Former University of Kansas basketball guard and director of basketball operations Brett Ballard has been named head basketball coach at Washburn University, Ichabods athletic director Loren Ferre’ announced Thursday.
Ballard, a 2003 KU graduate, replaces Bob Chipman, who went 806-353 in 38 seasons at the Topeka school. Chipman retired at the end of the 2016-17 season.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I am excited to come home and coach at a university with an elite basketball program,” Ballard said in a statement. Ballard spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach on Danny Manning’s Wake Forest staff.
“Washburn is a place that has very high standards and also places a value on developing student athletes both on and off the court and those were very important factors to me coming. We have the leadership, facilities and support we need to be successful. My goal will be to build on the great tradition that has been established here and help my players compete at the highest level on the court, but more importantly help prepare them to win at the game of life.”
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Prior to heading to Wake Forest, Ballard worked for Manning for two seasons at Tulsa.
“I want to thank coach Manning for everything he has done for me and how he has treated my family,” Ballard said. “I’ve learned so much from him and I’m grateful for our time together. Wake Forest is a special place and I will miss the people and especially our players. The future of Wake basketball is bright and I’m excited to watch those guys continue to grow and develop.”
Before teaming with Manning at Tulsa, Ballard spent two seasons as the head basketball coach at Baker University where he compiled a 33-30 record. He moved to the Baldwin City university after working seven seasons on Bill Self’s staff at Kansas, serving in roles of director of basketball operations two years and before that administrative assistant/video coordinator. He was a volunteer student assistant at KU for one year.
“I am very excited for Brett and his family, and I think this is a perfect fit,” Wake’s Manning said. “The Washburn University community is getting a home run of a person and a coach. I have known Brett for a very long time. We started out together on coach Self’s staff, sharing a cabinet, and we have come a long way. Having him on the staff at Tulsa and here at Wake Forest has been invaluable because of the knowledge he had of being a head coach. That journey has led us to today where he has a great opportunity to be the next coach at Washburn. We are going to miss him, Kelly and their children, but we are happy for them and look forward to following his teams.”
Ballard played two years for the Jayhawks under head coach Roy Williams from 2000-02 after transferring from Hutchinson Community College in his hometown of Hutchinson. Ballard played in 56 career games, scoring 59 points and dishing 32 assists. KU went a combined 59-11 (.843) in his two seasons, including a 2001 NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance and a berth in the 2002 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta. He earned a national title ring as a member of Self’s 2008 KU administrative staff.
Ballard earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Kansas in 2003. He was named an academic All-Big 12 selection as a senior. Ballard and his wife, Kelly, have three children — sons Kaden and Brooks and daughter Breagan.
“I’m so excited for Brett and Kelly and their family getting to return to Kansas,” Self said. “Washburn is a terrific job and few people could follow coach (Bob) Chipman and be comfortable with it. He’s a great recruiter, coach and administrator and Washburn could not have hired a more complete person to be its next basketball coach.”
An introductory press conference will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in the McPherson Booster Room on Washburn’s campus. A meet and greet will follow in Washburn’s Lee Arena.
“This is an exciting time for Washburn basketball,” Ferré said. “Brett has progressed up the coaching ranks playing for a Hall of Fame coach in Roy Williams at the University of Kansas and working on the coaching staff of another Hall of Fame coach in Bill Self. Add to that spending five seasons under Danny Manning earning two NCAA tournament berths, I believe our program has a bright future under Brett’s leadership.”