Jamison Rusthoven out as Saint Mary’s men’s basketball coach

July 17, 2018 GMT

Jamison Rusthoven is no longer the men’s basketball coach at Saint Mary’s University.

The Winona school announced the move in a one-paragraph release on its website Monday afternoon: “Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota vice president for Mission and Student Life Dr. Timothy Gossen announced Monday, July 16, that Jamison Rusthoven will no longer be the Cardinal men’s basketball head coach. The university will begin a national search for his replacement immediately.”

The Daily News has sent messages to Gossen and Rusthoven seeking comment.

The men’s basketball position is the latest high-profile vacancy in the Saint Mary’s athletic department.

Earlier this month, Nikki Fennern resigned as athletic director after 12 years of leading the athletic department. In mid-June, women’s basketball coach Brent Pollari took the same position at Division II Wayne State University.

Rusthoven spent five seasons as the head coach at Saint Mary’s, which hasn’t had a winning season since 1986-87 or won a conference title since 1940. His best team came in 2015-26, when the Cardinals went 9-16 overall and 7-13 in the MIAC. It was the first time since 1999-2000 that Saint Mary’s won nine games.

Last year’s team was 1-24 overall and 0-20 in the MIAC. Rusthoven was 23-101 overall.

His bio, which is still active on the school’s athletic website, touts the program’s academic success, which includes “the highest semester team GPA in recent memory (3.31) and the highest yearly team GPA in recent memory (3.29).”

The past two years, his teams received the National Association of Basketball Coaches Team Academic Excellence Award for having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

In a tweet last week, Rusthoven took pride in his team winning the award: “In a season that was ALL about gaining experience and ONLY controlling what we can control - so PROUD of our guys being among the 186 MEn’s Basketball Programs in the nation recognized for their TEAM GPA!! Well Done Men!”

Two days ago, while re-tweeting a video highlighting the basketball program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Rusthoven said: “Some of my most important lessons I learned as a young coach was during my time here. Always amazes me as a former administrator - how key decision makers make decisions based on “paper facts” and “paper numbers.” What we do is SO much more than that!”

Saint Mary’s may not need to look far for his replacement. Assistant Kyle Brown has been with the program since the beginning of the 2016-17 season after three years at Cornell College and five years at St. Norbert College.

Another possible candidate could be Winona State assistant Zach Malvik, who was a finalist for head coaching openings at UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout. Malvik was an assistant under Rusthoven for one season before joining his alma mater’s coaching staff.