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Gerald Mattinson

The Wyoming Cowgirls' Gerald Mattinson and Fallon Lewis watch from the bench during a WNIT game on March 28 at the Arena-Auditorium.

LARAMIE — Joe Legerski hoped athletic director Tom Burman would give serious consideration to one of Legerski’s assistants in his search for Wyoming’s next women’s basketball coach.

Burman did more than that.

Gerald Mattinson was named the seventh head coach in program history on May 7. Mattinson has been the Cowgirls’ associate head coach for the last 12 years and an assistant at Wyoming for the last 16. The move comes just weeks after Legerski announced his retirement on April 24 after becoming the program’s all-time winningest coach in 16 years at the helm.

“This program has a great culture,” Burman said in a statement. “We achieve at the highest level academically, we compete for championships and our kids have a great relationship with the staff. In Gerald Mattinson, we have a coach on staff who has been through this process. ... He has the energy and experience to push this program to a championship.”

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In corresponding moves, Heather Ezell has been promoted to associate head coach while former Wyoming player Fallon Lewis will be an assistant next season after spending the last four years in an operational role.

But if anyone was going to promoted from within to succeed Legerski, it figured to be Mattinson — Legerski’s right-hand man during the most successful era of women’s basketball the program has ever seen. Mattinson came to Wyoming in 2004 as an assistant from Western Wyoming Community College and has helped oversee a program that’s won 63 percent of its games (314-186) since.

With Mattinson on the bench, the Cowgirls have made eight Women’s National Invitation Tournament appearances and captured the tournament championship in 2007. Wyoming also made its lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008.

The Cowgirls are fresh off a run to the WNIT quarterfinals last season in the program’s third straight trip to the postseason. Their 25 wins were the second-most in school history.

“I’d like to thank Tom and the administration for this great opportunity for me and my staff,” Mattinson said in a statement. “We know the bar of excellence has been set high here by coach Joe and the previous teams, and we look forward to continuing to reach those goals.”

Mattinson began his time at Western Wyoming as an assistant men’s coach before being promoted to head coach in 1991. He was also the head boys coach at Rock Springs High from 1982-87.

He got his start in college coaching as a graduate assistant at Weber State after playing for the Wildcats from 1979-81. He began his collegiate career at Casper College from 1977-78.

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Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter @DavisEPotter

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College Sports Reporter

Davis Potter is the University of Wyoming athletics reporter. An Alabama native and 2011 Auburn University graduate, Potter joined the Star-Tribune in 2018 after five years covering Ole Miss and the Southeastern Conference. He lives in Laramie.

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