Ari Wideman Named CSUB Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Following a national search that fielded dozens of highly-qualified candidates, Cal State Bakersfield Director of Athletics Kyle Conder announced Friday that Ari Wideman has been selected as just the fourth Head Coach in the history of the Roadrunner women’s basketball program.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Following a national search that fielded dozens of highly-qualified candidates, Cal State Bakersfield Director of Athletics Kyle Conder announced Friday that Ari Wideman has been selected as just the fourth Head Coach in the history of the Roadrunner women’s basketball program.

Wideman brings a wealth of coaching experience with a track record of success to Bakersfield. As an accomplished former professional athlete and student-athlete, Wideman also offers personal understanding of the Roadrunner women she will be guiding.

“We are very excited for Ari Wideman to lead CSUB Women’s Basketball,” Conder said Bakersfield’s new Head Coach. “As soon as we met Ari, she impressed everyone with her work ethic and passion for Bakersfield and CSUB. She values our pillars of Academic Excellence, Outstanding Student-Athlete Experience, Competitive Success, and Community Engagement. She is committed to our vision of Pursuing Championships and Graduating Leaders. There is no one better for this momentous role at CSUB.”

With nearly a decade of coaching experience at stops spanning California, Nevada, Texas, Arkansas, and Ohio, Wideman has developed extensive knowledge and insight throughout her basketball journey. An attractive trait for the `Runners is Wideman’s proven ability to help programs grow and achieve success on and off the court.

“I am beyond honored and grateful to be named head women’s basketball coach at California State University, Bakersfield,” said Wideman. “This is a dream come true to be able to come home to California and help lead this program to prominence. I want to be clear to everyone in Bakersfield, we are going to do great things here. I know that this is a special place waiting to erupt.”

Wideman brings an unprecedented perspective to the `Runners as she is the first woman to lead the CSUB women’s basketball team dating back to the program’s inception in 2000. She is also the first Black, female Head Coach in the 50-plus year history of CSUB Athletics.

Wideman’s talents saw her serve the past year with the University of Toledo women’s basketball team as an assistant coach. A perennial contender in the Mid-American Conference, Wideman helped Toledo to a 28-6 record, the MAC regular-season title, and the third round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament.

Prior to her year at Toledo, Wideman was the Assistant Coach & Recruiting Coordinator at Arkansas State during the 2022-23 season after spending the previous four years in the same role at San José State. She guided the A-State Red Wolves to a pair of wins at the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Championship, including a second-round upset of Georgia State.

While in Northern California’s Bay Area, Wideman aided the Spartans in posting the nation’s largest single-season wins turnaround as SJSU went from a six-win season in 2018-19 to recording 19 victories in 2019-20. On the way to a 19-12 record, the Spartans tallied the most wins in 40 years dating back to a 22-9 finish in the 1979-80 season.

Wideman’s coaching experience began during her time as a professional basketball player in Iceland. When she was not competing or training, Wideman spent time coaching local youth teams, an opportunity that catalyzed her passion for molding young women.

“I am thrilled to help develop our student-athletes and positively impact their lives while chasing excellence and competing for championships in the Big West and postseason,” Wideman said of her coaching aspirations. “I look forward to establishing new relationships with the players, the alumni, and the fans. The work begins now, we will work to win!”

After hanging up her laces professionally, Wideman returned to North America to formally jump into the coaching ranks, spending two seasons as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Prairie View A&M University.

Wideman was a four-year letterwinner as a women’s basketball student-athlete at the University of Nevada, Reno (2010-14) where she finished her collegiate career ranked third in program history with 383 assists and was named an All-Mountain West performer as a senior. Her career 77.4-percent mark at the free-throw line and 121 games played are the ninth-best on the program’s career lists. In addition, her 136 assists as a senior and 12 dimes in a game in 2012 versus the same CSUB program she is now coaching ranked sixth on both the single-season and single-game lists.

A long and exciting journey found the new Head Coach of the `Runners right here in Kern County. Wideman will hit the ground running at full speed, building her squad with the goal of having CSUB ready to compete in the 2024-25 season.

Bakersfield Athletics excitedly invites fans to head over to today to put down a deposit for season tickets. Coach Wideman and the `Runners look forward to the support of the community in a new year and new era of CSUB women’s basketball.

Fans and supporters can also join us in the Icardo Center on Tuesday, May 7th, at 10 a.m. (PT) for a formal press conference to introduce Coach Wideman. Those who cannot attend the press conference in person can follow watch the video live or on demand via the CSUB Athletics Facebook page.
What they are saying about Ari Wideman…

Jaycie Hoyt, Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Oklahoma State:
“Ari is a rising star! She has a great passion for helping players be the best they can be and getting the most out of them. I believe she will have her team motivated and prepared in every situation.”

Tricia Cullop, Women’s Basketball Head Coach, University of Miami:
I’m thrilled for Ari to be back in her home state and have the opportunity to lead the Cal State Bakersfield program. She’s a hard worker who does a terrific job developing players. I know she will take great pride in building a successful program on and off the court.

Jane Albright, retired Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Nevada:
“When I recruited and coached Ari for four years, it was obvious that she had a competitive spirit and great passion for the game. She was one of those players that you just figured was going to be a coach because she loved the game and studied it even when she was playing. Ari is a great leader and I have enjoyed staying in touch with her and seeing her mature in all areas of basketball and in life. I have no hesitation in saying she will be one of the up-and-coming coaches in the country and I think Bakersfield is very fortunate to have a person of her character leading them. I expect great things at the university.”

R. Tood Littlejohn, Football Head Coach, Bakersfield College:
“I knew Ari was a rising star when I watched her work ethic and how she approached the game. She’s passionate, energetic, demanding, tough, fair, and has a smile on her face while doing it. She is relentless!!! I can’t wait to see her in action and in that seat. The community will want to rally around her, and her players will want to play for her, and I mean play hard. You’ve got an overall winner.”