Krista Van Hauen spent the past four years working at the NCAA Division-I level, but the new women's basketball coach at St. Ambrose is no stranger to the Queen Bees program.
Van Hauen competed against St. Ambrose as an athlete at Waldorf in 2004 and the 29-year-old Iowa native who currently works as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado welcomes the challenge of heading one of the nation's top NAIA women's basketball programs.
"I feel fortunate and humbled to be selected to build on the tradition that Lisa Bluder and Robin Pingeton built and has existed at St. Ambrose for a number of years," Van Hauen said. "Becoming a head coach is the next step for me, and I am looking forward to getting back to Iowa and get started. I appreciate that St. Ambrose believes I am the right coach to lead their program."
Van Hauen replaces Nathan Altenhofen, who left last month for an assistant's job at Indiana. She was selected from among more than 150 applicants, St. Ambrose director of athletics Ray Shovlain said.
"We had a number of quality coaches to choose from, many who could have been successful, but we feel we've found the right fit in Krista," Shovlain said. "She is an outstanding person and coach, has experience at a number of different levels, is from the Midwest and has good recruiting ties in the region."
Van Hauen is a graduate of Wellsburg-Steamboat Rock High School in northeast Iowa. She began her coaching career as a student assistant at Waldorf.
She coached as an assistant at Grundy Center (Iowa) High School and at Cornell College before being named director of basketball operations for the women's program at Bradley in 2006. After two seasons there, she was named as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado in 2008.
Her duties at the Big Sky Conference school included responsibility for development of perimeter players and recruiting the Midwest.
"Over the past two years, I've learned a lot and I have been able to expand my recruiting contacts," Van Hauen said. "At St. Ambrose, we'll recruit primarily within a 2-hour radius with a heavy focus on Iowa and Illinois players. We will recruit elsewhere in the Midwest as needed."
Van Hauen prefers an up-tempo style of basketball on both ends of the floor, building around pressure defense and a motion offense that will utilize the 3-point shot extensively while taking advantage of fastbreak opportunities as available.
At St. Ambrose, she takes over a program that graduated one senior from last season's 24-8 team.