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Colleges:

Vanguard changes revealed

April 29, 2008|By BARRY FAULKNER

The celebration that honored the NAIA Division I champion Vanguard women’s basketball team Friday at the school’s gymnasium produced not only some great moments, but also plenty of news.

Vanguard senior Brian Roberts, who completed a four-year career with the men’s basketball team last month, will join the staff of women’s coach Russ Davis as an assistant next season.

Roberts, known more commonly as Boomer, will bring energy, enthusiasm and dedication, as well as plenty of basketball knowledge to the job. His outside shooting prowess — he had 155 career three-pointers and shot 41.9% from beyond the arc on his way to 690 career points — also makes him the odds-on favorite to win any games of H-O-R-S-E that might break out on the practice floor.

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Roberts will replace Kelly Schmidt, the former four-time All-American and NAIA National Player of the Year, who helped guide the Lions to the school’s first NAIA national title this past season as a first-year assistant.

Schmidt, who owns Vanguard career records for points (2,639) and rebounds (1,053), said she is returning home to Glendale, Ariz. and plans to either teach school or work in the church.

While addressing the estimated 300 in attendance Friday at The Pit, Davis said one of the most special things about the unexpected national title was seeing Schmidt celebrating with players and fellow coaches after the team defeated Trevecca Nazarene of Nashville, Tenn. in the title game.

Schmidt had been an anchor for the two top-ranked Lions’ squads that lost in the semifinals of the NAIA Tournament in 2006 and 2007.

Schmidt, who joked that she was going out on top as an assistant coach after one season, said she valued her experiences on the sideline.

“It was a big decision whether or not to come back and coach this year,” Schmidt said. “I remembered my freshman year we had assistant coaches who played the year before and they really helped me. I knew this was a young [2007-08] team and I wanted to try to help them. It was way worth it. Even if we wouldn’t have won the championship, it was worth getting to know all these girls and see them improve. It was a great year.”

 Though there are nine players returning next season, including starters Lauren Gregory, Sarah Boyd, Paige Halberg and Marissa Rivera, who missed all but three games with a knee injury, Davis said he has worked hard to secure a strong group of new additions.

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