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Wisconsin-Milwaukee Offseason News Update

October 31, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Wisconsin-Milwaukee Offseason News Update

by Nick Dettmann



Assistant leaves for head coaching job

Last season’s magical run to the NCAA tournament has been very rewarding this past off-season. Unfortunately, it led to the loss of one of its coaches.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee assistant coach Ryan Swanson accepted a position to be the head coach at Garden City Community College in Kansas.

Swanson, a native of Hutchinson, Kan., spent the last two seasons as an assistant under UWM head coach Bruce Pearl. Prior to his stint with the Panthers, he was the head coach at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa and St. Catharine Junior College in Kentucky. He is 92-37 as a head coach.

“We’re very happy for Ryan. He grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, and played for that storied program,” Pearl said. “It’s an opportunity to be a head coach in one of the finest junior-college leagues in the country and to go home. It was an opportunity too good to pass up.”

Former walk-on takes on new role

Former walk-on Justin Lettenberger suited up into a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers uniform 98 times during his four-year career. Now, he will wear a uniform that will entail a sport coat and tie.

One day after losing assistant coach Ryan Swanson to Garden City Community College, Lettenberger was added to the coaching staff as an undergraduate assistant.

A Manitowoc, Wis. native, Lettenberger played in 98 games for the black and gold, starting 17 of them. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. As a high school stand-out at Manitowoc Lincoln High School, he led his team to back-to-back appearances in the state tournament while being named to the All-State team following his senior season.

“Justin played for a great high school coach in Mark Christenson, a very good college coach in Bo Ryan and a fair coach in myself, giving him a very good pedigree,” UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Justin is mature beyond his years, enabling him to make the transition from being a teammate to an assistant.

“Having Justin on my staff gives me another opportunity to make a statement to my student-athletes about where hard work can get you,” Pearl added. “He can be a role model for all of our returning players and all of our incoming players.”

Lettenberger, who won the Dexter Reisch Memorial Scholarship Award at the annual student-athlete award banquet, was also a regular on the Dean’s List at UWM and is a UWM Scholar-Athlete.

Two decide to transfer

Redshirt freshman Gordy Zastrow and recruit Andre White decided to pursue a different route in their academic and basketball paths as they will transfer to junior college.

Zastrow was a red shirt at UWM last season and decided to transfer from UWM due to academic reasons. White signed a letter of intent to attend UWM last fall, but he decided to attend a two-year college instead.

Both players were on scholarship at UWM this upcoming season. UWM now can use those scholarships on other incoming players.

Administrative assistant gets promotion

After spending the last two seasons as the administrative assistant, Jason Shay was promoted to assistant men’s basketball coach on July 23.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Shay said. “It has been a goal of mine to be a Division 1 assistant coach. I really have to thank Bruce Pearl and (athletic director) Bud Haidet for giving me this opportunity. I’m already looking forward to another great season.”

Shay, a former walk-on at the University of Iowa, spent two seasons at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., before moving onto UWM. At Mercyhurst, he was an assistant coach for men’s basketball and the assistant sports information director.

Shay played four years with the Hawkeyes under Dr. Tom Davis and then-assistant coach Pearl. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and a master’s degree in Sports Management in 1998 from Western Illinois University.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity for Jason to move onto the court,” Pearl said. “His experience at Iowa as a player and as a coach will enable him to make a tremendous contribution to our players’ individual development.

“Jason will assist associate head coach Tony Jones in recruiting and be extremely involved in scouting. I’m really please to be able to reward his loyalty to me by offering him this position.”

Shay will replace the departed Ryan Swanson who left to take the head coaching position at Garden City Community College.

Moore named Director of Basketball Operations

Former Missouri and Providence stand-out Kendrick Moore was hired as the new director of basketball operations on Sept. 10.

Moore spent his first two years of college basketball with the University of Missouri Tigers. He helped lead Missouri to the round of 32 as a freshman and to the NIT as a sophomore before transferring to Providence.

Moore was not only a stud on the court; he was a stud in the classroom. He received academic All-Big 12 honors in both years with Missouri and held a post on the Big East Student-Athlete Advisory Committee while he was with Providence.

Moore first started his coaching career in 1999 as an assistant coach at the University of Hartford. In 2000, he moved on to coach at Manhattan College.

People have asked, ‘Has last year’s success helped in recruiting?'” UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. “The answer is yes, in both the people we’ve been able to attract to play for us and now, in this case, work for us.

“Kendrick was a top-notch student-athlete at Missouri and Providence College. He is an experienced assistant coach and will do a wonderful job directing our basketball operations.”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity at hand and feel that I will be a great addition to an already exceptional staff here at UWM,” Moore said.

Panthers embark on European journey

After four years in the making, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee finally embarked on their trip to Europe.

Replacing seven seniors on a team that made their first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament will not be easy. But, according to UWM head coach Bruce Pearl, this is how they are going to find out what kind of team he has.

“This is the perfect time in the development of our program to make this trip,” Pearl said. “We have five red shirts that will be looking to replace a very talented senior class. This summer we’ll get a first-hand look at what kind of team we’ll be next year.”

From August 18 thru 29, the UWM men’s basketball trip flew into Europe to play six international teams in three countries. The Panthers played teams in Belgium, Germany and France, going 1-1 in each country.

“Having been on these trips at both Stanford and Iowa, I know it is an experience our student-athletes will cherish for the rest of their lives,” UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. “We plan on having them be as involved in educational and cultural activities as much as they will be playing basketball.”

All of the veteran players on the roster, including starters Dylan Page and Nate Mielke made the trip. Newcomers such as Ed McCants did not make the trip.

The requirements for the trip were that the student had to have completed 60 UWM credits and have at least sophomore standing.

     

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