silver Waves Media and chosen as one the nation’s top assistant coaches by Top Connect and Women’s Basketball Insider, Kallhoff (pronounced CALL-off) joins the Hornets after helping BYU sign a top-25 nationally ranked recruiting class for 2023-24. He spent the seven years prior to that at Power 5 women’s basketball programs at Penn State (2021-22), LSU (2018-21), and TCU (2015-18).

Along the way, Kallhoff has had a hand in recruiting some of the best and brightest student-athletes at the high school and junior college levels. In addition to his class at BYU, his 2016-17 class at TCU was ranked No. 6 in the country while his 2019-20 class at LSU was ranked No. 20 according to ESPNW. Four of his signees at the Division I level have been named their respective state’s Gatorade High School Players of the Year.

He has also mentored five players who have gone on to join WNBA teams: Adut Bulgak (12th overall selection by the New York Liberty in 2016), Aundrea Gamble (Los Angeles Sparks), Zahna Medley (San Antonio Stars), Khalya Pointer (13th overall selection by the Las Vegas Aces in 2022), and Faustine Aifuwa (35th overall selection by Las Vegas in 2022). All told, Kallhoff has had 21 student-athletes go on to sign professional contracts globally.

Kallhoff also has two years of Division I experience at Arkansas State (2013-15) and 10 years at the junior college level with women’s basketball programs at Trinity Valley Community College (2012-13) in Athens, Texas, Hill College (2008-12) in Hillsboro, Texas, and Allen County Community College (2007-08) in Iola, Kansas. In addition, Kallhoff served as an assistant with the men’s basketball programs at Seward County Community College (2006-07) and Allen County Community College (2003-06).

“I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity given by President Dr. Robert Nelsen, Director of Athletics Mark Orr, Senior Associate Athletics Director Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, and the rest of the great administration at Sacramento State,” Kallhoff said. “I look forward to building on the momentum from this past year’s success and winning championships for many years to come. Our staff will invest endlessly into the student-athletes of our program both on and off the court. My family and I couldn’t be more excited and thankful to be joining the Hornet Family and moving to the amazing city of Sacramento.”

Before embarking on his coaching journey, Kallhoff started his playing career at the junior college level, playing one season at both Iowa Central Community College and Northeast Nebraska Community College before transferring to Bemidji State where he was a two-year starter for the Beavers, leading all of NCAA Division II in assist-to-turnover ratio as a senior.

Off the court, he represented Bemidji State as a chairman for Special Olympics and the United Way Foundation as well as serving as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Kallhoff graduated from Bemidji State in 2003 with a degree in mass communications and a double concentration in public relations/advertising and electronic media. He and his wife, Josie, have three children, Camden, Caylix, and Capri.

• BYU (2022-23):
 Helped lead the Cougars to a postseason WNIT berth… Coached Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist and West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Lauren Gustin, who set BYU single-season and career records for rebounds while leading the nation at 16.7 rpg… Gustin and teammate Nani Falatea were first-team All-WCC selections… Gustin became the only player at any level of NCAA basketball to record both 500 points and 500 rebounds and was a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award as the nation’s top power forward for the second consecutive season.

• PENN STATE (2021-22): Spent one season with the Nittany Lions, helping Penn State sign one of the best transfer classes in the nation… He coached a pair of All-Big Ten honorees in first-team guard Makenna Marisa, who was also a CoSIDA Academic All-America third team selection, and all-freshman team honoree guard Leilani Kapinus, who ranked fourth in school history in blocks by a freshman (33), seventh in steals (59), and ninth in rebounds (165), while earning Academic All-Big Ten honors.

• LSU (2018-21): Was the top assistant under Head Coach Nikki Fargas, now the President of the WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, for three seasons at LSU…Helped the Tigers to 46 wins in his three seasons on the sidelines, including a 21-10 season and a projected No. 7-9 seed in the NCAA Tournament prior to the COVID-19 pandemic… LSU was ranked as high as No. 24 in the both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls… Responsible for developing the LSU post players… Mentored a pair of All-SEC Defensive Team members in guard Khayla Pointer and post Faustine Aifuwa and a pair of All-SEC first-team selections in Pointer and post Ayana Mitchell.

• TCU (2015-18): Helped the Horned Frogs to a pair of postseason appearances in his three seasons in Fort Worth… Guided the team to 23 wins and a semifinal appearance in the WNIT in 2017-18… Team won 18 games his first year at TCU, reaching the third round of the WNIT… Worked with TCU’s post players in his three seasons, helping develop a pair of All-Big 12 selections in center Jordan Moore and 2018 Big 12 Sixth Woman of the Year forward Amy Okonkwo… The Horned Frogs were ranked as high as No. 22 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls in 2017-18… Mentored guard Zahna Medley, who went on to become the all-time leading scorer in program history and a first-team All-Big 12 selection… Assisted in guiding TCU to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals for the first time since joining the conference in 2018.

