Michael Johnette begins his 1st season as Head Coach and 11th overall with the Reivers in 2016-17, his 16th in junior college, and 18th overall at the college level.
Since joining Jim Morris' staff in 2006, the Reivers have won both a Region XI and District XI title, reached four Region XI finals, won an ICCAC regular season championship twice, compiled a 213-75 record (74% winning percentage), and have been ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 seven of his nine seasons. In those nine seasons at Iowa Western, Johnette has coached and recruited 43 players who have later moved on to receive scholarships to attend four year programs, including 32 of those to NCAA division I institutions.
Before arriving in Council Bluffs, Johnette spent the previous five seasons coaching another traditional junior college power at Hutchinson Community College (KS) under head coach Chad Wintz. While at Hutchinson, the Blue Dragons composed a 111-39 record (an average record of 22-7 per season) and won the 2003-2004 Jayhawk Conference title. Johnette also coached and recruited 15 Division I transfers during that span. He served as a graduate assistant under Wintz at Fort Hays State University, where he completed his master's degree in HHP Administration. During that time the Tigers went 41-15, won the 2000-2001 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title, and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
Johnette finished his playing career after senior and junior campaigns at the University of Nebraska. He played on the Cornhuskers' 1998 NCAA tournament team that participated in the West Regional in Boise, ID. A two-time letterman for the Huskers, Johnette completed his bachelor's degree in exercise science in 1999. A native of Omaha, NE, Johnette not only has coached at the junior college level he played at that level as well. Michael began his college career playing two seasons at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, KS.. Johnette started on the 1996 Thunderbird team that won a still current Cloud County program record 27 games, was the Kansas Independent League Champions, and advanced to the semifinals of the NJCAA Region VI playoffs.
Johnette is the third generation of basketball coaches in his family. His grandfather John Johnette was a nationally recognized coach at Omaha Burke High School for over 25 seasons, coaching the Bulldogs to two state basketball titles and one state baseball crown. Michael's father, Gerald Johnette coached the Millard North High School Mustangs basketball program for the first 17 years of the school's existance. Johnette and his wife, the former Cherish Ebert of Salina, KS, reside in Council Bluffs and have one son Trenton, and a daughter Madison.
James Bankhead begins his 20th year as an assistant coach for the Reivers. Since joining the men's basketball staff in only Jim Morris' 2nd season, the Reivers have built themselves into a nationally recruited and respected program. In 19 seasons, Iowa Western has been ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 at some point during the season 12 of those years. Furthermore, during that time the Reivers have had some 83 former players move on to continue their playing careers at four year institutions, including 65 of those to NCAA division I programs.
Coach Bankhead brings valuable college playing and coaching experience with him to the Iowa Western staff. His playing days started at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, where he played one season and led the Spartens in assists from his point guard position. From there, he went to Bellevue University where he led his team to the championship game of the Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. After college, James played professionally for the West Palm Beach Stingrays of the USBL.
After earning his B.A.in Physical Education from Bellevue University in 1990, James became an assistant coach for two years at Bellevue University. During his tenure the Bruins made it once again to the NIA Conference championship game. James has also been a clinician at numerous basketball camps around the country.
A native of Sulligent, Alabama, Bankhead now lives in Omaha and works with juvenile status offense kids and families, and ongoing case management as an Officer of Juvenile Services for the State Juvenile Probation Department. James' family includes his wife Annette and daughter Tianna.
Johnette on Bankhead: "Securing Coach Bankhead to continue to be part of our program was priority number one during this coaching transition. James gives our program and staff great continuity. Few if any staffs can find an assistant who has been with one program as long as Coach Bankhead, that is such an advantage. In addition to that loyalty, James communicates and relates with our players well and has a quality reputation as a recruiter."
Chad Van Riessen begins his first season as an assistant coach for the Reivers Men’s Basketball program, 6th year in junior college and 10th season of overall experience at the college level.
Prior to coming to Iowa Western, Van Riessen spent the past five seasons at another nationally recognized junior college program: Missouri State University-West Plains. During his time at MSU-West Plains the Grizzlies averaged 20 wins a season and won the 2013-14 Region XVI regular season championship. Van Riessen helped 12 student-athletes earn All-Region honors and coached 13 players that went on to play for NCAA Division I programs.
Coach Van Riessen also spent four years coaching at Northwest Missouri State University. He served as a graduate assistant for the 2007-08 season before being promoted as a full-time assistant coach. In his time with the Bearcats they won a 2008 MIAA Conference Tournament Championship, reached the round of 32 of the NCAA Division II National Tournament and coached seven players who went on to play professionally overseas.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Central College in Pella Iowa, Van Riessen was named the Head Varsity Boys Basketball Coach at Putnam County High School in Missouri. In the three years he spent at Putnam County he led their program to an overall 61-19 record, 2006 Tri-Rivers Conference Championship and 2007 District Title which is only the 3rd District Championship in program history.
A native of DeMotte, Indiana, Van Riessen is married to the former Brandy Taylor of Kansas City, MO. They have two daughters Madison and Carli.
Johnette on Van Riessen: "Adding Coach Van Riessen has been a real blessing for our program. Chad's passion to learn as well as teach the game is as high as with any coach I have been priveldged to work with. That thirst for new approaches to the game has made him a very knowledgable coach. His personality fits in very well with the winning culture Coach Morris, Coach Bankhead, and myself have established over the past decade here at Iowa Western; and the importance of that staff unity can not be understated."
Shaunteze Sanders joins the men's basketball team this season as a sophomore student trainer in the Iowa Western athletic training program. He will travel with the team on the road and be present at every contest during the 2015-16 season.