Meet Matt Wilber '03
Head men’s basketball coach at Dakota Wesleyan University
Mitchell, South Dakota
— physical education major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. Augie provided me an opportunity to play collegiate baseball and basketball at a great academic institution.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. Murray Haar taught a religion class “After Auschwitz” which was very eye-opening for a number of reasons. It was a thought-provoking class in which we covered powerful topics everyday. Yes the class covered the Holocaust, but there was so much more that I can still recall much of what was discussed to this day.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. Obviously, I was lucky to have a number of great profs at Augie, but John Clementson really stuck out from the education department. He was such a personal, caring professor who gave genuine interest in students. Regardless of the classes he taught, I took more away from him by seeing his interaction with his students than any subject matter we ever covered.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. Without question, my best memories involve the number of relationships with friends and teammates throughout the years. Oh yeah, I happened to meet my wife at Augie as well, so that was good too!
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.
A. I have remained in basketball since finishing up at Augustana. I was an assistant coach at both USF and SDSU after spending my final year at Augie as a student assistant. After a couple of years at SDSU, we moved back to Sioux Falls where I ran a basketball business called TIBBS Basketball. TIBBS primarily focused on youth basketball development and was a year-round program. During my time in Sioux Falls, I also taught English for four years at Roosevelt High School. We moved to Mitchell two summers ago after I was hired at DWU.
Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. Depending on the time of year, an average day can change dramatically. I spend the majority of my time with our current roster of players either on the court or meeting with them individually or as a group. Recruiting is a 365 day of the year aspect of the job, so there is constant activity whether it is contacting, watching, or visiting with prospective student-athletes.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. I am just getting started as it is only my second year here at DWU but the toughest challenge I think will be starting over every year with a new group and trying to move in the right direction. On the same hand though, the best reward is working with the group of young men here and watching them grow individually and as a team. I have a great benefit of being a part of “goosebump” moments as a basketball coach when you see a team truly excelling together whether it is in public during a game or behind the scenes in practice or some other function.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. Currently, we are in the middle of a very good season in which we recently won the GPAC conference and are 27-3 on the year. But overall, I have had the opportunity to work with and coach a number of great kids and people. Seeing those kids develop and succeed is about as good as it gets for me in every role I have had.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. Well, hopefully I will be able to continue to be a head coach. I am a lucky guy in the fact that I am getting paid to do a job that I used to dream of doing.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. Regardless of your future profession, make sure you are pursuing something that you are passionate about. There are a lot of factors in life that need serious consideration when making any decisions, but you need to find passion in what you are doing. If you are passionate, you will give those around you energy and you will have a positive impact on people you are in contact with day in and out. And most importantly, you will feel good about what you are doing and will easily find purpose in your every day life.
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. Our family starts at the top with my wife, Lindsay, who amazes me every day with her ability to keep our family going in the right direction and more impressively, put up with me on a daily basis. We have 4 young boys. Ben and AJ, identical twins are 8 years old. Nathan is 6, and Tyson recently turned 2. All four of them rate on the extreme end of the scale for “energy”.
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. Watching our family grow has been an immeasurable blessing. I am sure I am similar to most parents in the joy that our kids bring us and with 4 little boys, there are plenty of “Are you kidding me??” moments but being a father to them has been such a great experience.
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. With Lindsay and myself, I think our choices personally and professionally have very much reflected the values of Augustana, and our time at Augie played a major role in that and will continue as we move forward. We are both currently employed at a university that holds very similar core beliefs to Augustana and again are proud to be a part of a Christian school. We took so much away from Augie and feel very fortunate and proud to be Augie alums!