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How a phone call accidentally led Billeter to ESU

How a phone call accidentally led Billeter to ESU

EMPORIA (KSNT) – If it wasn’t for a simple phone call to one of his long-time friends, Tom Billeter would not be the current head coach of Emporia State men’s basketball.

That long-time friend is Brian Ostermann, Emporia State’s head women’s basketball coach. The two have known each other for over 30 years, crossing paths during previous coaching stints and even recruiting against each other in the past.

Billeter called Ostermann about ESU’s coaching opening roughly a month ago, right after former head coach Craig Doty took a DI job at Houston Christian.

“I think he was going to recommend somebody for the job,” Ostermann said of Billeter. “And before we got to that point, we started talking about how great this job is.”

Ostermann said he shared how much he’s enjoyed his time at Emporia State in the past 12 months, as he was named the women’s head coach in May of 2023.

Such positive relationships with Emporia State administration, like president Ken Hush and athletics director David Spafford stood out to Billeter.

“[Brian] goes, ‘Tom are you interested in this job?'” Billeter said. “And I said, ‘I think I might be.’ And he goes, ‘Well if you are, you’ve got to let me know.’ And I’m telling you, from that point on, within five days I swear, I’m meeting with people, there’s phone calls, and it all fell into place.”

Now, the two are not only looking forward to sharing practice facilities and the court at White Auditorium, they’re ready to learn from one another. To start, their offices are right next to each other.

“What hopefully gives Tom a little ability to sleep at night is knowing I’m right next door,” Ostermann said. “And I can help him through some of those steps and some of those things you start considering as a head coach.”

That goes for details as small as planning out practice schedules, to plans as big as winning championships.

“The bones are here, the opportunities here,” Billeter said. “They won, I just want to continue to build on that. And, then the consistency of being in the NCAA tournament two, three, four years in a row is something I’m seeking to do.”

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