Wilber returns from personal leave of absence: DWU coach will guide Tigers this weekend
Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball coach Matt Wilber has returned from a personal leave of absence and will assume his head coaching responsibilities effective today, said athletic director Jon Hart.
Wilber will coach at this weekend’s NAIA Basketball Classic in Sioux Falls. The Tigers began practice in early October and will open the season this weekend at the Sanford Pentagon.
In early October, Wilber took his leave of absence, according to Hart. The length of the absence was not specified and university officials declined to identify the reason for Wilber’s leave. New assistant coach Tyler Vaughan oversaw the program’s day-to-day basketball operations in Wilber’s absence.
DWU will face Valley City State and Presentation College on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at the Sanford Pentagon. The Tigers will host Briar Cliff on Nov. 11 at Corn Palace in their Great Plains Athletic Conference opener.
The Tigers are 165-74 in seven seasons under Wilber’s leadership and 88-46 in Great Plains Athletic Conference play. DWU finished 23-9 last season.
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.