April 17, 2012
From Bucknell Athletic Communications
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Following a comprehensive national search, Bucknell director of athletics and recreation John Hardt has announced that Aaron Roussell will become the next head coach of the Bison women’s basketball program. For the past eight years Roussell was the head coach at the University of Chicago, where he compiled a 161-50 (.763) record, including a 52-5 mark with a 43-game regular-season winning streak over the last two seasons.
Roussell (pronounced ruh-SELL) logged the most victories and highest winning percentage of any women’s basketball coach in Chicago’s 41-year history. He guided the Maroons to the only three University Athletic Association outright championships in program history. Two of those came in the past two seasons, both on perfect 14-0 league records. Roussell’s Chicago teams made four NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and advanced to three Sweet Sixteens and one Elite Eight.
In addition to their success on the hardwood, Roussell’s teams at the University of Chicago, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the nation, have also excelled in the classroom. His 2010-11 team combined for a 3.36 grade-point average, and this past season Taylor Simpson of Chicago was awarded the Jostens Trophy, given to the most outstanding Division III women’s basketball student-athlete based on basketball ability, academic success and community service.
“While this was an extremely talented and deep candidate pool, in the final analysis Aaron Roussell distinguished himself as the clear choice to lead the Bison women’s basketball program back to prominence,” Hardt said. “The University of Chicago is a world-class institution, and Aaron was able to elevate the women’s basketball program to new heights. He has earned a reputation as both a competitor and as a ‘player’s coach,’ while appreciating the challenges and demands of being a student-athlete at a high-quality university.”
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead the women’s basketball program at Bucknell University,” said Roussell. “From both a basketball and an academic standpoint, I believe Bucknell is the ideal fit for me. I am extremely thankful to the University of Chicago, because it has prepared me perfectly for a program like Bucknell and the Patriot League as a whole, which places academics in the highest regard. To be frank, there is no way I would have left Chicago unless it was for a place that shared my values on what the student-athlete experience should be all about. But to me Bucknell is an easy sell. You would be thrilled to send your daughter or son there, and that is important to me. Those are the kinds of student-athletes that we want, and the current players are great examples of that. I came away very impressed with the student-athletes in the program. Whenever there is a coaching transition, there is sure to be an introductory phase, so I can’t wait to get to know them all and start working together for a successful 2012-13 season.”
Prior to Roussell’s arrival at Chicago in September 2004, the Maroons had never appeared in the national rankings. But they were listed in the ESPN/WBCA and D3hoops.com top-25 polls in each of the last seven years under his tutelage. The program was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the ESPN/WBCA Coaches’ Poll in 2006-07, and this past season the team was ranked No. 2 for most of the campaign. Roussell was the UAA Coach of the Year in 2008, 2011 and 2012, and he was the WBCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
Roussell coached six of the 10 1,000-point scorers in program history, he mentored 15 different all-conference performers in eight seasons and had players earn All-America honors in 2005, 2011 and 2012. His teams posted a higher victory total than the previous season in seven of his eight years at Chicago.
In addition to his coaching duties, Roussell was an assistant professor at Chicago, where he taught four credits of activities classes per year. He was also a member of the athletics department’s promotions team and personnel committee, and he served on the university’s Community Service and Student Leadership awards committees.
Roussell is a 2001 graduate of the University of Iowa, where he double-majored in journalism/mass communications and political science. In 2002 he began a two-year stint as a graduate assistant women’s basketball coach at Minnesota State. In addition to his coaching duties, he completed a master’s degree in sports administration.
His first coaching experience came at the high school level, where he was the boys’ varsity assistant coach and head JV coach at Breck High School in Minneapolis, Minn., in 2001-02.
Roussell comes to Bucknell with his wife, Molly, and their one-year-old son, Riley.
“From a family standpoint, we are really going to enjoy the Lewisburg community,” said Roussell. “That made a lasting impression on my visit to Bucknell. The positive attitude and spirit of the athletic department and the Bucknell campus was fantastic.”
“I firmly believe that Aaron is a great fit for Bucknell,” said Hardt. “His teams have a demonstrated track record of success both in the classroom and on the court. I am excited to welcome Aaron and his family to Lewisburg and quickly getting to work on helping the Bison women’s basketball program reach its high potential.”
Roussell takes over a Bison team that finished 5-25 overall and 3-11 in the Patriot League in 2011-12. Bucknell made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2008 and played in the Women’s NIT in 2007. The Bison have finished .500 or better in the Patriot League in 15 of the last 18 years.
Bucknell is a highly selective, privately endowed liberal arts institution with an enrollment of approximately 3,500 undergraduate students. Bucknell sponsors 27 intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. It is a charter member of the Patriot League and has won the league's all-sports championship in 17 of the 21 years it has been contested, including 2010-11. Bucknell ranks fifth in Division I in producing Academic All-Americans and annually ranks among the national leaders in the graduation rate of its student-athletes.