PELLA — Bringing NCAA Division III tournament experience as both a player and a coach, Kayla Engelhard will join Central College’s resurgent women’s basketball program as an assistant coach.
Since 2017, Engelhard served as an assistant at Whitman College (Wash.), which finished the year ranked No. 5 in the WBCA top-25 poll after upsetting then-No. 5 Wartburg College in a second-round NCAA tournament game at Waverly March 7 before the remainder of the tourney was canceled. The Blues posted a 68-15 mark with two NCAA berths during her three-season tenure there.
She was a graduate assistant at Concordia University Chicago from 2015-17 while earning a master’s degree in sports administration.
Engelhard is a 2015 graduate of Calvin University (Mich.) where she earned first-team all-Michigan Intercollege Athletic Association honors in 2014-15 after averaging 13.1 points. A four-year starter and two-year team co-captain, she scored 1,154 points in her career and ranks fifth in school history with 333 assists. The Knights won three MIAA titles during her career, reaching the NCAA Elite Eight twice.
In 2018-19 she participated in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Mentor Program and attended the Women’s Coaching Summit in 2018. She is a National Strength & Conditioning Association-certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Engelhard joins a program on the upswing. This past season, coach Joe Steinkamp led the Dutch to their most wins (15) since 1997-98 and their first American Rivers tournament berth since 2004-05.
Steinkamp, entering his fourth year as head coach, is thrilled to have Engelhard as his top assistant.
We felt like we had a strong pool of candidates apply from all over and she rose to the top,” Steinkamp said. “She’s been a winner everywhere she’s been. What really set her apart were the relationships she’s developed everywhere she’s been. We look forward to working with her as we continue to rise in the conference and at the national level.”
Engelhard’s postseason pedigree will be valuable for Central’s young squad, Steinkamp said.
“She’s been to the national tournament three times as a player and twice as an assistant coach so she’s been in the big games, she’s coached in the big games and we’re looking for her experience to help in all aspects of our program,” Steinkamp said.
Engelhard replaces Amy Briggs, who was at Central for four seasons before returning to her alma mater, Truman State University (Mo.)., as an assistant coach in May.
A Michigan native, Engelhard begins her duties at Central Aug. 3.