CSUB sets 50-year landmark with coach hire

Cal State Bakersfield has filled its women’s basketball coaching vacancy with the first Black female head coach in the school’s more than 50-year athletic history.

Ari Wideman, who last year was an assistant coach at the University of Toledo, also becomes the first female head coach of the Roadrunners’ women’s basketball team since it started in 2000. Her hiring was announced Friday in a news release from the university.

Prior to coaching in Toledo, Ohio, Wideman coached at college programs in California, Nevada, Texas, Arkansas and for youth teams in Iceland, where she also played professionally.

"I am beyond honored and grateful to be named head women's basketball coach at California State University, Bakersfield," Wideman said in Friday’s news release. "This is a dream come true to be able to come home to California and help lead this program to prominence. I want to be clear to everyone in Bakersfield: We are going to do great things here. I know that this is a special place waiting to erupt."

At San Jose State, Widemen was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for four seasons and helped the Spartans improve from a six-win season in 2018-19 to a 19-12 record the following season.

"I am thrilled to help develop our student-athletes and positively impact their lives while chasing excellence and competing for championships in the Big West and postseason," Wideman said in the news release of her coaching aspirations. "I look forward to establishing new relationships with the players, the alumni and the fans. The work begins now. We will work to win!"

Wideman was a four-year letterwinner in women’s basketball at the University of Nevada, Reno (2010-14) where she finished her collegiate career ranked third in program history with 383 assists and was named an All-Mountain West performer as a senior.

She replaces Greg McCall, who was relieved as CSUB coach in March after 13 years.

Wideman will be introduced to CSUB fans and supporters at a 10 a.m. Tuesday news conference at the Icardo Center.