WSU hires new men’s & women’s basketball assoc. coaches

Lucy Lavalley, Sports Reporter

Winona State University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have given the title of Associate Head Coach to two of their assistant coaches.
For the women’s basketball team, that title was given to alum Ana Wurtz.
For the men’s basketball team, it was given to alum Zach Malvik. Malvik graduated from Winona State in 2007 and is a two-time hall of famer.
During Malvik’s time playing as a Warrior point guard, he helped the team win the program’s first national championship in 2005-6 and led the team back to the championship game the following year.
Malvik’s playing career did not end there.
“After my career at WSU, I was fortunate to be able to go on and play three years professionally overseas” Malvik said.
Malvik returned to the Warrior’s basketball program in April of 2014 as an assistant coach and was awarded the new title prior to the 2019-20 season.
Wurtz began her career as a Warrior in 2006, and she said Coach Malvik is to thank for that.
“My dad is a head basketball coach and my dad had had him come and work with his players back in Wisconsin and so he [Malvik] came and he worked out his players and of course he threw me in there and so Zach was working me out, putting me through drills,” Wurtz said. “He was decked out in Winona State gear and I had never heard of Winona State in my life and I was just going through the process of looking at schools, so he was the reason I put Winona on my radar.”
In her third year at Winona State, Wurtz led the Warriors to a program-record 24 wins and helped the team earn its first-ever spot in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
In 2010, Wurtz graduated and returned as an assistant coach to head coach Scott Ballard for the 2013-14 season and has been here ever since.
The role of associate head coach is no different than that of an assistant coach.
The title is mainly awarded to devoted assistant coaches by their head coach to show appreciation and that they trust them as coaches.
Malvik said that receiving the new title has not necessarily changed his day-to-day job responsibilities much but he is thankful for the promotion.
“Over time in working together I’ve definitely gained more and more responsibilities within our basketball operations and am fortunate that Coach Eisner lets me be involved with every aspect of our program,” Malvik said. “I’m very thankful and appreciative for the trust and respect that Coach Eisner has in me that helped me earn the promotion to Associate Head Coach.”
Both associate head coaches agree that the best part of their jobs is working with the players.
“The best part of my job is the girls, the relationships with them and getting to see them,” Wurtz said.
Malvik also said seeing the players grow as both athletes and people makes his job special.
“The most rewarding part of my job is definitely the relationships that I’m able to develop with our student-athletes,” Malvik said. “As coaches we get to spend a ton of time with our players both on and off the court and being able to see them grow not only as players but as people is what really makes our jobs as coaches so special.”
As of right now, the Winona State basketball teams will still have a playing season this year despite COVID-19. A schedule for the games was recently decided upon and will be announced soon.