"I'm extremely proud and honored to coach at Illinois State," said Pingeton. "Illinois State has potential. We plan to get started immediately, getting into the gym with workouts for our student-athletes. I want to bring Illinois State back to where it was in the days when it was a dominant team in the conference and the Redbirds were always competing for an NCAA Tournament bid."
Pingeton (pronounced PINJ-ton) becomes just the fourth head coach in Illinois State history. During Pingeton's time with the Cyclones, they won the 2001 Big 12 Conference championship and advanced to the sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State was 63-31 during Pingeton's three seasons in Ames, and she was instrumental in the development of all-American center Angie Welle.
At St. Ambrose University, an NAIA school in Davenport, Iowa, Pingeton led her alma mater to 24 wins per season and advanced to the elite eight of the NAIA National Tournament twice between 1992 and 2000. Her teams produced a 194-76 record in eight seasons, earning NAIA National Tourney bids five times. In 1994, Pingeton added the responsibilities of assistant athletics director at St. Ambrose. She was conference coach of the year three times and Kodak District Coach of the Year in 2000.
Before taking over as head coach at St. Ambrose in 1992, the former Robin Becker served on the Drake staff of current Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder from 1990-92. Those were the early stages of Drake's return to basketball prominence.
It all impressed Illinois State Director of Athletics Perk Weisenburger.
"Robin is a dynamic, high-energy individual with excellent head coaching and assistant coaching experiences," said Weisenburger. "Some of the qualities she brings to Illinois State include an extensive recruiting background, attention to detail especially in the area of player development, a great ability to relate to student-athletes and a passion for winning."
At Iowa State, Pingeton was part of a program heading for its greatest heights when she arrived. Head coach Bill Fennelly has brought the Cyclones from the depths of their conference to national prominence and established a reputation for grooming assistants into head coaches in the process--one of them current Southwest Missouri State head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. Pingeton's responsibilities at Iowa State included coordinating recruiting, scouting, practice planning, public relations, compliance and budgeting. She was promoted to associate head coach in 2002.
As just the fourth head coach of the women's basketball program at Illinois State, Pingeton faces the challenge of getting the program back into contention in the Valley as well as on the national scene. Previously one of the nation's leading women's basketball programs, the Redbirds have fallen on hard times recently with single-digit victory totals in each of the past five seasons.
"I know I am a very driven individual with a passion for what I do," she said. "We want to get started with the players we have right now; it's not a plan to get there someday, we're going to start building to win right now. I absolutely love working with college-age student-athletes on the court and off the court as well. Coach Bill Fennelly has built an incredible tradition at Iowa State and I've learned a lot from him over the last three years."
After growing up in Atkins, Iowa, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in business from St. Ambrose in 1990 and is in the process of earning an MBA from St. Ambrose. A two-sport all-American (basketball and softball), she finished her playing career at St. Ambrose as the school's career scoring leader with 2,502 points. She played three seasons of professional basketball in the Women's Basketball Association.
The former two-time Iowa all-state prep basketball player is married to Rich Pingeton.