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New leadership for women’s basketball team

Kristen Gillespie

Kristen Gillespie

Kristen Gillespie has been named the eighth women’s head basketball coach. She replaces Barb Smith, who led the Redbirds four seasons.

Gillespie comes to ISU after leading Lewis University in Romeoville to a 51-12 record over the past two seasons. The team advanced to the NCAA Tournament each year under Gillespie, with an appearance in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship game. She was named 2016 Coach of the Year in the league.

Prior to her time at Lewis, Gillespie coached four seasons at Benedictine University in Lisle and two at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her most formative years as a coach occurred while an assistant under legendary head coach Kay Yow at North Carolina State.

Gillespie was a four-year letterwinner as a player on the Wolfpack team, and was the starting guard on the 1988 NCAA Final Four squad. She has coached five student-athletes who went on to play professionally and recruited the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.

Gillespie is eager to start working with the Redbirds, saying she “welcomes the challenge of building Illinois State into an MVC power once again.”

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