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Contract Extension for Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kristen Gillespie

Written by on November 15, 2019

NORMAL-Illinois State women’s basketball head coach Kristen Gillespie signed a two-year contract extension that runs through 2024.

“I was just thrilled that President Dietz and Larry Lyons, our athletic director had enough belief in the direction our program has gone in the last two years to extend our staff that additional two years. I think that Illinois State is such a fantastic place and it could be a really special place” said Gillespie. “It was a really easy decision to sign that contract.”

Under Coach Gillespie, the Redbirds have seen a change in their program. Last season, the Redbirds finished with a 19-12 overall record and a 11-7 record in Missouri Valley Conference play which is the most wins they have earned in the past six seasons. Coach Gillespie explains what changes she has seen in her three seasons as head coach.

“I think a change in our culture within our program of just a tremendous belief in our players that we can get back to the where the program once was. I think we have done a great job with our recruiting, our staff has done an outstanding job. I think my assistants are some of the best recruiters in the country of getting higher caliber student athletes in here to really compete” said Gillespie. “Our goal is to win a Valley. I know it’s going to take a little bit of time, but I think in the last two years you’ve seen us take steps in the right direction and we want to continue that trend.”

Coach Gillespie also talked about the future for the program.

“Our staffs goal everyday and we talk about it, we want to be at the top of the Valley. Right now, Drake and Missouri State are probably the two teams that have a strong hold at the top of the leaderboard, but we want to become one of those two teams” said Gillespie. “We want to put ourselves in a position to win conference every year and to play in the NCAA tournament. We’ve talked about that in recruiting, that’s what we’re selling to our recruits that you come to Illinois State, you continue to help us build that before you graduate. That is our sole goal, not only to play in the NCAA tournament, but we want to win games in the NCAA tournament.”

The Redbirds return to action as they travel to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, November 16th at 2 p.m.