Chris Mennig (1st year)


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Chris Mennig comes to guide the Urbana High School Girls’ Basketball program after a 20+ year storied career in women’s basketball at both the collegiate and high school levels. Upon leaving the college sidelines in 2005 after 11 years, Mennig has been the face behind the resurgence of Blue Star Basketball / USJN – the two longest running privately owned companies in girls basketball sponsored by Nike. Since accepting his position with Mike Flynn as National Evaluator & Event Coordinator, he was named to the McDonald’s All American Committee (2007), an adviser to Gatorade Player of the Year/Sporting News All-American, as well as being quoted in such publications as USA Today, and ESPN.com about the recruiting scene in women’s basketball. He has been listed as one of the Top 20 most influential people in the country for girls basketball, and has been on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State District Representative for over 10 years as well.

Prior to arriving in Urbana, Mennig helped mentor one of his former Illini recruits, Chelsea Buher at her alma mater at Lawrenceville High School as a Co-Head Coach for two seasons. In year one the program’s win-loss record went over .500 for the first time in nearly a decade (16-14) and finished 2nd in the conference. In year two the program tied the school record for wins (21) and hung their first IHSA Regional banner since 2007.

Mennig’s name came to the forefront of the Illinois girls high school scene by building St. Thomas More High School in Champaign from a program that didn’t have a banner on the wall (2005) upon his arrival to State Champions in 2014. He came over to STM from the University of Illinois’s campus after an 11 year career as a women’s college assistant coach & recruiter. The program had a steady stream of success upon his arriving with the Sabers, in 8 seasons he has lead them to six conference titles (had a conference win streak of 37 games & 27 games during this stretch), a state ranking as high as #1 for class 2A (January 2013 thru February 2014), an IHSA 2A State Championship, an IHSA 2A State Runner-Up finish, two super-sectional & two sectional Championship & six state Regional Championships. In 2010 & 2013 Mennig was ranked the #17 most influential person in grassroots women’s basketball nationally according to the National Basketball Insider. The IBCA named Mennig the District 13 Coach of the Year in 2010, 2013 & 2014. In 2009 & in 2010 Mennig was one of the Champaign News-Gazette Top 20 ‘coach of the year’ for all sports in the area: “His talent at coaching and teaching matches his skill at ranking players nationally”. In 2013 & 2014 he was named the News-Gazette Coach of the Year & was nominated for the WBCA National Coach of the Year following the teams 32-3 season in 2013, as well as 33-2 season in 2014. Career STM Record: 197-51

In April 2012 during his time at STM he took an 8 month professional leave of absence to be an assistant coach at Arizona State University during the 2011-12 season. Mennig was asked to help fill in on staff under Joseph Anders as WBCA President Charli Turner-Thorne took a leave of absence from her program for the season – To learn more about that story CLICK HERE Upon his return to Champaign, the Sabers achieved unprecedented success being ranked #1 in the state for nearly the entire season & culminated with a 2nd place finish in the state playoffs (32-3).

Defense and Post Player Development were the primary responsibilities for Mennig while with the Sun Devils. In his short time in the Valley of the Sun he helped the program reach a level of defense that found its way into the record books. The team set two Pac-12 records: Scoring Defense (53.3 – 16th nationally) & Blocks in a game (16). The Sun Devils broke four Arizona State records including: FG% Defense (34.2% – 11th nationally), Blocks/G ( 5.8/G – 11th nationally) as well as the aforementioned conference records. Along the way they held all but two teams under their scoring average – including holding #2 Stanford to 25 points below their average twice during the season. Also Senior post player Kali Bennett had a great turnaround in her final campaign – making the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team & breaking numerous ASU block shot records. At the culmination of his contract with Arizona State he was once again asked to be a presenter at the WBCA Convention on the topic: Recruiting: Cultivating Your Craft. In 2016 Mennig was asked to present yet again on these topics twice at the WBCA Convention to both the Division I College community as well as the Non-Division I coaching community.

Here are some of the highlights of his earlier college career:

Mennig stepped down from his position at the University of Illinois, under former Olympic head coach, and Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz after two seasons in June of 2005. In his first season with the Orange and Blue, he helped bring in a Top-25 recruiting class of according to Blue Star Basketball. During his second season as co-recruiting coordinator the Illini signed a six member class that ranked as the #19 class in the country for 2005 according to Blue Star Basketball. Before his departure Mennig finished 2nd for the head coaching position at St. Louis University. During his stretch at Illinois he had the opportunity to work with five different players that went on to play professional basketball either here in the WNBA or overseas.

Mennig came to Illinois after working a brief stint in the spring of 2003 with Mike Flynn & Blue Star Basketball / USJN; one of the top women’s basketball scouting service in the country. During that time he organized Travel Team/AAU Tournaments throughout the midwest and traveled around the country ranking and evaluating the elite players of the nation.

Prior to his time with Blue Star, Mennig had carried a proven track record in recruiting at various levels of women’s basketball. In two years as an assistant at Illinois State University, Mennig helped spearhead the recruiting efforts as well as serve as an assistant coach. He played a major role in landing 2002 Missouri Valley All-Conference and All-Rookie Team selection Katie Donovan from Canada as well as help sign two of the nation’s Top-20 junior college position players and a Top-50 high school shooting guard. The well-rounded classes also included the two tallest players in ISU history – Zora Skrabalova and Katie Ward. Those players went on to help the Redbirds have the 11th ranked turnaround in the nation and more than double their win total.  Three athletes during his time went on to play professional basketball overseas.

A graduate of Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I., Mennig started coaching even before he graduated from college, serving as a three-sport head coach at Lincoln Junior/Senior High as a 19-year old. Mennig joined the NCAA Division II Bryant College staff in 1994, serving as an assistant coach. The Bulldogs won the ECAC, reached the Top 25 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in those years. During his final year at Bryant, Mennig helped recruit the 1998 ECAC Division II Freshman of the Year.

Mennig had two more stops prior to arriving in the Midwest, serving as assistant coach at both Brown University (1997-98) andSt. Bonaventure University (1998-2001). While at St. Bonaventure, Mennig helped sign some impressive classes, which included the top junior college scorer in the country (Eva Kadlavova) and the 2002 Atlantic Ten Rookie of the Year (Stefanie Collins). With those recruits, the Bonnies nearly doubled their win total and had one of the Top 30 turnarounds nationally.

The native of Munnsville, N.Y., Mennig is one of the more respected camp directors across the country. In 2003 Mennig was one of only five assistant coaches in the country to present on the topic of recruiting at WBCA Convention. Then in the spring of 2004 he presented on the topic of Rebounding System at the WBCA Convention. 2012 and 2016 he was asked to present on Recruiting: Cultivating your Craft.  Besides numerous camps & clinics he has also lectured at The Recruiters Institute seminars as well.

Mennig High School Career Record: 234-75 (10 years)
Career Games on the sideline (all levels) – 656 games (23 years)
Email: cmennig@bluestarbb.com

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