Eric Gingerich enters his first season as the head coach of the Lady Pilots basektball team after taking the helm at the beginning of June in 2016.
Coach Gingerich and his wife Kat (Spitler) are no strangers to the highly-competitive Crossroads League as both are graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University. A four-year letter winner as part of the Wildcat track and field team, Gingerich spent a considerable amount of time connected to the IWU women's basketball program as a practice player while learning about the inner workings of a championship program. Upon graduation from IWU, Gingerich took the role of graduate resident director at Huntington University, during which he spent time volunteering with the Huntington women's basketball program by organizing a male practice squad and working on player development in individual workouts. After obtaining his master's degree in Higher Education and Student Development from Taylor, Gingerich and his wife took a position as resident directors at John Brown University. During their time in Arkansas, he returned to the sidelines as an assistant for the women's basketball program before coming back to Indiana. In 2015-16 Gingerich spent one season as the head coach of the Bethany Christian boys' basketball program.
In addition, Gingerich also brings a wide array of experience on the court as he has served as a camp coach at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Illinois, and Indiana Wesleyan University, as an intercollegiate athletics intern at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and as a staff member with S.C.O.R.E International both in the states and internationally.
A pivotal piece to Coach Gingerich's coaching staff his wife Kat. The 2007 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan was a four-year starter for the Wildcats from 2003-2007. During her years donning the No. 1 red, white and gray jersey, IWU compiled a record of 128-18 that included three MCC (now Crossroads League) titles and four consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament. In her final season on the floor, the Wildcats produced the nation's first 38-0 perfect season and the first women's basketball NAIA DII national title in the history of the MCC. After her playing career came to a close, Kat spent four seasons on the bench as an assistant coach for her alma mater. During that four-year stretch, IWU compiled a 110-29 overall record and won two more conference regular-season titles.
Grudda was a standout for the Lady Pilots from 2008 to 2011. The Kokomo High School product was a member of two NAIA National Tournament teams (2008 – Elite Eight & 2009 – Sweet Sixteen), a pair of NCCAA National Championships (2010 & 2011), back-to-back MCC Regular-Season Championships (2008 & 2009) and the program’s first MCC Tournament Championship (2008). During that time, the Lady Pilots tallied up an impressive 98-39 record, including the team’s first 30+ win season by going 31-4 in 2008.
During her time donning the #22 jersey, Grudda poured out 1,366 career points, which places her 10th on the all-time scoring list in Lady Pilot history. She also is a member of the 500 career rebounding club by snagging 591, which is 11th on the all-time list. In addition, upon graduation, Grudda finished eighth in program history for made three-point field goals in a career (163). For her efforts, Grudda collected a handful of individual accolades, including being named the Most Valuable Player after the 2011 NCCAA National Tournament, receiving NCCAA All-American honors in 2010, and landing all-conference recognition twice.