The UNI men’s basketball program has announced the hiring of Gameli Ahelegbe as an assistant basketball coach.
Ahelegbe joins the Panther staff after most recently serving as an assistant coach at the University of St. Thomas for the 2021-22 season. Prior to his time in St. Paul, Ahelegbe coached seven seasons at the University of South Dakota, where helped the Coyotes to a Summit League championship in 2016-17. He has also held coaching positions at Minnesota State, Concordia-Moorhead and the University of North Dakota, where he was part of a pair of Great West Conference tournament titles with the Fighting Hawks in 2011 and 2012.
“We are thrilled to add Gameli and his family to our Panther Hoops family,” said UNI head coach Ben Jacobson. “G has done a tremendous job at each of his previous spots and has built meaningful relationships that will immediately impact our program. Most importantly, our players are going to love him and he will be instrumental in their growth and development as young men.”
“I’m so fired up to join Coach Ben Jacobson‘s staff and the Northern Iowa men’s basketball program,” said Ahelegbe. “I’ve been able to be a part of some of the program’s greatest moments as a family member and friend of the program. To have an opportunity to be involved in the day-to-day trenches of molding teenagers into men, all while being able to compete for MVC championships and deep runs in the NCAA tournament, is something my family and I couldn’t pass on. Thank you to the administration, Coach Jake, my family! I can’t wait to get to Cedar Falls to get to work, get involved in the community and meet with the passionate UNI fan base!”
Ahelegbe played two seasons collegiately at Minnesota State Mankato from 2003-05 before embarking on a professional career in the A.B.A. with the Toledo Ice. In his two seasons as a Maverick, Minnesota State won 42 games, highlighted by a 24-8 campaign in 2004-05 where they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
A native of the Twin Cities, Ahelegbe holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Minnesota State, as well as a master’s degree in athletic and activities administration from St. Thomas. Ahelegbe and his wife, Syreeta, have four children, daughters Aniah (16), Azalyn (9) and Ariella (7), along with a son, Amawuli (AJ) (10). Ahelegbe is the older brother of former UNI standout guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe, who played for the Panthers from 2006-10 and was a member of UNI’s 2010 NCAA Tournament run to the Sweet 16.