Ben Finkbeiner is in his third year as an assistant coach at Utah State after joining the staff prior to the 2014-15 season.
Finkbeiner (pronounced Fink-by-ner) serves as the USU recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator, while overseeing the guard position.
Finkbeiner spent the 2015-16 overseeing the USU post players. The Aggie defense ranked among the best in the Mountain West in multiple categories, averaging 41.2 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 6.6 steals per game. Utah State finished the year with a 14-17 overall record, going 8-10 in league action.
In Finkbeiner’s first season at Utah State, the Aggie defense averaged 40.3 rebounds per game, while tallying 142 blocks, the most since the 2009-10 season, and 232 steals. USU went 8-23 during the 2014-15 season, with a 5-13 Mountain West record.
Prior to accepting the USU position, Finkbeiner spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Boise State. While there, he coached several Boise State players to Mountain West postseason honors. In addition, seven players earned Mountain West all-academic team recognition.
Finkbeiner’s first full-time coaching position was at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M., where he spent three seasons as an assistant coach. He served in several capacities, including the recruiting coordinator, guard position coach, defense coach, strength and conditioning coach and assisted with scouting. In his last season (2010-11) at NMJC the team recorded a 20-win season going 20-10 and 6-6 in league. In 2009-10, Finkbeiner helped guide the team to the program’s first postseason appearance in eight years, finishing third in the conference with a 16-14 overall mark.
During Finkbeiner’s first season in 2008-09, the Lady T-Birds had a 17-win campaign, an improvement of 14 wins over the previous year. In his final two seasons at NMJC, he coached five Lady T-Birds to all-conference honors, two to all-conference honorable mention and one player to NJCAA All-Region 5 honors.
Finkbeiner started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the University of Central Oklahoma’s men’s basketball team in Edmond, Okla. The Broncos ended the 2007-08 season with a 28-6 record, reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Before UCO, Finkbeiner served as the director of basketball operations for the Oral Roberts University women’s basketball team in Tulsa, Okla., where Jerry Finkbeiner was the head coach. He assisted the program in winning the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament, as well as earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Finkbeiner earned his bachelor’s at Oral Roberts in 2006, followed by a master’s degree from Central Oklahoma in 2008.
Finkbeiner and his wife, Alycia, have two sons, Zane and Jude, and a daughter, Rose. The family lives in Wellsville.
JC Carter enters his third year as an assistant coach with the women’s basketball team after being hired prior to the 2014-15 season.
Throughout the season, Carter oversees the player skill development, while serving as the offensive floor assistant during games. He also directs the program’s summer camps and assists with recruiting.
Last season, Carter directed the Utah State offense that finished the season ranked in the top half of the Mountain West in each offensive category, including the best free throw percentage in the league. Additionally, the team saw improvement in each category, highlighted by a 67.1 points per game average and a 40.4 (746-of-1,846) field goal percentage. Utah State finished the year with a 14-17 overall record, going 8-10 in league action.
In the 2014-15 season, his first with the Aggies, Carter worked directly with the guards, including Funda Nakkasoglu who was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year.
Carter came to Utah State after one season as a men’s assistant coach at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as the head boy’s basketball coach at Marshfield High School (Mo.). He took over the Blue Jay program in 2011, leading the team to back-to-back conference championships. In his first season there, Carter was named the Central Ozark Conference Coach of the Year as his team made an appearance in the Missouri State High School Activities Association 4A Top-10.
Before taking over at Marshfield, Carter spent four seasons in multiple capacities at his alma mater, Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. He was named the assistant men’s basketball coach in 2007 and quickly helped lead the program to a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Championship in 2008. After one season with the men’s program, Carter assumed his first collegiate head coaching position, taking over the SBU women’s team for three seasons.
His Lady Bearcat teams were known for their three-point prowess, as SBU ranked second in the nation in triples made. Carter also spent time on the west coast, moving to Los Angeles for the 2003-04 season to take charge of the Village Christian High School boys’ team. After two seasons there, he was offered an assistant coaching position with the Cal State Northridge men’s team. While at CSUN, Carter coordinated recruiting efforts, team travel and opponent scouting reports.
Carter’s coaching career began in 2002, when he spent a season as the director of basketball operations at Texas-Pan American.
Carter’s playing career began at Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas, where he spent one season in NJCAA competition prior to transferring to NCAA I Stephen F. Austin for his sophomore campaign. Finally, in 2000, Carter settled in for his last two years at NCAA II Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, Mo., where he earned the Greg Germany 2002 Senior Leadership Award for his efforts.
Carter earned his undergraduate degree from Southwest Baptist in 2002. He has two sons, Landon and Tate.
Kelsie Kruger begins her first year on the Utah State women’s basketball staff after she was hired in July, 2016.
In her role, Kruger serves as the defensive floor assistant, while overseeing post player development and assisting with recruiting.
A native of Marshall, Minn., Kruger joins the Aggies from South Dakota State, where she spent the 2015-16 season as the director of basketball operations.
Prior to her time in Brookings, Kruger spent two seasons as assistant coach at California State University, East Bay. There, she helped lead the Pioneers to the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament title game, posting a 20-11 record.
Before coaching at CSU East Bay, Kruger spent a season as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Adams State, and was a women’s basketball and volleyball graduate assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College.
As a student-athlete at Adams State, Kruger helped lead the Grizzlies to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division II postseason tournament in 2009-10 and 2010-11. She was a member of Adams State’s most successful squads, accumulating an overall record of 44-18 over her final two seasons. Kruger was an all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection, averaging 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.3 percent from the field as a senior. She also spent five years as an instructor at the Adams State Basketball Academy before being promoted to Assistant Director of the camp in 2012.
Kruger earned her bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Adams State in 2011. She completed her master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State in 2013.
Director of Operations
Brooke Jackson begins her first year as the director of basketball operations for the Utah State women’s basketball team after she was hired in July, 2016.
In her role, Jackson oversees the day-to-day activities of the team, including scheduling and organization of practices. She also coordinates the team’s travel.
Jackson played one season on the USU team from 2011-12. That year, Jackson started 15 games for the Aggies, averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Jackson had a team-best field goal percentage, shooting 48.9 percent (114-of-233), along with a 41.2 percent (47-of-114) from the 3-point line and 88.7 percent (86-of-97) from the free throw line. She then served as a graduate assistant coach for the 2012-13 season while finishing her graduate degree.
Prior to coming to Utah State, Jackson played two seasons at Arizona, where she averaged 7.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. She saw time in every game for the Wildcats, making 36 starts over the two years. Jackson also played at Mesa Community College, where she was named an NJCAA Division II first-team All-American and was the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
A native of Mesa, Ariz., Jackson graduated from Arizona in 2011 with a degree in psychology. She then completed a master’s degree at Utah State in physical and sport education in 2013. Since graduation, she has been living in Arizona and working in sales.