University of Minnesota Duluth Hires Assistants

The University of Minnesota Duluth men’s basketball coaching staff is starting to take shape under first-year head coach Justin WieckCasey Bruggeman and Tanner Kretchman were announced as the new assistant coaches on Thursday.

Bruggeman most recently served as St. Cloud State University men’s assistant basketball coach for two months before joining the Bulldogs. A native of Pelican Rapids, Minn., Bruggeman spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at the University of Mary. During his time with the Marauders, he aided the team with individual workouts, game planning, scouting opponents, and recruiting.

“I am pumped for the opportunity to join Coach Wieck and the UMD Bulldog program,” said Bruggeman. “I could not be walking into a more exciting situation than what is currently taking place at Duluth. The University and Athletic Department have shown an active commitment to giving their student-athletes the means to excel both on and off the court. Coach Wieck has already displayed that he will be a great leader for this program as he possesses a tremendous basketball mind, high-character, and an excellent ability to relate to players. He has an outstanding vision for where UMD Basketball is going and I can not wait to help turn it into a reality.”

A 2016 graduate of Concordia College, Bruggeman played guard for the Cobbers before suffering a career-ending hip surgery that led him into the role of a student assistant part way through his senior season. Bruggeman graduated with a degree in mathematics education before going on to complete his Masters of Physical Education and Athletic Administration in 2018 at U-Mary.

“Casey brings a fantastic basketball acumen to our Bulldog program,” said Wieck. “Casey is extremely intelligent, hard-working and brings a great mentality of excellence to our basketball program. Casey has proven in his short time in the NSIC his passion for relating with current-student athletes and his extreme drive on the recruiting trail. He has major ties to the state of Minnesota and has continued to expand his recruiting territory. He is a great addition to our basketball and athletic staff at UMD.”

Kretchman enjoyed a four-year playing career for the Dragons that concluded with him as the program’s all-time assist leader, second in made three-pointers and the 31st player at MSUM to reach 1,000 points. A native of Fargo, N.D., Kretchman directed the Dragons to two Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances including the program’s first appearance to the NCAA Elite Eight.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to be on staff under Coach Wieck and for the Bulldogs,” said Kretchman. “Basketball has been a big part of my life and it is a blessing to be able to continue being apart of it with UMD. With Coach Wieck taking over the program and the awesome Romano renovations, there is new energy and excitement surrounding our program. I cant wait to get started in Duluth.”

A three-time All-NSIC selection, Kretchman led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio his sophomore and junior seasons and was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II All-District Central Region second team in 2016-17. Before heading to MSUM, Kretchman led Fargo Davies High School his senior season to the state championship en route to being named North Dakota Mr. Basketball as he averaged 29.2 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Kretchman received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2018.

“I had the privilege of coaching Tanner the last four years at the point guard position,” said Wieck. “Tanner’s basketball IQ, personality and strong work ethic will help him transition to the coaching side of basketball. It is great to have someone join our staff who understands our system, terminology and the way we go about building up the young men in our program. Tanner is a great asset to our program and the UMD athletics and campus community.”

The Bulldogs open practice in newly renovated Romano Gymnasium on October 15th.

Tagged with: