Wilber on personal leave of absence from Dakota Wesleyan

Dakota Wesleyan University Head Coach Matt Wilber during a game last season at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball coach Matt Wilber is taking a personal leave of absence, university officials confirmed to the Mitchell Republic.

“Matt is taking a personal leave of absence right now and that’s about all I can comment on,” DWU President Amy Novak said Monday.

In a text message with the Mitchell Republic, DWU Athletic Director Jon Hart said the absence is for personal reasons.

“This was mutually agreed upon by Matt and the university,” Hart texted. “We do not have a specified timeline for his return at this time.”

Novak confirmed the length of the absence is “yet to be fully determined.” Novak declined to specify the reason for Wilber’s leave.


The Tigers recently started practice and are slated to start their season this month. DWU’s schedule has not been posted on its website.

Tyler Vaughan, who was recently named DWU’s assistant coach, will assume head coaching responsibilities in the meantime. Vaughan was most recently an assistant coach at St. Cloud State University.

“He will be running the program until such time that Matt is able to return,” Novak added.

Prior to joining the Huskies, he was the assistant basketball coach with the University of Sioux Falls Cougars for two seasons. Vaughan helped guide the Cougars to their first 20-win season since joining NCAA Division II.

He played college basketball at Minnesota State University Moorhead from 2012 to 2016. He finished his career as a 1,000-point scorer and the career leader in 3-pointers made.

Under Wilber, the Tigers are 165-74 in seven seasons under Wilber’s leadership and 88-46 in Great Plains Athletic Conference play.

With Wilber as the coach, the Tigers qualified for six consecutive NAIA national tournaments, including the 2020 event before it was canceled due to COVID-19. That success was highlighted in Wilber’s second season with an appearance in the NAIA Division II national championship game in 2015 in a 32-5 season, and five straight 23-win campaigns since then.

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