(WQOW)- March and April are months when college basketball coaches and players have a shot at their one shining moment on the grandest stages, and one Chippewa Valley native is finding his shining moment helping out at a Division I program.
McDonell grad and UW-Eau Claire alum Ben Retzlaff just wrapped up his first season as a graduate assistant for Louisiana Tech's men's basketball team. The Bulldogs made a surprising run in the NIT, finishing third.
Retzlaff is part of head coach and UWEC alum Eric Konkol's staff, and also assistant coached for Blugolds head coach Matt Siverling before moving south. Retzlaff says he credits those Chippewa Valley coaching connections for his early career success.
"You're really a product of the people that you're around and the experiences that you have," Retzlaff said. "I wouldn't be here without Coach Siverling and Coach Sherbinow (former McDonell basketball head coach and AD). Yes, you need hard work and you got to be a little bit of a pioneer yourself and forge your way into some success, but I wouldn't be in these positions to get experiences like this if it wasn't for those people that I named and many more."
Retzlaff plans to return to Louisiana Tech next season, with hopes the Bulldogs make the NCAA Tournament.