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Berkhof named WIAC men’s basketball Coach of the Year

March 4, 2015

UW-River Falls men’s basketball Coach Jeff Berkhof has been named the WIAC co-Coach of the Year.

Berkhof, in his ninth season with the Falcons, led a very young and inexperienced team to a third place finish in the final WIAC standings with a 10-6 record. UWRF was picked for an eighth place finish in the WIAC coaches/sports information director’s preseason poll.

The 2015 Falcons had lost four of five starters from the 2014 team and nine of the 15 letter winners. The Falcons had no all-WIAC performers returning and there were no seniors on the roster.

Yet the Falcons started the WIAC season with three straight wins and two of those were on the road. After three WIAC losses to start January, one to eventual co-champion, UW-Whitewater, and one to co-champion, UW-Stevens Point, the Falcons won six more WIAC games down the stretch to earn the third place finish. The Falcons won the last two games of the regular season to clinch the third seed in the WIAC Tournament.

On Dec. 10, 2014, in River Falls, the Falcons beat UW-La Crosse, 64-59, to give Berkhof his 100th career win.

Berkhof led the Falcons to 20-plus win seasons in 2011 (20-8) and 2012 (20-8). In 2011, he was named the league’s Coach of the Year after leading the Falcons to a second place finish in the WIAC and a berth into the NCAA Tournament–the first time a Falcon team has earned a spot in NCAA Tournament play.

In 2012, the Falcons again placed second in the WIAC standings and then took a 64-58 win at Whitewater to win the WIAC Playoff Championship for the first time in school history. The Falcons then hosted a four-team NCAA Regional at the Karges Center–the first time the university has ever hosted a men’s basketball playoff series.

Berkhof is no stranger to Falcon basketball. He just completed his 22nd season in some capacity as a Falcon. Before joining the coaching ranks, Berkhof spent two seasons playing for the Falcons from 1992 to 1994. During his senior season, he averaged 17.4 points per game; he was selected to the 1994 all-WSUC team and was chosen co-MVP and co-captain by his teammates. He spent 12 years as the team’s top assistant coach.

He has coached 19 Falcons to all-WIAC honors and three to All-Region recognition. He has a 107-127 career record at UWRF.

The Hills, Minnesota, native received his master’s in sport management at the University of Minnesota in 2005. He completed his bachelor’s degree at UWRF with a major in physical education and a minor in athletic coaching in 1994.

Berkhof earned the 2015 Coach of the Year honor along with Stevens Point Coach Bob Semling.