With the hiring of a new Utah State women's basketball head coach, Jerry Finkbeiner, also came the restructuring of the remainder of the coaching staff. Throughout the summer, we have been introducing each member of the staff, helping Aggie fans get to know them.
Stu Sells is the only member of the USU coaching staff to be held over from Raegan Pebeley’s tenure. Prior to his college coaching career, Sells coached high school and club basketball in Idaho. He was the head coach at Vallivue High School in Caldwell, Idaho, where he coached former Aggie Jenny (Gross) Brown, along with current Aggie player, Devyn Christensen. Sells led the Falcons to the 2006 Idaho Class 5A State Championship with a perfect 26-0 season. One of the original founders of the Idaho Flash Girls Basketball Club, Sells coached the club for five years, coaching and mentoring over 25 players who earned college scholarships.
In addition to coaching, Sells is also the owner of Register Graphics, a product branding company in Nampa, Idaho, that he and his wife, Sandra, have owned and operated for the past 23 years. Sells attended Northwest Nazarene College in Caldwell, Idaho. He and his wife have two children, a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Cassie.
Tell us about yourself: “My background is pretty simple. I came here from the Boise valley to work with Raegan. I have a wife of 30 years named Sandra; I love her. I have great kids. My daughter, Cassie, got married June 30. We’re excited for her to get going on her own adventure and journey. My son, Kyle, is 27 and lives in Las Vegas. My kids are grown and raised so I’m kind of on this bucket list journey I guess. I have a business that my wife and I have owned and operated for 23 years. It’s given me the opportunity to coach and the opportunity to stay with coach Finkbeiner. With his integrity and reputation and credentials in this profession, my wife and I talked about it and decided I needed to stay and learn as much from this opportunity as I can.”
What is your favorite part about coaching? “Honestly, it’s seeing that instant when a player has that light kick on and they really, really get it. Whether it’s a skill set, an understanding of how something works, or a big-picture item, there’s always a time when you see that light come on and they truly get it. To me, that’s pretty exciting because as a coach, you’ve been able to build a rapport and a relationship with that player to where you can share something with them and they truly trust and believe it. That goes to another thing I love which is just the relationships in coaching. The relationship with a player, with their parents, with the faculty and staff, and how we can all work together toward one goal.”
Describe the other coaches in just a few words: “I’ve only known Jerry for a few months, but in a few words I would say he’s a consummate pro, but he’s a coach who’s willing to trust in his staff and delegate to them so they can grow and have some success as well. My first thought of Jerry would not only be a future hall of fame coach, but also a man of great integrity. He wants to do the right thing by the university, by the profession, by the game of basketball for women and especially the players. “Micha (Vandervort) is going to be the face of our program. She’s young, energetic, seasoned beyond her years. She brings a lot of experience to us even though she’s very young. I’m excited to try and keep up with her.“I have known Robert (Donaldson) for 30 years. He’s someone I’m excited to coach with because we’ve kind of come full-circle. I love his presence. He’s a great big teddy bear really, but brings an incredible wealth of experience from his playing days as well as his coaching. I can’t wait.”
What is your biggest goal for the season? “For me personally, I would say it’s a new opportunity to be around a new set of coaches, to learn from their experience but also to see a new style and perspective. Collectively and in a bigger picture, I’m excited to see what happens when you bring this whole new group together – staff, players, everyone. I’m excited to see what we can do with that. I can’t wait to see all of the turns and experiences and see where we end up.”
What’s a fun or little-known fact about you that might surprise people? “I love riding motorcycles. I couldn’t be happier than if I left work and headed east, disappeared into those mountains for a couple days.”
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.