Clarksville, Ark.-Ashland University (OH) Women's Basketball Assistant Coach Kelly Stutz has been named Head Women's Basketball and Head Cross Country Coach at the University of the Ozarks, announced by Athletics Director Dave De Hart on Friday afternoon.
Stutz, 28, has eight years of coaching experience at the NCAA level with stints at Ashland, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Muskingum College (OH). Stutz served as the first assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Ashland the last four seasons where she helped the NCAA II Lady Eagles to a record setting year in 2003-2004. Ashland won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division championship and finished with a 23-8 record while advancing to the NCAA II women’s basketball tournament for the first time in school history. During her tenure at Ashland, Stutz’s was responsible for the recruitment of their two current leading scorer’s, one of which was the conference Freshman of the Year. Ashland proved to be one of the top shooting teams in the league as they led the GLIAC in scoring (81.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (49.3%) while ranking second in free throw percentage (75.4%). Prior to Ashland, Stutz served as a graduate assistant for two years at NCAA II West Virginia Wesleyan College where she was the recruiting director for the Midwest region. Stutz began her coaching career as a student assistant coach for two seasons under legendary coach Donna Newberry at NCAA III Muskingum College. During her eight years as an assistant, Stutz has had five seasons with 17 or more victories and has won one conference championship. “The support for athletics is wonderful at Ozarks,” said Stutz. “I think the friendly campus environment along with its academic reputation will be instrumental in building a successful program. The campus itself is beautiful. The University understands that Division III athletics is a perfect balance of academics and athletics. Athletes compete in sports for the love of the game while learning discipline and the importance of hard work in the classroom.” Stutz’s coaching style emphasizes an up-tempo game. “We want to play an up-tempo style where we play hard on both ends of the court and outwork our opponents,” said Stutz. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Stutz was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Muskingum College in 1998 where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science and was a two-year letterman on the basketball team. Stutz earned her Master of Business Administration degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2000. “I believe Kelly is an up-and-coming star within the conference coaching ranks,” said De Hart. “She is a wonderful addition to our staff and she will bring a brand new enthusiasm and energy to the women’s basketball program. She is exactly what I had in mind when we began the search. I was looking for someone who had paid their dues in a quality program and she has done that. The mentorship she’s had along with her playing background make her someone that will be an outstanding coach. Additionally, she will be a positive campus influence to others outside of the women’s basketball program.” “She understands that academics will lead her future players to their end goal,” said De Hart. “Having played NCAA III athletics and achieving her degree in that setting, she understands the philosophy from both a recruiting standpoint and within a team organization.” Stutz was chosen from a nation-wide search of over one hundred and thirty candidates.