MISHAWAKA, Indiana – Bethel College men's basketball coach Ryne Lightfoot has announced the addition of two assistant coaches and a graduate assistant to the program. Lightfoot, entering his inaugural season as head coach, takes over a program that won 31 games a season ago and advanced to the NAIA DII Quarterfinals—the program's ninth time in 14 championship appearances making the final eight.
"I am excited to announce the staff for the 2017-18 season," affirmed Ryne Lightfoot. "With some new faces, it brings a sense of passion and excitement around the program. This new staff and the energy it brings is ready to build on the shoulders of those who left."
Lightfoot will bring on Andrew Wingreen from Bob Jones University to serve as an assistant coach and former Notre Dame great and NBA All-Rookie honoree LaPhonso Ellis to serve as a special assistant coach. In addition, Lady Pilots women's basketball assistant coach Ryan Ehm will join the program as a graduate assistant this season. In addition to the new staff members, current assistant coach Alex Daniel will return for his fifth season on the bench at Mike Lightfoot Court.
"This is a group that is young but passionate about the game." Lightfoot added, "Passionate about relationships and passionate about diving into the lives of our student-athletes. They are not only a great fit to our program but to our school as a whole."
Andrew Wingreen, Assistant Coach
- "Andrew is a great addition to the staff," commented Lightfoot. "He offers on-court experience and a great work ethic. His time at Bob Jones University has helped him grow as a person and as a coach. Andrew and his family are a true Bethel fit."
- Andrew Wingreen brings ten years of coaching experience to Coach Ryne Lightfoot's staff. The Burlington, Wisconsin native has spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach at NCCAA DII Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
- Wingreen's responsibilities included recruiting coordinator, basketball camp director, scouting, player development, leadership development, and travel coordinator.
- Wingreen recruited two of the top three scorers in BJU program history.
- Wingreen has coached at several notable college basketball camps including Kansas, Wisconsin, Duke, Marquette, Furman, and Green Bay, as well as coaching Five Star Basketball camps.
- Wingreen worked with Called to Greatness, a sports ministry led by Wayne Simien, an All-American at Kansas and NBA champion with the Miami Heat. He also participated in a missions outreach with Athletes in Action in Dominica.
- Wingreen began his collegiate coaching career as a student assistant coach at Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin. Prior to his arrival at Bob Jones, Wingreen served as an assistant coach at Rockford University, an NCAA DIII program in Rockford, Illinois.
- "I'm excited to join the Bethel family and be a part of this special culture," stated Wingreen. "Coming to a program consisting of great people and a winning tradition is something that I desired. My family and I are thankful for the opportunity to be here."
LaPhonso Ellis, Assistant Coach
- "LaPhonso brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff," acknowledged Lightfoot. "His experience with ESPN allows him to not only see a lot of college basketball, but also be allowed exclusive access to practices as well. His experience both as a player and as an analyst is something I look forward to having as a part of the program."
- LaPhonso Ellis begins his coaching career on Coach Ryne Lightfoot's staff this season. The East St. Louis, Illinois native has spent the last nine years as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
- Prior to ESPN, Ellis served as the color commentator on men's basketball radio broadcasts for the University of Notre Dame, where he played collegiately. At Notre Dame, Ellis accumulated 1,505 points and 1,075 rebounds—third in program history. He is the only player in program history to lead the team in blocked shots in each of his four seasons and blocked a then-school record 200 shots. Ellis was named to the Notre Dame All-Century Team.
- Ellis was a standout high school basketball player for East St. Louis Lincoln High School, where he led them to two straight Class AA state championships and was named a Parade Magazine and McDonald's All-American in 1988.
- Ellis was the fifth overall selection of the 1992 NBA draft, picked by the Denver Nuggets. He was named to the 1992 NBA All-Rookie First Team. In his second year, Ellis helped Denver make history as the Nuggets became the first No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed, Seattle Supersonics, in the postseason.
- Ellis played 11 seasons in the NBA—six with Denver, two with Atlanta, one with Minnesota, and two with Miami—before retiring after the 2003 season.
Ryan Ehm, Graduate Assistant
- "Ryan is a guy who is willing to do whatever he needs to do to make the program successful," observed Lightfoot. "He is a tireless worker who will invest in the lives of our student-athletes at a high level. He had already built great relationships with the players and will be a great asset to our staff."
- Ryan Ehm brings five years of coaching experience to Coach Ryne Lightfoot's staff. The Laingsburg, Michigan native spent last season as an assistant coach for the Bethel Lady Pilots women's basketball team.
- Ehm also previously assisted for the Olivet College women's basketball team in 2015-16 and the men's basketball team in 2014-15. He was the junior varsity men's basketball coach as well.
- Ehm's responsibilities included guard development, recruiting, and film breakdown. During his two-year stint at Olivet, Ehm was active in a variety of athletic administration roles, including game day operations, game supervision, and overseeing student workers.
- Prior to his time at Olivet, Ehm served as an assistant coach at Laingsburg (Mich.) HS for two seasons, where they finished as MHSAA Class C State Runner-Up in 2012-13.
- I want to thank Coach Ryne Lightfoot for the opportunity to be a part of his staff," said Ehm. "I'm excited about the opportunity to learn from a great coach, and be a part of one of the best programs in the country. The Bethel men's basketball program does a tremendous job of developing student-athletes both on and off the court, and it is something I'm eager to be a part of. I am looking forward to getting the guys back on campus and getting the season going."
Follow Bethel basketball on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! #NewEraSameStandard