Mittie Announces Coaching Staff Changes for 2019-20 Season

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Courtesy of K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Kansas State women’s basketball head coach Jeff Mittie announced several staff changes, as he reshapes his coaching staff for the 2019-20 season.

Mittie has promoted Ebony Haliburton to assistant coach and Sadie Murren to Director of Student-Athlete Development. Mittie has also hired Staci Gregorio as the Director of Video Operations. Haliburton replaces Jayci Stone, who departed the staff for another opportunity.

Haliburton was a member of Mittie’s coaching staff the previous two seasons, serving the program as the Director of Student-Athlete Development.

“Ebony has done a great job in her role as the Director of Student-Athlete Development,” said Mittie about Haliburton’s promotion. “I am excited to promote her to an on-court coaching position and full-time recruiting position. She brings a great deal of experience, passion, and knowledge to her new role.”

In addition to her coaching duties at K-State, Haliburton is also responsible for recruiting evaluation, game plan preparation and player development.

Prior to her promotion to an assistant coach at Kansas State, Haliburton served as the program’s Director of Student-Athlete Development for two seasons.

In the 2016-17 season, Haliburton was a member of the UC Irvine women’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Prior to her stint at UC Irvine, Haliburton was the director of basketball operations at Utah State for three seasons.

Haliburton, a 2008 graduate of Oral Roberts, played for current Utah State head coach Jerry Finkbeiner with the Golden Eagles at Oral Roberts. She graduated from Oral Roberts with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising.

From 2008 to 2011, Haliburton was the director of women’s basketball operations and sports account manager for College Coaches Network (CCN). In her role, she was responsible for showcasing athletes, assisting college coaches with their search for talented players and creating lasting relationships with players and college coaches.

As a high school basketball player, she received several prestigious honors and was featured in the documentary film CityBall. She continued her academic and athletic career at Kansas, Cowley County Community College and Oral Roberts. Haliburton is also a licensed minister.

Murren enters her second season in Manhattan, as she joined K-State women’s basketball prior to the 2018-19 season as the program’s Director of Basketball Administration.

“Sadie was given many projects in her role last year as the Director of Basketball Administration,” said Mittie about Murren’s elevation within the staff. “She showed a great ability to excel in a variety of areas. She can now move her focus to student-athlete development and assisting with our recruiting efforts on a full-time basis. I am thrilled to be able to promote her to this new role within our staff.”

Prior to her arrival in Manhattan, Murren spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Omaha. While with the Mavericks, Murren was responsible for organizing and facilitating all the recruiting activities for the program including managing the recruiting budget and handling the logistics of on- and off-campus visits.

Before the 2017-18 season, Murren helped head coach Brittany Lange as Omaha’s director of basketball operations in the 2016-17 season. In her first season at Omaha, Murren was responsible for the hotel and travel arrangements for the Mavericks while also planning and executing the Omaha summer camp promotions, registrations and budgets.

In the spring of 2018, Murren graduated from Omaha with her Masters of Business in business administration.

A native of Colon, Nebraska, Murren started her collegiate playing career at Nebraska in 2012-13, where she played in 43 games over two seasons. As a Husker, she was named the 2014 Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award winner for women’s basketball and an inaugural member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.

Murren then transferred to Wayne State for her final two years. In her junior season (2014-15), she started all 34 games at point guard averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 assists as the Wildcats advanced to the Northern Sun Tournament Semifinals and earned All-Tournament honors. In her final season at Wayne State, Murren started all 29 games at point guard averaging 9.7 points and 4.9 assists while being named the team’s Most Valuable Player. She ranks third all-time with 142 assists in a season.

Murren received her bachelor’s degree in business administration in May 2016. She earned the NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award and was named to the NSIC Winter All-Academic Team.

Gregorio will enter her first season as the K-State women’s basketball Director of Video Operations.

Gregorio’s responsibilities includes: film exchange with opponents, editing film clips for the coaching staff and players, assisting the coaching staff in collecting and editing film of recruits. She also handles the K-State women’s basketball equipment needs.

“Staci has done a variety of things in her young career from head high school coach to playing professionally in two different countries as well as assistant coach at a highly successful program,” said Mittie about the addition of Gregorio. “In her role as Coordinator of Video Operations, she will be able to assist our players in their development and our coaches in both game prep and recruiting.”

Prior to joining the Wildcats, Gregorio served as an assistant coach and video coordinator for two seasons at UC San Diego. During her time with the Tritons, she aided a program that went 58-5 and captured two California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular season titles, a CCAA Tournament crown and a pair of NCAA Division II Tournament appearances.

Before her time at UC San Diego, Gregorio was the head coach of The Preuss School girl’s basketball team from 2014-17. In four years, Gregorio tripled the team’s win total, coached five all-conference selections and served as a fundraising and travel coordinator. She was also a skills development coach for Hoop Blessings in San Diego, training semi-professional, Division I, II and III athletes through CoachUp.

Gregorio played professionally in Europe for two seasons, first for BC Hellenen in Munich, Germany in 2014-15 and then C.E. Diagonal Mar in Barcelona, Spain in 2016-17. She was the starting point guard for both teams and led C.E. Diagonal Mar in points per game, free throw percentage and assists per game.

Collegiately, Gregorio played for San Diego Mesa College where she earned All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) First Team honors in 2014 and was team captain. She received her bachelor’s degree in politics and government from Pacific University in 2010, and earned her master’s degree in sports coaching from the University of Denver in 2017.

Kansas State concluded the 2018-19 season with a 21-12 overall record and an appearance in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. This was the fifth straight season the Wildcats reached the postseason under the direction of Mittie.

K-State will return nine letter winners from the 2018-19 season for the 2019-20 season, led by the trio of senior Peyton Williams, junior Rachel Ranke and sophomore Christianna Carr. The Wildcats will also welcome in redshirts Sarah Bates and Ayoka Lee and freshmen Emma Chapman and Jada Thorpe.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.