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ISU Bengals have local Tiger in their ranks

January 5, 2017

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

Mueller went from Greenleaf farm to Div. I coaching

POCATELLO, Idaho – Back on December 6, when the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team hosted Idaho State University in a non-conference game, there were more than a couple of Badger fans cheering for the Bengals.

It was for a good reason.

Idaho State assistant coach Bryanna Mueller is from Greenleaf, where she grew up on the farm owned and operated by her parents, Mark and Nancy Mueller.

She attended Wrightstown High School for two years before open-enrolling to finish her high school education at De Pere, where she was an outstanding basketball player.

Mueller’s journey to Idaho State was spectacular.

After high school, she played basketball for two years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, before transferring to Drake University in Iowa.

At Drake, Mueller was the women’s basketball team manager, planning to use that opportunity to learn more about the behind-the-scenes “business” part of college sports. She earned her B.A. and master’s in business administration at Drake.

“My second year [at Drake], there were a couple of injuries and a girl left the team – and they asked me if I wanted to play,” Mueller said.

Drake offered her a scholarship and she played at Drake for 1½ years, while finishing up her master’s degree.

She played her final two years at Drake, and then worked as a graduate assistant for the Arizona State women’s basketball program last year when the Sun Devils won the PAC 12 championship.

Even more important, it gave Mueller the opportunity to be mentored by Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

“It was her 20th year at Arizona State and she had over 400 wins,” Mueller said. “It was an incredible experience.”

But it was only a one-year opportunity and so Mueller went job hunting, and the ISU job got her attention.

“That’s how I ended up in Pocatello,” Mueller said.

Mueller was hired in late July by ISU Head Coach Seton Sobolewski to help coach guards and to handle the team’s travel, equipment and academic support programs.

“She is bright, ambitious and she’s hard-working,” Sobolewski said when he announced hiring Mueller. “I think she’ll make a very positive impact on our program.”

Idaho State is a strong mid-major NCAA Division I women’s basketball program in the Big Sky Conference.

The roster reads like a roll call vote at the United Nations.

“We actually have three players from Spain, two from New Zealand and one from Australia,” Mueller said. “We only have one kid on our team who is actually from Idaho, so we do a lot of recruiting out of state,” Mueller said.

Recruiting and promoting the program on social media are among Mueller’s responsibilities.

Please see the complete story in the January 5, 2017 edition of The Brillion News. 



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