Director of Athletics Denise Udelhofen (’90) officially announced today that Loras College has tabbed men’s basketball assistant coach Justin Busch (’18) as the next head coach of the Loras College women’s basketball team.
Busch returned to Loras this past season as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team under head coach Chris Martin. A men’s basketball student-athlete from 2014-18, Busch was an assistant coach for the men’s team from 2019-20 before serving as a graduate assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University from 2020-22.
“Justin was impressive, professional, and enthusiastic during the interview process,” Udelhofen said. “As a Loras grad and former member of our men’s basketball program as both a player and a coach, his love and knowledge for the game of basketball was evident. He will be able to offer our women a good student-athlete experience, which is important on and off the court.”
“Being able to enter a situation where the team is extremely talented and knows what it takes to win is such a blessing,” Busch said. “These women have dedicated so much time and effort towards being the best versions of themselves and I am thankful that I get to be surrounded by people like that.”
This past season, Busch served as a the top assistant coach to head coach Chris Martin and helped lead the Duhawks to a 17-11 overall record and a trip to the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) Tournament championship game. Loras had two student-athletes, Ali Sabet and Tyler Bass, earn All-Conference recognition at the end of the season.
Busch now transitions to be the head of the women’s program that has seen loads of recent success. Led by rising senior Sami Martin, who earned Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Honorable Mention status last season, the Duhawk women finished with a 24-5 record and went 14-2 in A-R-C play during the regular season. The Duhawks then claimed the A-R-C Tournament Championship and were selected to host the NCAA Division III National Tournament First and Second Rounds for the first time in program history. In the second round, 15th-ranked Loras fell to 14th-ranked Trine University in what is the final game of the 16-year tenure of head coach Justin Heinzen.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to coach such a hard-working, dedicated, and fun-loving group,” Busch said. “This team has had tremendous success in recent years and this program has been phenomenal in Coach Heinzen’s tenure. My goal is to pick right up where they left off and carry that success into next season.
“Having been around this team on road trips and in passing on campus, I know that this is a special group that wants to be pushed and wants to be cared for. That is what I plan to do as their head coach.”
Between his stints as the Loras men’s assistant coach, Busch was a two-year graduate assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan, where he helped the Titans’ program win back-to-back College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Championships. At IWU, he also served as the program’s varsity reserves head coach and the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
In his previous stint as the Loras men’s assistant from 2018-2020, Busch helped the team to a 40-15 overall record and the historic run to the 2019 NCAA Division III Sweet 16 in 2019. During that time, the Duhawks garnered multiple All-Conference honors and one All-America accolade. The role as assistant coach came after his time as a four-year member of the program when he served as a team captain his senior year and earned three Academic All-Conference awards.
“This is an incredible opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a Division III head coach, while also getting to be at Loras, a place that I know, love, and consider to be home. It is a match made in heaven.”