SPRINGFIELD, Ohio--Wittenberg Athletics has announced that associate head women's basketball coach Kelly Mahlum will serve as the interim head coach during the 2016-17 season while Sarah Jurewicz steps away from the program in December on maternity leave.
Coach Mahlum is no stranger to the Tigers; joining the staff in 2011, Mahlum helped elevate the women's basketball program to new heights, including an NCAC Tournament Championship in 2014-15.
"Coach J has re-established this program to be competitive in the NCAC, during a time when the conference has grown to be nationally recognized. I am extremely excited and I take seriously the role of leading this young team this season during Coach J's absence," said Mahlum.
Mahlum brings a plethora of head coaching experience to the Tigers bench, most recently a seven-year stint as head coach at Colorado College from 2001-08. During her tenure in Colorado Springs, Mahlum guided the program to their best record in 15 seasons, while four of the institutions all-time leading scorers played under Mahlum's tutelage.
Prior to Colorado College, Mahlum served as the head coach at Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 1999-2001.
Throughout last season, there was plenty of promise for what the future might hold for Wittenberg women's basketball. As one of the youngest teams in the conference, Wittenberg continued to improve and compete, including being responsible for the only regular season conference loss for conference champion, Denison University.
Junior Becca Ziska returns as the team's leading scorer (10.2 ppg) from a year ago. Senior Michelle Brunswick, who led the team in rebounding (6.9 rpg), join Ziska as one of the top returning scorers from last season. Another key returner for Mahlum's squad is Haley Dannemiller, who brings experience to a relatively young frontcourt after the graduation of two post players.
Wittenberg also welcomes seven newcomers to the roster for the 2016-17 season, as the young team looks to some new faces to capitalize on making an immediate impact, along with a deep sophomore class of six returners.
"Our team is very young, both in class status and court experience. The good news about this is that we will have a tremendous amount of growth this season. How quickly and how much we grow depends on when we find our confidence," continued Mahlum.
Wittenberg opens up the against the Crusaders of Capital University in Pam Evans Smith Arena on November 15. Wittenberg's early schedule is highlighted with a November 26 matchup against defending two-time national champions, Thomas More College.