Billeter named Head Basketball Coach at Emporia State

Emporia State University Vice President, Director of Athletics David Spafford has announced that two-time National Coach of the Year Tom Billeter, will be the newest head coach of the Hornet men’s basketball program. An introductory press conference will be held on Tuesday, April 2 at 11:00 a.m. in the Sauder Alumni Center on the Emporia State campus.

“I cannot thank President Ken Hush, David Spafford and assistant athletic director Steve Rodecap for this opportunity to be the next head coach at Emporia State University,” said Billeter. “The MIAA is an outstanding basketball conference and we are extremely excited and look forward to the competition.”

Billeter just wrapped up his 21st season as the head coach at NCAA Division II Augustana.  He has gone 393-224 in 21 seasons with the Vikings and is 490-274 in 26 seasons as a head coach. He took the Vikings to nine NCAA Tournaments, won three regular season NSIC Championships and two NSIC Tournament Championships and 18 consecutive winnings seasons since 2007. 

“Hornet basketball has had a very good success in the past few years which lead to a tremendous pool of highly qualified candidates from all levels of basketball,” Spafford said.  Coach Billeter was among our top level of candidates that possess the integrity, passion and experience that we were looking for to continue to elevate our program.”

He received the Big House Gaines National Division II Coach of the Year Award in 2013 and was named the NABC, Basketball Times and Basketball Bulletin National Coach of the Year in 2016 after leading Augustana to the NCAA Division II National Championship with a 34-2 record. During the 2016 season the Vikings knocked off NCAA Division I Iowa 76-74 in exhibition play.

He revitalized the Augustana program, leading the Vikings to 18 consecutive winnings seasons including two 30 win and eight 20 win seasons since 2007.  Augustana had endured 17 straight losing records in conference play from 1990-2007.

A developer of talent, Billeter has coached 36 All-NSIC players, five NSIC Freshman of the Year winners, and six All-Americans including the 2016 NABC Player of the Year Dan Jansen and the 2022 Academic All-American of the Year Tyler Riemersma.

He helped raise $5 million for the construction of a state of the art practice gymnasium and workout facility. The Augustana Booster Club season ticket holder base has been over 1,800 during his career and the Vikings have been a mainstay in the top 20 of NCAA Division II attendance.

“I want to thank Augustana for a magical 21 years,” said Billeter. “There are way to many to thank by name but we will have nothing but found memories of our time in Sioux Falls.”

Billeter arrived in Sioux Falls, SD after six years as an assistant at the NCAA Division I level with then Big 12 member Texas A&M from 1998-2003 and one year at St. Johns of the Big East. In his final year at Texas A&M the Aggies went 14-14 for just their second .500 or better record in 14 seasons while future NBA player Antoine Wright was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. While at St. John’s He served under head coach Fran Fraschilla and helped the Red Storm to a 22-10 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Billeter was 97-50 during a five year run at North Dakota State in his first time as a head coach. He led the Bison to their first conference championship in 14 years and four consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament.  

A 1984 graduate of the University of Illinois, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Naismith Hall of Famer Lute Olsen at the University of Arizona. While with the Wildcats he coached four NBA players including Sean Elliott and current Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. He then spent five years at Rice from 1987-92.  In his final year the Owls won 20 games for their first 20 win season since 1953-54. 

Tom and his wife, Paula, are the parents of four children: Mike (Lindsie), Kelsey (Kyle), Kyle and Brett. Tom and Paula are proud grandparents to Jack, Fox and Sparrow, all three children of Mike and Lindsie.

My family and I are excited about this opportunity and are ready to go to work with the Hornets,” said Billeter.

Emporia State went 19-12 this season and has averaged 20.3 wins per game over the past three seasons.

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