Women’s Basketball Announces Additions to Coaching Staff – Illinois State University Athletics – Illinois State Athletics - Techy Hunters


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Women’s Basketball Announces Additions to Coaching Staff – Illinois State University Athletics – Illinois State Athletics

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State women’s basketball head coach Kristen Gillespie announced on Thursday the addition of Stephanie Kuzmanic and Benji Mastandrea to her staff, as Director of Basketball Operations and Video Coordinator, respectively.

“We are thrilled to bring on Stephanie and welcome Benji back in a new role,” said Gillespie. “They are both passionate about our program and will be exceptional role models for our student-athletes.”

Kuzmanic comes to ISU after spending seven years teaching Physical Education and coaching varsity girls basketball at West Leyden High School in Northlake, Ill. A native of Mount Prospect, Ill., Kuzmanic has also been coaching AAU basketball with ALL IN Athletics, where she coached on the Adidas Gold Gauntlet circuit. In her role, Kuzmanic focused on player skill development, helping prepare athletes for the collegiate level and familiarizing them with the NCAA recruiting process.

As a player, Kuzmanic played at Carthage College from 2010-14 where she was a two-time All-American, a two-time CCIW Most Outstanding Player and was named the 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-American Player of the Year for NCAA Division III. Totaling 1,060 points and 499 assists in her collegiate career, Kuzmanic was inducted into the Carthage Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020 and still owns the school record for assists in a season with 202 her senior year, and set a program record of 17 assists on Jan. 11, 2014, which ranks as the 10th-most in a single game in NCAA history.

Kuzmanic holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Olivet Nazarene University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Health Education from Carthage College.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to work with Kristen and join the Redbird family,” said Kuzmanic. “I’m looking forward to working at the collegiate level and can’t wait to get to work! I’m thrilled to be around to such a talented coaching staff and help contribute in any way I can.”

Mastandrea has spent the previous two years as a graduate assistant within the ISU women’s basketball program, where he assisted in day-to-day operations, helped with film breakdown of practices, games and opponents, participated and contributed in team activities, and aided coaches with scouting and in-game analytics. Previously, he has spent three years coaching at the high school and AAU levels in the Jacksonville, Fla. area, including stints at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Bishop John J. Snyder High School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, and at Jax Hoops Academy.

Mastandrea holds a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from Illinois State University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management from University of North Florida and an Associate of Arts from Florida State College at Jacksonville.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to continue working with the ISU women’s basketball staff,” said Mastandrea. “I’m looking forward to my new role with the team and continuing to help provide the best experience for our student-athletes. I’m excited to stay on with this amazing staff and get to work for the upcoming season.”

For all latest on Illinois State women’s basketball, stay tuned at GoRedbirds.com and follow the team at @RedbirdWBB (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

GoRedbirds.com and the Illinois State Redbirds App:  Your sources for Illinois State tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.

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