BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Tracy Dill today announced five finalists in BSU’s search for a new head women’s basketball coach. The candidates include: Chelsea DeVille, John Motherwell, Shannon Nelson, Mandy Pearson and Brent Pollari.
The finalists will be on campus May 26-29 as a part of the selection process.
DeVille has been a part of the University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball coaching staff since 2009 and was named associate head coach following the 2013-14 season. While at USF she has helped the Cougars to an overall record of 111-64 during a transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. A NAIA powerhouse, USF posted a school-record 27 wins en route to a trip to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2010-11. In addition to leading the Cougars’ team defense and substitutions on game day, DeVille has been a driving force behind USF’s recruiting efforts, oversees the teams academic progress, is responsible for scouting the opposition, film breakdown, travel plans and the universities youth basketball camps. A student-athlete at Augustana College, she was a four-year starter and letterwinner for the Vikings and earned North Central Conference Freshman of the Year Award in 2006. DeVille earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from Augustana and a master’s degree in educational leadership from USF.
Motherwell recently completed his first season as an assistant coach on the women’s basketball staff at University of Minnesota. There he served as the lead recruiter and evaluator, camp director and assisted with coaching the Golden Gophers’ post players. Motherwell also served in similar roles during previous stops at University of Detroit Mercy (2014-15), University of West Florida (2012-13), University of North Dakota (2010-11) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2005-10). Motherwell also has deep ties to the NSIC. He was an assistant coach at Minnesota State University Moorhead (2000-05), where he helped lead the Dragons to their first NSIC title, established a program record for wins in 2004-05 and he was responsible for recruiting players who participated in three NCAA Tournaments. He also served as an assistant coach at Concordia University, St. Paul (1999-2000). A graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in general studies; Motherwell was a four-year letterwinner as a wide receiver for the Eastern Michigan football team.
Nelson has been the head women’s basketball coach at Northland Community and Technical College since 2010. She has led the Pioneers to an overall record of 116-30, including a 52-4 mark during the past two seasons. Nelson’s teams have won five consecutive Minnesota College Athletic Conference Northern Division titles; won the Region XIIIB championship to qualify for the NJCAA national tournament four times, recorded for consecutive 20-win seasons, and won the 2014 NJCAA national championship. She also served as Northland’s interim athletic director (2014-15). As a player at Minnesota (2002-06), Nelson was a two-time captain and started 95 of 121 games played earning Big Ten All-Defensive Team accolades in 2005 and 2006. The former Ms. Basketball Minnesota and her teammates played in four NCAA Tournaments, including three Sweet Sixteen appearances and a trip to the 2004 Final Four. Nelson graduated from Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a coaching certificate and earned her master’s degree in business administration from Capella University.
Pearson recently completed her eighth season as head coach of the St. Mary’s University women’s basketball team. There she has guided the Cardinal to 102-107 record, which includes a 78-31 mark over the last four seasons to account for four of the program’s 11 winning seasons all-time. In 2013-14, Pearson’s team established a school-record 24 wins en route to the program’s first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title and NCAA Division III Tournament appearance since 1985-86. The two-time MIAC Coach of the Year also served as an assistant coach for Hamline University’s women’s basketball team (2005-07) where she helped the program to its first MIAC Tournament appearance. A graduate of Concordia College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she was the first player in the Cobber basketball history to break the 1,000-point barrier and the 500-assist marker, finishing with 1,346 points and 640 assists. The MIAC Player of the Year in 2003-04 and 2004-05, she earned First Team All-American honors to cap the 2004-05 season. In addition, Pearson attained a master’s degree in human development with concentrations in leadership and coaching from St. Mary’s.
Pollari just finished his first season as an assistant coach for the Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s basketball team, where he helped lead the Mavericks to the NSIC Tournament semifinal and a berth into the NCAA Tournament. At MSU, he was the Mavericks’ recruiting coordinator, manages the programs budget and travel and was involved in practice planning, game preparation and individual skill development. Pollari also served as recruiting coordinator at University of North Dakota (2013-14), helping UND to its first Big Sky title and a NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. Pollari’s ties to the NSIC run even deeper. He served as a graduate assistant coach at Northern State University (2004-06) and returned as associate head coach for six seasons (2007-13). While at NSU the Wolves made the NCAA Division II Tournament field on two occasions and finished as high as second in the NSIC regular-season standings. In 2006-07 Pollari was an assistant coach and later promoted to interim head coach at Texas A&M Kingsville. In addition Pollari has extensive experience as a head coach at the high school level and served as an assistant at Montana State University (2001-02). A two-year letterwinner at University of Mary, Pollari graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. He also acquired a master’s degree in physical education from Northern State.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).