INDIANOLA, Iowa – They say good things come to those who wait, and a little patience has certainly paid off for Brian Niemuth.
The head women's basketball coach at Simpson for the past 26 seasons, Niemuth gained admittance to one of college basketball's elite clubs on Saturday, Feb. 9, collecting his 500th career victory when the Storm beat Loras 75-62 in Dubuque.
The winningest women's basketball coach at Simpson, Niemuth became only the 20th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the milestone and is the 16th active coach to attain the mark. He joins Lori Kerans (Millikin) and Michael Miller (Messiah) as the coaches who won their 500th game during the 2012-13 season.
Since coming to Simpson in 1987, Niemuth has won 11 Iowa Conference Championships (including 2012-13), made 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament, won Iowa Conference Coach of the Year honors six times and District Coach of the Year honors three times. He also became the winningest coach in Iowa Conference play when he earned win No. 294 last season.
What is even more impressive is that Niemuth has achieved all of his success at one school. That makes him the top coach in the entire state of Iowa – at four-year colleges in all divisions – in terms of wins at his or her current school. Niemuth's 500 wins at Simpson are more than the likes of Iowa State's Bill Fennelly (388 wins with the Cyclones) and Iowa's Lisa Bluder (246 wins with Hawkeyes).*
A bulk of Niemuth's success, however, has come in the past 16 seasons.
During his first 10 seasons, Niemuth went without a conference title. In fact, he finished no higher than third in the IIAC. He failed to record a 20-win season and went 145-105, an average of 14.5 wins per year.
Since then, Niemuth is 355-89, winning an average of 22 games per season. He has failed to win 20 games only twice during the span, settling for 19 wins in 2001-02 and 2003-04.
With Saturday's win, the seventh-ranked Storm improve to 22-1 on the year and 12-0 in the Iowa Conference.
*Number of wins through games played as of Feb. 7, 2013.