Roussell looks for success in fifth season with women’s basketball

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-Editor

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Head women’s basketball coach Aaron Roussell hopes to continue the success he has found during his four seasons with the Bison in the team’s 2016-2017 season-opener on Nov. 11 against Binghamton.

A 2001 graduate of the University of Iowa, Roussell was a double major in political science and journalism while balancing his role on the varsity basketball squad. Despite his plans to attend law school and potentially run for political office, he realized toward the end of college that his plans were changing. Though he never expected to pursue a career within basketball, he followed his passion.

“I am incredibly thankful that I was able to make a career in something I love doing,” Roussell said.

His passion for the game was extended to coaching early on, as he coached while was still in college and during his summers. Right after graduating from Iowa, Roussell coached a high school boys’ team in Minnesota, where he made a connection with a women’s college coach. His connection led to him being offered an assistant coaching position at Minnesota State while he completed his master’s degree.

“I had never coached on the female side until that experience, but I loved it and was fortunate enough to keep finding jobs in the profession,” Roussell said.

The five-year Bison veteran continued his coaching experience for eight years at the University of Chicago, where he recorded the most victories and highest winning percentage of any women’s coach in the program’s history.

Roussell enjoyed coaching at the Divison III level because the schools offered student-athletes the perfect balance of athletics and academics. His transition to the University was mostly due to the Bison’s similar model that offers his players the same balance at an even higher level of play.

“It is that model that has allowed us to recruit and develop a high-level athlete that wants the academics and opportunities [the University] provides,” Roussell said.

Since coming to the University five years ago, Roussell has improved the Bison’s record in each of his seasons. The past season was one of the women’s best in the program’s history, as the Bison posted a 17-1 conference record. Roussell boasts honors such as 2015-2016 Patriot League Coach of the Year, as well as leading many of his athletes to be named to First Team All-Patriot League, All-Conference, and All-Rookie honors.

Despite the team’s upset in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals last season, the Orange and Blue had an impressive comeback to snag the first round Women’s National Invitation Tournament victory for a Patriot League team. As the start to the 2016-2017 season approaches, the women look to Roussell to lead them in continuation of their past success.

“I wouldn’t trade this team or any of our players for anyone,” Roussell said. “They inspire me to work hard and do a good job for them; I want nothing more than for each of them to see success together this season. They are a fun group; I would put the chemistry and how much enjoyment they get from each other up against any other team in the country.”

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