SMSU Basketball Camps

Head Coach Brad Bigler

Brad Bigler has seen Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball from almost every angle. As a player, graduate assistant coach, assistant coach, associate head coach and now head coach, Bigler has been a part of the most successful period of Mustang men’s basketball in school history the past 22 seasons.

The 2012-13 and 2016-17 NSIC Coach of the Year, Bigler has extended the winning tradition of 18075Mustang men’s basketball as he enters his 11th season as head coach in 2019-20. He has compiled a record of 179-124 during his tenure, including 122-96 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. During his time as head coach, SMSU has made three NCAA Tournament appearances, won a pair of NSIC South Division championships, two NSIC Tournament championships and has played in five NSIC Tournament championship games. The Mustangs have won 19 or more games four times including recording a combined 71 victories the past three seasons (2016-19).

Named interim head coach on Sept. 30, 2009, Bigler was named the permanent head coach on April 8, 2010.

The 11th head coach in program history, Bigler has played a major part of SMSU’s success—both as a player and coach—the past 22 years. Since joining the program as a student-athlete in 1997-98, SMSU has won two NCAA region championships, two regular season conference championships, two conference tournament championships, two conference division championships while making five NCAA tournament appearances.

During the 2018-19 season, SMSU racked up 18 victories which included three straight victories in the NSIC Tournament to advance to the championship game for the third straight season. The season included SMSU All-American Ryan Bruggeman setting numerous program single-game, single-season and career records including becoming the program's all-time leading scorer.

In 2017-18, SMSU recorded 25 victories, won its second straight NSIC South Division championship, played in the NSIC tournament championship game and also advanced to the NCAA region semifinals.

The 2016-17 season saw SMSU put together one of the best seasons in program history. The squad tied a school record with 28 victories, captured the program’s first NSIC South Division title and also won the NSIC Tournament championship for just the second time in team history. SMSU earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Central Region Tournament and advanced to the region championship game before losing to eventual national champion Northwest Missouri State.

During the 2011-12 season, Bigler helped lead SMSU to one of its most successful seasons in program history, including a trip to the NCAA tournament. SMSU won 19 games and finished second in the NSIC regular season before reeling off three straight victories in the NSIC tournament to capture the program’s first-ever conference tournament championship. SMSU qualified for its third-ever NCAA tournament appearance, earning the region’s No. 4 seed. SMSU was strong on both ends of the floor, leading the conference in field goal percentage, steals and turnover margin, while ranking 15th in the country in free throw percentage and 17th in field goal percentage.

During his first season as head coach in 2009-10, Bigler helped lead the Mustangs to a 17-12 overall record, the program’s fifth straight winning season. The team won eight of its last 12 games to end the season, including winning two games in the NSIC tournament and advancing to the championship game. The team spent four weeks ranked in the NABC Top 25 poll and moved as high as No. 11 during the season.

In 2010-11, SMSU suffered numerous close losses and finished 12-14 overall and tied for eighth in the conference. SMSU played in four overtime games, including two double overtime games and won just one of the four games. The squad finished the season losing five games by two or less points and lost two other games in overtime.

In 2012-13, SMSU recorded 16 victories and finished tied for seventh in the expanded 16-team conference and garnered preseason top 25 rankings by two national publications. The squad also appeared in the top 10 in the first two NCAA region rankings released in late February.

SMSU put together another successful season in 2013-14, winning 19 games, finishing sixth in the NSIC regular season standings and advancing to the semifinals of the 16-team NSIC tournament. It was just the sixth time in program history the team has won 19 games in one season.

Despite a young squad in 2014-15, featuring just three upperclassmen, SMSU opened the season with a 9-4 record, before finishing with a 12-17 mark. In 2015-16, SMSU recorded a 13-15 overall mark, including 9-13 in conference play.

Bigler began his coaching tenure at the University in 2003, spending two seasons as a graduate assistant before being elevated to full-time assistant coach prior to the 2005-06 season. He was named associate head coach in the summer of 2006.

During his four-year tenure as a full-time assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, SMSU racked up 80 wins, had four winning seasons, captured an NSIC championship and won an NCAA region championship. As an assistant coach at SMSU, Bigler recruited and coached one All-America, seven all-conference selections and two academic all-district honorees.

A native of Fort Madison, Iowa, Bigler, 39, spent five seasons in the Mustang men’s basketball program (1997-2002) and left as one of the winningest players in school history. A point guard, Bigler played on the 2001 NSIC and North Central Region championship team that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in Bakersfield, Calif. He ended his career playing in 118 games and currently ranks seventh all-time in assists with 286. During his four-year playing career SMSU finished with a record of 83-36.

Bigler began his coaching career in 2002-03, spending one season as the head girls’ basketball coach at Lakeview High School in Cottonwood, Minnesota.

A 2003 graduate of SMSU with a bachelor’s degree in health/physical education, Bigler earned his master’s degree in education leadership from SMSU in 2010.

Brad and his wife, Heather, live in Marshall with their daughters, Taleigha and Tatum and son, Nash.