Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger
Named the 21st head coach in South Dakota State men’s basketball history on April 14, 2016, Otzelberger has gone 46-24 in two seasons with consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, earning league Coach of the Year honors in 2017-18 while bringing the program’s first-ever outright regular season Summit League title to Brookings.
Last year’s Jackrabbit squad won a program record 28 games, finishing 28-7 on the year with a 13-1 mark in the Summit League. In addition to the win total, SDSU reset school records for team points (2,958), 3-pointers made (374) and attempted (927) and defensive rebounds (1,054). The Jacks were one of just three teams nationally to win 19 of their final 20 games entering the NCAA Tournament, cruising to the league’s regular season and tournament title to earn the No. 12 seed in the West region of the NCAA Tournament.
Among Division I schools, State finished the season first in defensive rebounds per game (30.1), sixth in 3-pointers made, eighth in scoring offense (84.5), 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (40.3), 11th in 3-point field goals (10.7) and turnovers (10.1) per game, 13th in total rebounds (1,364), 15th in winning percentage (.800), 16th in 3-point attempts and 17th in made free throws (578).
Otzelberger’s 2017-18 squad had three All-Summit League selections, with Mike Daum repeating as the Player of the Year and David Jenkins Jr. picking up Freshman of the Year honors. Daum was a first-team pick for the third straight year and a finalist for the 2018 Karl Malone Award, given to the nation’s top power forward. Jenkins was named to the league’s second team and Reed Tellinghuisen was an honorable mention.
In Otzelberger’s first season, SDSU entered the 2016-17 league tournament as the No. 4 seed and became the first team in the tournament’s history to win three games in three days while clinching the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Jackrabbits earned the No. 16 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament and faced off with national runner-up Gonzaga in the opening round in Salt Lake City as they finished the year with an 18-17 mark.
Under Otzelberger’s tutelage, Daum earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and Summit League Player of the Year honors while scoring a school-record 878 points with 32 double-figure scoring games as a sophomore.
At the 2017 Final Four, Otzelberger received the prestigious Guardians of the Game award for education from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for his involvement in the NABC’s Stay In To Win program, which focuses on student success and dropout prevention. 2017-18 will mark his sixth year with Stay In To Win. In addition to working with the NABC, Otzelberger is active with the Boys and Girls Club of America and locally with the Rotary Club in Brookings.
Otzelberger served two separate stints as an assistant coach at Iowa State, covering eight seasons. He began his first tour in Ames in 2006 under head coach Greg McDermott and was later elevated to associate head coach in 2010 by then-head coach Fred Hoiberg. The 2011-12 Iowa State squad achieved a top-25 national ranking for the first time in seven years and defeated defending national champion Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament en route to 23 wins.
Following the 2012-13 season, Otzelberger moved on to the University of Washington for two years, where he served as associate head coach on Lorenzo Romar’s coaching staff. The Huskies were ranked as high as No. 11 during the 2014-15 season and Otzelberger played a key role in putting together a top-10 nationally ranked recruiting class.
Otzelberger returned to Iowa State in the spring of 2015 as an assistant coach. As a member of Steve Prohm’s coaching staff, he helped lead the Cyclones to a 23-12 overall record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The Cyclones were ranked in the top 25 throughout the 2015-16 season and knocked off both No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Kansas during Big 12 Conference play. Iowa State reached the Sweet 16 by recording victories over Iona (N.Y.) and Arkansas-Little Rock before falling to top-seeded Virginia in the regional semifinals.
More than a dozen players Otzelberger recruited and coached at Iowa State earned all-Big 12 Conference recognition, including Georges Niang, who was a consensus All-America selection and recipient of the Karl Malone Award as the top collegiate power forward in 2015-16.
A Milwaukee native, Otzelberger played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he was a three-year starter and two-year team captain. He began his coaching career at Burlington Central Catholic High School in Burlington, Wisconsin, before accepting his first collegiate coaching position as an assistant coach at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Florida. Chipola placed third in the NJCAA National Tournament, finishing the year with a 33-4 record.
Otzelberger and his wife, Alison, reside in Brookings with their three children, Jayce, Olivia and Stella.