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Gillespie gets contract extension at ISU after stellar season

Kristen Gillespie
Illinios State University Athletics
Kristen Gillespie

Illinois State University women's basketball coach Kristen Gillespie has signed a four year contract extension through the 2026-27 season. In her first five years, Gillespie teams have gone 87-61.

This year, the Redbirds made an NCAA tournament appearance, the first since 2008. The team also made it to the women's NIT tourney last year, its first postseason appearance in eight years.

ISU Athletic Director Kyle Brennan said Gillespie has rebuilt the women's basketball program and returned it to prominence in the Missouri Valley Conference.

“She has been a tremendous leader and mentor for our student-athletes, building relationships on and off the court that will last a lifetime," said Brennan. "The team’s championship and NCAA Tournament appearance this year points to an amazing outlook for this program in the future, and we can’t wait to support them in that journey.”

Each of Gillespie's teams has finished at or above preseason polls. Before Gillespie arrived, ISU had three straight single- digit win seasons, including a 2-28 record the year before she was hired.

“I am incredibly grateful to president Terri Goss Kinzy, Kyle Brennan and Leanna Bordner for their belief in me and the direction our program is headed,” said Gillespie. “My staff and student-athletes have worked extremely hard to build something special here, and I am thankful to be on this journey with them. I’m very excited for the future of Illinois State women’s basketball and am so appreciative of the support from the university and our awesome Redbird fans!”

Gillespie's salary will be $260,000 per year, according to the athletic department. ISU did not immediately say whether she will receive a courtesy car or vehicle stipend and country club membership as the men's basketball coach does. Coach Ryan Pedon was hired last month at a salary of $550,000.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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