PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — After a successful playing career at both Aberdeen Central and Northern State, Brianna Kusler entered the coaching ranks last year, taking a job at Pierre High School as the sophomore boys basketball coach. A year later, the Aberdeen native is making history, as the Governors new Boys varsity basketball coach — becoming the first woman to be the head coach at a boys AA program in the state.
Twenty-three year old Brianna Kusler is the new woman in charge for Pierre boys basketball.
“Building better athletes certainly but our goal is building better people and prepare them for that next step,” Kusler said.
As a player Brianna Kusler could do it all. Bringing that experience to the bench will be an asset, but what Kusler learned from her own coaches might be even more valuable.
“The biggest thing is I played for phenomenal coaches that taught the game that was easy to understand, easy to grasp and put into action. They encouraged you and they were going to hold you accountable,” Kusler said.
Learning from Dawn Seiler at Aberdeen Central, and both Curt Frederickson and Paula Krueger at Northern State helped bring perspective.
“Everybody loves to play the game certainly, but they also want someone that’s going to care about them and cares about them beyond a basketball player,” Kusler said.
Kusler will be the first female head coach in AA boys history.
“Brianna is the kind of person that loves a challenge and this is going to be a challenge and she knows that, but she’s the kind of person that’s always going to find a way to meet those challenges,” Seiler said.
Seiler says Kusler has a high basketball IQ, is passionate about both basketball and coaching, and is a fiery competitor.
“If this team in Pierre takes on her personality they’re going to be a very good basketball team,” Seiler said.
Kusler was named Miss Volleyball and Miss Basketball during her senior season at Aberdeen Central, leading the Golden Eagles to state championships in both sports. She was a two-time All-NSIC selection during her four year career at Northern State.