Gameli Ahelegbe | Assistant Coach
Gameli Ahelegbe (pronounced ga-ma-LEE ah-hel-LEG-buh) joined South Dakota's staff in the spring of 2014 following three seasons as an assistant coach at North Dakota and a playing career that began at Neosha County Community College, resumed at Minnesota State and culminated in a season with the Toledo Ice of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
In two seasons in Vermillion, Ahelegbe has helped lead the Coyotes to their first winning season in four years, the program’s first Summit League Tournament victory, and, most recently, to road wins against Minnesota and Milwaukee along with a victory against Florida Gulf Coast inside The Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. In addition, the program qualified for its fourth consecutive Summit League Tournament.
South Dakota won 17 games in Ahelegbe’s first season of 2014-15. The Coyotes, picked to finish eighth in the Summit League’s preseason poll, tied for fourth behind the emergence of senior guard Tyler Larson, who became the first Coyote to earn first-team all-Summit League honors. Larson was one of three players in the nation who averaged at least 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Ahelegbe helped lead UND to back-to-back Great West Conference Tournament Championships and three consecutive trips to the postseason. He also served as recruiting coordinator at UND and taught classes in the Kinesiology Department.
A combo guard in his own right, Ahelegbe was primarily responsible for guards and wings at UND. The 2013-14 team featured senior Troy Huff, who averaged better than 19 points per game and scored more than 2,000 points in his time in Grand Forks.
From 2007-10, Ahelegbe served as the club director and trainer for 43Hoops Basketball Academy in Hopkins, Minn., which was founded by former NBA star Chris Carr. In that role, he designed personalized training protocols for clients and provided individual basketball instruction to athletes throughout the twin cities.
Some of Ahelegbe's clients at 43Hoops included Jordan Taylor, a first-team all-Big Ten honoree for Wisconsin, Eric Coleman, a former UNI guard who plays professionally in Angola, and Mike Bruesewitz, a Minnesota Gatorade and AP Player of the Year honoree, who now plays professionally in Israel.
During his years at 43Hoops, Ahelegbe also served as an assistant coach at Minnesota State (2009-10) and as an assistant at Brooklyn Center High School (Minn.) (2008-09). He spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach at Concordia College before heading to North Dakota.
Ahelegbe was a standout performer at Minnesota State where he served as team captain in 2005 and was a member of the top-ranked team in Division II. Ahelegbe earned his bachelor's degree in education from Minnesota State in 2007 and went on to earn his master's degree from Saint Thomas in 2010.
Ahelegbe and his wife, Syreeta, have three daughters, Aniah, Azalyn and Ariella, and a son, Amawuli (AJ).
Austin Hansen | Assistant Coach
Austin Hansen joined South Dakota's staff in the spring of 2014 following a one-year stint as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado and five years as an assistant at his alma mater, South Dakota State. Hansen began his career as an assistant at Minnesota State from 2003-08.
In two seasons in Vermillion, Hansen has helped lead the Coyotes to their first winning season in four years and the program’s first Summit League Tournament victory. In addition, the program qualified for its fourth consecutive Summit League Tournament.
Hansen helped lead the Bears to an 18-14 record and a trip to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in his one year in Greeley, Colo. In addition to his coaching duties, Hansen served as recruiting coordinator and academic coordinator at Northern Colorado.
At SDSU, Hansen served as the lead recruiter for Nate Wolters, the 38th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft who played two seasons in the NBA. He also helped lead the Jackrabbits to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths in 2012 and 2013. South Dakota State won two Summit League Tournament Championships and one regular season title with Hansen on its staff.
Hansen was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain at South Dakota State from 1998-2003. He was named South Dakota Men's College Player of the Year in 2003 and earned all-region honors following both his junior and senior seasons. He remains the second-leading three-point shooter and third-leading scorer in program history.
Hansen led the Jackrabbits in scoring in each of his four seasons. As a junior, he helped lead SDSU to a North Central Conference (NCC) regular season and postseason championship. He finished his career as a three-time all-NCC honoree.
In five seasons with Minnesota State, Hansen helped the Mavericks post a 116-37 record with four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Hansen coached 12 all-NCC honorees, including two Most Valuable Players, and placed five on the academic all-NCC team.
Hansen grew up in Valley Springs, S.D., where he was named South Dakota High School Mr. Basketball in 1998. He and his wife, Andrea, have three daughters, Hannah, Hadlee and Harper.
Eric Peterson | Assistant Coach
Eric Peterson joined South Dakota's staff in the spring of 2014 after serving for two years as athletics director and head men's basketball coach at Williston State College (N.D.). In that time, the Tetons were 52-15 with a 2014 Mon-Dak Conference Championship and a 2013 Region XIII Championship.
In two seasons in Vermillion, Peterson has helped lead the Coyotes to their first winning season in four years, the program’s first Summit League Tournament victory, and, most recently, to road wins against Minnesota and Milwaukee along with a victory against Florida Gulf Coast inside The Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. In addition, the program qualified for its fourth consecutive Summit League Tournament.
South Dakota won 17 games in Peterson’s first season of 2014-15. The Coyotes, picked to finish eighth in the Summit League’s preseason poll, tied for fourth behind the emergence of senior guard Tyler Larson, who became the first Coyote to earn first-team all-Summit League honors. Larson was one of three players in the nation who averaged at least 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Peterson was the lead assistant at Williston State from 2005-09, then spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Minnesota State Moorhead before returning to Williston. He coached six All-Americans at WSC.
The Tetons won 27 games in Peterson’s last season with the team, had the best win percentage in program history, and earned their first-ever top 25 national ranking. During his two-year tenure, Peterson coached two NJCAA All-Americans and was named Region XIII and Mon-Dak Coach of the Year once each.
As an athletic director, Peterson was paramount in the continual growth of Teton Athletics. From guiding the implementation of Teton Hockey and Teton Softball to the new look of T.O. Court, new locker rooms, and many other projects throughout his tenure. Peterson's presence will be felt at Williston State for many years to come.
From 2003-09, Peterson coached with Ritchie Davis and the most prestigious AAU program in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Playground Warriors out of Kaukauna.
In 2011 with Peterson on its bench, Minnesota State Moorhead earned its first winning season in 10 years. The following year, the Dragons won their first 11 games and were ranked as high No. 16 in the country. They would go on to qualify for the NCAA tournament and earned their first playoff win since 1965.
Peterson hails from West Salem, Wis., and graduated from UW-La Crosse in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He also holds a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in sports management and education from the University of South Dakota.
Peterson and his wife, Lindsey, have a daughter, Flynn (4) and a son, Isaiah (1).
Rick Karius | Director of Operations
Rick Karius is the new director of basketball operations for the 2016-17 season. Karius has spent the last two years in the profession, including one year each at Bradley and Green Bay.
Karius was a four-year letter winner at Wisconsin-La Crosse where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2009. He proceeded to Southwest Minnesota State where he served as assistant coach for the Mustangs’ men’s team. A year later, he was the head assistant at UW-Superior. He returned to La-Crosse in 2011 and served in the same capacity.
Karius was hired as video coordinator at Green Bay in 2013 for coach Brian Wardle. He switched to director of operations for year two before following Wardle to Bradley ahead of the 2015-16 season.
Karius is a native of Chilton, Wis., which rests less than an hour from Green Bay. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Southwest Minnesota State in 2014.