Courtesy: Eric Classen,
Head coach Travis Brewster solidified his staff with UND alums Mallory Youngblut and Val Sussex along with newcomers Brent Pollari and Jackie Voigt.
Women's basketball announces staff changes
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
Release: 05/31/2013
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. — University of North Dakota Head Women's Basketball Coach Travis Brewster welcomes back a former standout and has promoted a current staff member while also bringing in two new faces for his staff for the 2013-14 campaign. UND alums Mallory Youngblut (2007-11) and Valerie Sussex (Sannes) (2003-07) have been appointed assistant coaches, along with Brent Pollari, while Jackie Voigt has been named the new director of basketball operations.

Youngblut returns to Grand Forks after leading her alma mater, Davenport Assumption High School, to back-to-back Iowa State Class 3A titles in her two years since leaving UND. Her teams went a combined 31-1 in conference play and went 50-4 overall in her two seasons at the helm.

“I’m excited to have Mallory back on campus,” Brewster said. “She does an excellent job teaching the game and has a passion to succeed. She will definitely be an asset to have here at UND.”

Youngblut finished her five-year playing career at North Dakota ranked 15th all-time with 1,307 career points. The 29th player in program history to join the 1,000 Point Club, she ranks second in career field goal percentage (81.6) and fifth in career three-pointers made (220).

Sussex was most recently UND’s Director of Basketball Operations after serving for a season as an assistant coach under former head coach Gene Roebuck. A four-year letterwinner for UND, Sussex (formerly Sannes) is also UND's Basketball Camps Director.

“Val has been here in multiple capacities and this is an opportunity for her to pursue coaching again, working with our posts,” Brewster said. “She obviously has a lot of pride in UND.”

A native of Wahpeton, N.D., Sannes played for North Dakota from 2004-08 and was the recipient of the 2008 UND Female Unsung Hero of the Year Award (all sports). She was team captain during the 2007-08 season and helped lead UND to a NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearance in 2007.

After graduating from UND in 2008 with a degree in elementary education and a minor in coaching, Sannes served as an assistant women's basketball coach at Minnesota, Crookston.

Pollari spent eight seasons at Northern State University, six in his most recent role as associate women’s head coach. Pollari initially came to the Wolves as a graduate assistant from 2004 to 2006, assisting with practices, game preparation and on-court coaching for the NCAA tournament-qualifying Wolves.  He returned to the sidelines in 2007 following one year as an assistant coach at Texas A&M Kingsville, and was promoted to associate head coach in 2009.

“He’ll come in and be our recruiting coordinator,” Brewster said. “He’s familiar with the Big Sky Conference and that recruiting base and he’s a student of the game. Brent knows the landscape and is a tireless worker when it comes to player development as well as the recruiting trail.”

Primarily in charge of recruiting and player development at NSU, Pollari helped guide the Wolves to an NCAA Regional Tournament appearance in 2010-11, reaching the semi-finals of that tournament.

While at TAMUK, Pollari directed the Javelina offense and assisted with the defense. He served as interim head coach for a time and has experience in developing practice and game plans, fundraising, and recruiting. He was also a kinesiology instructor at TAMUK.

Pollari also has high school coaching experience at Corvallis High School (Corvallis, Mont.), St. Mary's High School (Bismarck, N.D.) and Bozeman High School (Bozeman, Mont.), and was an assistant coach at Montana State University in 2001-02. He played two seasons of basketball for the University of Mary, where he received a degree in physical education in 2001.

Voigt comes to UND after a standout career at the University of Minnesota. The Cottage Grove, Minn. native was a four-year starter, averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Her numbers rank fifth in UM record books for career defensive rebounds and eighth on the offensive glass. She was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and twice was the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient.

“This is great opportunity for Jackie to get into the Division I business side of things,” Brewster said. “With her basketball knowledge and organizational skills, she’ll do a great job in our office.”

After her basketball playing career was over, she stepped onto the pitch for the Minnesota soccer team in her senior season, playing a shutout half against Iowa between the posts.

“I want to wish (former assistants) Tom Dryburgh, Linda Sayavongchanh and Drew Woods well as they embark on their next endeavors in their careers and family lives,” Brewster said. “There has been a lot of excitement from the team about the upcoming season and our coaching staff.  It’s truly special to witness such focus. ”

Sayavongchanh recently accepted a similar position at Saint Louis University, while Woods and Dryburgh departed to pursue other career opportunities.

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