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Holbrook steps down as UWRF women's basketball coach

Cindy Holbrook, center, has stepped down as head women's basketball coach at UW-River Falls after 18 seasons to take a new role in the university's admissions office. Tori Lynn Schneider / UWRF Communications

Long time UW-River Falls women’s basketball head coach Cindy Holbrook has stepped down from her position to take a new role in the UW-River Falls admissions office, the university announced Thursday, June 21.

Holbrook completed her 18th season with the Falcons this past February, guiding the team to an overall record of 16-10, 7-7 in WIAC play. With an overall record of 251-220 since arriving in River Falls, her .533 winning percentage is second best in school history. She ranks seventh in all-time career wins among WIAC coaches and is currently fourth among active coaches in the conference.

Highlights of her career include leading the 2011-12 Falcons to a 21-7 overall record and the team’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 1994-95 season.

During the 2015-16 season, the Falcons finished 23-6 overall and 12-2 in the WIAC to win the regular season championship. The 23 wins tied for the most by a Falcon team and was only the fourth 20-plus win season in team history. The Falcons went on to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, which they hosted at the Karges Center.

She was elected to the River Falls School Board this past April.

Holbrook’s experience in the WIAC began as a student-athlete at UW-Stout where she was a two-time All-WIAC first team selection in 1993 and 1994. Her senior season she was named the 1994 WIAC Player of the Year and earned All-American honors. She was inducted into the UW-Stout Athletic Hall of Fame in November 2005. She is the only person who has been named a WIAC Coach of the Year (2001, 2015) and WIAC Player of the Year (1994).

“I would like to thank Coach Holbrook for her commitment to the Falcon women’s basketball program over the last 23 years,” UWRF Athletic Director Crystal Lanning said. “As one of our longest tenured coaches, Cindy has made a lasting impact on many student-athletes and I am grateful for the leadership she has provided. I wish her the very best as she pursues a new professional opportunity.”

Taking over Holbrook’s role will be current assistant Paul Richie, who will assume the role of interim head basketball coach for the 2018-19 season. He has been an assistant with the Falcons the last two seasons.

“Coach Richie is well respected by the players and has a strong understanding of the game,” said Lanning. “Paul has served as an assistant coach for the past two years and his leadership will provide continuity for the women’s basketball program moving forward.”

Prior to joining the Falcons, Richie spent a season as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Suns and spent a season as the assistant girls’ varsity basketball coach at Southwest High School in Minneapolis. Under his assistance he helped them to their first 20 win season.

The former Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School player graduated from Macalester College with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities, Media and Cultural Studies. He played four years on the basketball team where he was four-year letter winner and a two-year captain. After college, Richie spent some time coaching for Minnesota Basketball Development where he taught one-on-one and small group lessons to people of all ages. He has also been a member of the WNBA Minnesota Lynx practice squad.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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