• ARKANSAS STATE (2013-15): The Red Wolves won 46 games in his two seasons on the sidelines, including their first postseason victory since 2007 with a win over Western Michigan in the first round of the WNIT at home… Also qualified for the WNIT in 2013-14 following the school’s first outright Sun Belt Conference title, facing off against UTEP in the first round following an appearance in the Sun Belt Tournament championship game… During the 2014-15 campaign, helped Arkansas State to the second-most wins in program history with 24 — including a 14-1 record at home — and a combined 30-8 record in the Sun Belt Conference, including a school-record 16 wins in 2014-15… Mentored guard Aundrea Gamble to back-to-back Sun Belt Player of the Year awards and a WBCA Honorable Mention All-America award, while being nominated for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

• JUNIOR COLLEGE: Helped lead the Lady Cardinals at Trinity Valley Community College to a 36-1 record and a seventh NJCAA National Championship in his one season while also serving as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach… Finished 18-0 in conference play and won the Region 14 regular season and tournament titles… Coached a pair of NJCAA/WBCA All-Americans in Shannon Smith and Adut Bulgak… Spent four seasons as head women’s basketball coach at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, and was named the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2011-12… Led the Lady Rebels to a 27-5 overall record (the most wins in school history), 14 wins in conference play (the most in school history), and won the NTJCAC regular season title for the first time in school history… Coached the conference’s player of the year, defensive player of the year, and the freshman of the year that season… Had three Hill College players named NJCAA/WBCA All-Americans… The Lady Rebels were named an NJCAA/WBCA Academic All-American Team in three of his four seasons… As head coach at Allen County Community College, qualified for the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Regional Tournament in his lone season while mentoring Jayhawk East all-conference selection Brittany Johnson… Team finished with a cumulative 3.1 GPA… Spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s team at Allen County Community College and one year at Seward County Community College, qualifying for the KJCCC Regional Tournament in three of the four seasons, coaching five all-conference selections, three all-region honorees, and one NJCAA All-American.

• Signed the No. 22-ranked recruiting class in the nation at BYU for the 2023-24 season, including the Gatorade High School Players of the Year in the states of Utah and Idaho as well as the two-time Nevada Gatorade State Player of the Year.
• The LSU 2019-20 class was ranked No. 20 in the nation according to ESPNW.
• Recruited the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior college player in Sarah Shematsi to LSU in 2019-20.
• Signed the No. 5-ranked junior college player in Awa Trasi and recruited the Louisiana High School Gatorade Player of the Year in Tiara Young in 2018-19.
• Recruited and signed TCU’s first-ever McDonald’s All-American in Amber Ramirez in 2016-17.

• Played two seasons of junior college basketball, spending one year at Iowa Central Community College and a second season at Northeast Nebraska Community College.
• Transferred to Bemidji State in Minnesota where he was a two-year starter from 2001-03, appearing in 57 career games and helping the Beavers to 34 wins.
• As a senior in 2002-03, led all of NCAA Division II in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.57).
• Represented Bemidji State as a chairman for Special Olympics and the United Way Foundation.
• Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Nikki Fargas, President, WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces

“Aaron has a deep understanding of creating a winning culture. He has a tremendous understanding of the overall development and growth of the student-athlete while building a synergistic team environment. I’m very confident that his coaching skills will continue the winning tradition in competition and in the classroom. His recruiting network will attract quality student-athletes who will strive to win championships.”

Carolyn Kieger, Head Coach, Penn State

“Sacramento State got a great one! Aaron has a relentless work ethic and a passion for building strong relationships. He puts his heart and soul into everything he touches. His standard of excellence carries over to everything he does. His players will love his intensity for the game and his ability to build up their confidence. The future is very bright under his leadership.”

Ike Ukaegbu, Deputy Director of Athletics, Washington State

“Sacramento State made a tremendous hire in Aaron Kallhoff! His commitment, passion, integrity, and ability to build strong relationships with his student-athletes will result in championships and off-court success for the Hornets’ women’s basketball program.”

Kevin McGuff, Head Coach, Ohio State

“This is a terrific hire for Sacramento State. Aaron is a proven winner who will bring instant credibility to the program. He’ll keep the Hornets competing for Big Sky championships.”

Debbie Antonelli, ESPN College Basketball Analyst

“Aaron will put the student before athlete and create a competitive culture that will produce wins on and off the court. Aaron is a family guy with strong family values that he will incorporate into his coaching style and in building relationships with his players and the community. His influences are some of the best teachers and communicators in our game.”

Adut Bulgak, WNBA Draft Pick and former player

“I couldn’t be more excited for Coach ‘AK’ since he’s had a huge role in my development as a player and, also, as a person. He’s filled with so much love and knowledge for the game and I can’t wait to watch him lead this program to great heights. Great hire by Sac State! Good luck ‘AK!'”

Tagged with: