FARGO — It's down to four candidates for the next head women's basketball coach at North Dakota State. All are assistants at the Division I level.
University of Denver associate head coach Kayla Ard, Kansas assistant coach Jory Collins, Nebraska assistant coach Chuck Love and Drake associate head coach Allison Pohlman are in line to replace Maren Walseth, who parted ways with NDSU last month after five seasons.
Love perhaps has the closest connection with NDSU having been on the staff of Nebraska head coach Amy Williams for seven years, the last three with the Cornhuskers. They were previously at the University of South Dakota with the Coyotes winning three Summit League titles and reaching the Summit tournament title game all four years. The other Summit connection involves Ard, who just finished her second season as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator with the Pioneers.
Prior to Denver, Ard was an assistant at the University of Dayton for two years and Clemson for two years.
Pohlman has been at Drake since 2007 after spending seven seasons as an assistant at Northern Iowa. She is also the Bulldogs' recruiting coordinator. Collins just finished his first season as the Jayhawks' assistant after spending eight seasons as the head coach at Emporia State (Kan.). He led the Lady Hornets to seven 20-win seasons and six trips to the NCAA Division II tournament.
It's been a struggle for NDSU to replace legendary head coach Amy Ruley, who resigned from coaching in 2008 after 29 years and a 671-198 record. The Bison hired Utah assistant Carolyn DeHoff, who went 72-105 in six seasons. Walseth didn't fare any better going 40-106 in five seasons. She had a year left on her six-year contract when the separation with NDSU was announced.
NDSU's last winning season was 2009-10 when the Bison went 16-13. NDSU won its first Summit League tournament game in 2009, the first year of Division I eligibility, but has been winless since.
NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen said he's going to refrain from comment until a coach is hired. The position was expected to draw a lot of interest considering the NDSU budget, which is bigger than most mid-majors, a recently-renovated arena and a Summit League that put two teams into the NCAA tournament this year.