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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Bryan Bender, video coordinator with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball program, has been selected to serve as a volunteer assistant coach with the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball Team.


Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said Bender will replace Drew Richards, who recently left the Grizzlies to be an assistant coach at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla.


“Bryan was high on our list of people to talk to about this position,” Walker said.  “His experience at the highest level of collegiate basketball will only enhance our program.  He is a professional and is eager to get going.”


“I am thrilled to be working for such a great school with a great reputation and a proven head coach,” Bender said.  “Coach Walker is very well respected in coaching circles, and I look forward to being able to learn from him and continue the tradition of excellence already established by this program.”


Bender recently completed seven seasons with the Golden Gophers program and his second as the team’s video coordinator, overseeing film exchange, student managers and all video duties.  He spent four seasons as a student manager with the program, including two as the head student manager and film coordinator.  He spent the 2009-10 season as a graduate manager.


He gained additional experience serving on the support staff of the 2008 USA Basketball U18 Junior National Team and served as assistant director of Tubby Smith Basketball Camps.


Bender graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from the University of Minnesota in 2008 and received a Master’s in Education degree in Applied Kinesiology with a Sports Management and Coaching emphasis in 2010.  He is a native of Cambridge, Wis.


“Bryan is exceptional at the little things that every program does,” Walker said.  “With the contacts he already has, I am certain he will be an exceptional recruiter and coach.  I believe he and Assistant Coach Chad VanRiessen will make up the best tandem of assistant coaches in the NJCAA.”


Bender pointed out he has worked with former Grizzly basketball player Paul Carter and become friends with former head coach Brian Ostermann.  “Both Paul and Coach Ostermann have spoken very highly about the program, the administration and the great Missouri State-West Plains fans.  I want to thank Coach Walker for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to many great years here.”


For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit the team’s website at or call the Grizzly Basketball office at 417-255-7993.

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