Haase announces hiring of three assistant coaches
April 6, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Newly-appointed UAB men’s basketball head coach Jerod Haase has announced the hiring of three new assistant coaches.
Haase announced the additions of Robert Ehsan, Richie Riley and Jeff Wulbrun on Friday, giving the Blazers a trio of assistant coaches heading into the 2012-13 season.
“I am very pleased to to add these three extraordinary coaches to our program,” Haase said. “Each of them brings a unique set of talents that will help build the type of environment we want for our student-athletes here at UAB.”
Ehsan, who turns 30 on May 3, comes to Birmingham after spending the 2011-12 campaign as an assistant coach under Seth Greenburg at Virginia Tech.
Prior to his time with the Hokies, Ehsan spent six seasons under Gary Williams at Maryland and was an assistant coach his final three seasons (2008-11) after serving as the assistant recruiting director for one year (2007-08) and a graduate assistant for two years (2005-07).
While with the Terrapins, Ehsan was instrumental in the recruiting of two Top 25 recruiting classes in 2009 and 2010 and worked closely the past few years with the development of All-ACC player Jordan Williams and 2010 ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez.
Ehsan played his college ball at the University of California, Davis, where he started his last two seasons for the Aggies and was the team captain in his senior year. While there, he received the Gordon S. Baranco Award, symbolizing exceptional leadership, unselfishness, work ethic and commitment towards the team.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to come in to a place with a rich basketball tradition like UAB,” Ehsan said. “This is certainly a great opportunity and one where I feel we can build on the great tradition that has already been instilled. I am equally excited to have the chance to work for Jerod Haase, who is someone I’ve gotten to know over the past four years and have built a great relationship with. There is no doubt that we have all the pieces to be a successful program and I am looking forward to get to know the student-athletes, fans, community and university.”
“I am very excited to have Rob on our staff,” Haase said. “He is a rising star in this business, a natural recruiter and a dynamic person who can really connect with a wide range of people. On the court, he has a great deal of energy and knowledge about the game. He was a college player himself and someone who I think is a perfect fit here at UAB.”
Riley spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University.
Before arriving at EKU, Riley served the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Coastal Carolina where he helped the Chanticleers win back-to-back Big South regular season titles. With Riley on the sidelines in 2010-11, Coastal Carolina opened league play with 15 straight victories and went on to set a Big South record for league wins in a season (15). The Chanticleers advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in both 2010 (lost at UAB in the opening round) and 2011.
From 2006-09, Riley served as the recruiting coordinator for Pikeville College. While at Pikeville, Riley was recognized for his recruiting abilities by being named the ‘Top NAIA Assistant Coach’ by the RecruitingRumors.com website.
“I am extremely excited to be joining a UAB program that has such a steep basketball tradition,” Riley said. “It’s the type of job I have always worked for, and to come down there and work for a guy like Jerod Haase is such a terrific opportunity. I really feel like we will do good things at UAB and I am just so thrilled to get down there and get to work.”
“Richie is a guy who has a great reputation as one of the top young coaches in the country,” Haase said. “He has a lot of experience with recruiting nationally both at the high school and junior college levels. He is a younger guy who has a great personality and is someone who I think will connect with the players. He is a tireless worker and has worked his way up the coaching ranks. He is going to be a great addition to the staff.”
Wulbrun brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the UAB program, including stops at California-Berkeley, Illinois State and most recently Virginia Tech, where he spent the 2011-12 season as the team’s director of operations.
Prior to going to Virginia Tech, Wulbrun was in real estate sales, development and marketing in Bloomington, Ill., but never entirely got out of coaching. From 2002 through 2007, Wulbrun also served as head boys’ basketball coach at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington. At Central Catholic, he coached two Division I basketball players and two players that went on to play in the NFL.
Wulbrun was considered one of the top assistant coaches in the nation during his seven seasons at California (1986-93). He was instrumental in bringing in future NBA stars such as Lamond Murray and Jason Kidd, who he happened to sign the same year (1993) as he inked Haase out of South Tahoe High School. During his seven years at Cal, Wulbrun helped lead the Golden Bears to five postseasons, including two NCAA Tournament appearances.
From 1993-1997, Wulbrun served as assistant basketball coach at Illinois State, under current Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. During his time at Illinois State, the Redbirds made two NIT and one NCAA appearances. He has also been the head coach of several different high school teams.
“It’s a dream come true to have a chance to work with Jerod Haase and be a part of UAB,” Wulbrun said. “It’s exciting to be a part of a place that has had the success UAB has had in such a short time. My relationship with Jerod dates back 20 years and I have such a high regard for the type of person and coach he is. I think it was a grandslam hire by UAB. I am excited about the challenge having a great deal of success here at UAB.”
“Jeff is someone who provides a great deal of experience and also a great deal of national exposure among recruiting circles,” Haase said. “He has been a college coach as well as a high school coach on multiple occasions. I think his vast experience will really be an asset to my since this is my first coaching job. I am extremely pleased to have him on our staff and I think he is going to do a fantastic job.”