Kent Dernbach named UWSP men’s head basketball coach

Kent Dernbach
Kent Dernbach(UWSP)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 5:11 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - UW-Stevens Point athletics has named Kent Dernbach as head men’s basketball coach. A public introduction and press conference will be held on Friday in the Marshfield Clinic Champions Hall Room 146 at 11 a.m.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the future direction of the men’s basketball program,” said UWSP Director of Athletics Brad Duckworth. “Coach Dernbach has been a proven winner and his ties and history at UW-Stevens Point are unparalleled. We are all very excited to welcome Kent and his family back into the Pointer family.”

Dernbach returns to UWSP where was associate head coach from 2011 to 2017. He won eight games as interim head coach in the 2016-17 season before taking the reins at UW-La Crosse for the last six seasons. At UWL, Dernbach put the Eagles back on the national map. His team was ranked in the top-25 in each of the last five seasons. He posted a 99-46 record, which included the best five-year span in the program’s history in more than 70 years. In 2019-20 and again in 2021-22, he won 21 games, tied for the single-season school record. He is the all-time win percentage leader at UW-La Crosse.

In 2020-21, Dernbach was named WIAC Coach of the Year, just the fourth time a UWL coach received the honor. That year, his Eagles ranked 13th in the final poll, the highest final ranking in program history. He coached 16 All-WIAC selections while at UWL and five members of the WIAC All-Defensive team. Under Dernbach’s tutelage, UWL’s JJ Paider was named 2022-23 Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Co-Newcomer of the Year.

During his time at UWSP, Dernbach won the national championship in 2015, the fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Pointers won the WIAC regular season during his tenure in 2013, 2014, and 2015. “Mandi and I look forward to bringing our family back to the program, University, and community that has meant so much in our lives,” said Dernbach.

Prior to his first stint at UWSP, Dernbach was the director of basketball operations at Northern Illinois University for three years and spent the two previous seasons at George Mason University. During Dernbach’s time at George Mason, the Colonials posted back-to-back 20-win seasons, captured the Colonial Athletic Association Championship, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. GMU’s 2009 recruiting class was tabbed the No. 1 ranked non-BCS class in the nation, and its existing players helped build an APR score that was rated among the top 10 percent in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Prior to his tenure at George Mason, Dernbach served a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., where he was the primary recruiter and helped mentor two all-conference players and two league rookies of the year. Dernbach was a two-year letterwinner (2001-03) at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. The Red Men compiled a 46-8 record with two CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) championships and a berth in the 2002 NCAA Division III Final Four during Dernbach’s career.

Following his playing career, became an assistant coach at North Central High School in Paddock Lake, Wis. He occupied the same role at Whetstone High School in Columbus, Ohio, during the 2004-05 season. The Almond, Wis., native graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and psychology from Carthage in May 2004 and completed his master’s degree in physical activity and educational services from The Ohio State University in June 2006.