BOULDER – University of Colorado head women’s basketball coach Linda Lappe has completed her staff for the 2014-15 season with the addition of Miriam Rutzen as Director of Operations and Julian Assibey as Video Coordinator.
Rutzen takes over for Jenni Benningfield, who has moved into an assistant coach role with the Buffaloes. Assibey replaces Joe Schoen, who took a similar position at Maryland.
A native of Biggsville, Ill., Rutzen was a four-year standout at forward at Harvard (2009-13), ranking among the program’s career top-10 in blocked shots and games played. She was a two-time recipient of Harvard’s Best Defensive Player Award (2010-11, ’11-12), helping the Crimson to a pair of second place Ivy League finishes and two Postseason WNIT berths.
Rutzen received her A.B. degree in Psychology from Harvard in 2013 along with a secondary degree in sociology. She spent the last academic year as an IEP Specialist for the West Central School District in her hometown of Biggsville, providing writing services and tutoring to a quadriplegic senior student. While working for the West Central School District, Rutzen served as the 6th grade girls basketball coach and a volunteer assistant varsity softball coach.
“I’m really excited to work with this fantastic staff,” Rutzen said. “I’ve been here before in the summer months so I know what the tradition here is all about and I’m excited to add to the program that’s already in place.
“(Coach Lappe) and I are from the same area and it's great to have the chance to work alongside someone who has the same hard working Midwest mentality.”
Rutzen has been heavily involved in Colorado’s summer camps for both boys and girls over the past three summers. She was a commissioner over seven coaches for middle school age divisions at the girls’ Individual Camps and was the director for the boys’ Little Dribblers Camp, managing 10 coaches over 100 boys, ages 5-8.
“As a camp coach, Miriam has already made a huge impact on the lives of many kids in the Boulder community as well as all the surrounding communities,” Lappe said. “She is very passionate about everything she does and demands a level of excellence that we want all members of our team to emulate. Her loyalty, attention to detail, and maturity set her apart and we are so glad she is wearing the black and gold."
Assibey comes to Boulder after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. He helped the Warriors to a 12-win turnaround from 2011-12 to 2012-13 when Merrimack finished 17-12 and advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference semifinals.
Colorado is not foreign to Assibey who started his career on Lappe’s first Metro State College of Denver staff. He was an assistant for two seasons (2007-09), helping the Roadrunners to a third place Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference finish in 2007-08 and a fifth place showing in 2008-09.
We are thrilled that Julian has joined our staff,” Lappe said. “He has had the opportunity to gain some valuable coaching experience early in his career and that experience will prove beneficial in his new role as a Buff. Julian has a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm and our staff and players have already been inspired by his ability to connect with everybody he meets. I am so happy to work alongside Julian once again.”
Assibey returned to his alma mater, William Penn (Iowa), for one season (2009-10) and spent one season back in Colorado at Western State (2010-11) before joining the Merrimack staff.
“I’m honored and blessed to be a part of the Colorado staff,” Assibey said. “I started my coaching career with coach Lappe and would definitely like to end it with her. We have a great team here and I’m excited for the season.”
A native of Downey, Calif., Assibey was a four year letterwinner at William Penn, and is among the school’s top five in career steals. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration and Strength & Conditioning in 2005 and followed that up with a master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University (Mass.) in 2013.