Ben Conrad

Head Coach
University of Northern Iowa '99
271-36 (.883) - 9 Seasons at JCCC
342-63 (.844) - 12 Seasons at NJCAA Level
364-128 (.740) - 15 Seasons Overall

Ben Conrad took over the reigns of the Johnson County Community College women’s basketball program in June, 2008, the Lady Cavaliers’ stature not just rose in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference but on the national stage as well. Conrad has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success and carved a reputation as an energetic leader and relentless recruiter. In his first season, he began to build his program on a foundation of hard work, defensive effort and a “team first” mentality and the program has thrived under this direction.

Conrad boasts eight straight 30-win seasons, a first in NJCAA women’s basketball history, a NJCAA Division II National Championship and school record 34 wins (2015), four other NJCAA D-II Tournament appearances (2011, 2012, 2013, 2017) and five KJCCC conference titles (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017). His teams have finished as the number one or number two ranked team in the country five times and his teams have been ranked in the top 10 nearly 90 percent of his tenure, including a span of 98 consecutively. He also has held the No. 1 ranking 45 times, including all 12 polls in 2015-16.

Conrad also has accumulated many awards and recognitions since taking over the program in 2008. He was named the United States Marine Corps/WBCA Junior/Community College of the Year in 2016, Spalding® NJCAA Women’s Division II National Coach of the Year and NJCAA Division II Coach of the National Tournament in 2015, NJCAA Women’s District B Coach of the Year (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017) and the Kansas East Jayhawk Conference Women’s Coach of the Year (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017). He has coached 12 NJCAA All-Americans, nine WBCA All-Americans, five National All-Tournament selections including one MVP, 30 All-Region VI performers 27 All-Jayhawk Conference picks and three conference MVP selections.

Through 15 seasons as a college head coach, Conrad has amassed a 364-127 (.740), including a 271-36 (.883) slate in nine seasons at Johnson County.  In 12 seasons as a community college coach, Conrad has averaged 28.5 wins per year with an overall mark of 342-63 (.844).

Conrad has turned in historic seasons in each of the past seven years, especially the three most recent campaigns. In 2014-15, Conrad led the Lady Cavaliers to a national title with a 66-64 win over top-seeded Parkland, and finished the year with a program record mark of 34-2. The win over Parkland also gave Ben is 300th win as a collegiate head coach.  He was named Coach of the Tournament and recently honored with 2015 Spalding NJCAA Women’s Division II National Coach of the Year award. The team was ranked in the top 10 in all 13 polls, including spending seven weeks at No. 1. The season also saw Nieka Wheeler earn NJCAA and WBCA All-America honors, and win the national tournament MVP award, a first in team history.

In 2015-16, Conrad’s Lady Cavaliers held the No. 1 ranking in all 12 of the NJCAA regular season polls, and completed an unblemished 30-0 record during the regular season. They went on to finish 31-1 and ranked third in the final national poll, and Conrad was named as the 2016 United States Marine Corps/WBCA Junior/Community College National Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Conrad was presented the prestigious Pat Summitt Trophy at the annual WBCA Awards Show April 5 at the WBCA National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

Last season, Conrad captured another conference and region title, and led his team to a 33-3 record a national runner-up finish at the NJCAA D-II Tournament. He teams have also were ranked in the top five in nine of the 12 polls. He had four players named All-Conference and he was named the Conference Coach of the Year for a sixth time in 9 seasons. His number one player, Austin Richardson, was selected MVP of the conference and first-team NJCAA All-American. She will wear a Kansas Jayhawks uniform this season.

In nine years at JCCC, Conrad has posted 42 wins over nationally ranked teams, including eight last season and he is 9-3 in games against top-five ranked programs. Conrad also owns  nine of 10 longest wins streaks in team history, including a 43-game string that ran from Feb. 7, 2015 through March 3, 2016. Conrad also has a 37-game home court winning streak running entering the 2017-18 campaign, second only to his 46-game streak that ran from Jan. 24, 2011 to Jan. 22, 2014.

Conrad also prides himself on coaching fundamentally sound defensive teams, and has had six of his nine teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, including leading the nation three times. In 2010-11, his defense allowed only 45.0 points per game, shattering the school record 49.5 established the previous year. The next season, Conrad’s squad broke that mark, allowing only 44.3 points per game, which led the nation, and in 2012-13, his team again led the nation while shattering the team defensive record again, holding opponents to just 41.5 per game. Last year, the Lady Cavaliers defense allowed just 45.9 per game, ranking 11th in the country.

Even more impressive, Conrad has helped 50 players of his players at Johnson County earn scholarships to four-year schools, including 20 at NCAA Division I programs. For his career, 66 players have earned scholarships, with 22 at NCAA D-I programs.

Conrad’s teams have also made the grade in the classroom. His 2006 and 2007 teams at Upper Iowa University, and four of his nine teams at JCCC made the WBCA’s Academic Honor Roll top-20 for highest team grade point average nationwide. Conrad’s 2012-13 team finished seventh in the nation with a grade point of 3.234.

Conrad brought a wealth of experience coaching basketball when he joined the staff at Johnson County. His previous stop, Conrad managed the first three seasons at the NCAA Division II level at Upper Iowa University. After a difficult transition season in 2005-06 as a “provisional status Division II” program, the Peacocks became full members of the Northern Sun in Conrad’s second season at UIU. During the 2006-07 campaign, Conrad’s first Peacock recruiting class arrived on campus and quickly established itself. The campaign saw freshman guard Andrea Downs named NSIC Freshman of the Year, and three true freshmen combined for over 50 starts and 20 points per game in 2006-07. During that season, the Peacocks earned the seventh seed in the NSIC Tournament in just their first full year of full Division II membership status. Conrad’s young Peacocks would win nine games in his second year, the most of any UIU team in five years. They were involved in an astounding nine losses where UIU either was ahead, tied or within a basket inside two minutes to play or overtime.

Prior to taking over the reins at Upper Iowa, Conrad served three highly productive seasons at Des Moines Area Community College. He inherited a program that had only won 18 games its previous three years and immediately turned things around at DMACC, posting three consecutive 20-win seasons. He guided the Bears to a 20-12 mark in his initial season. That club set records for wins, conference wins and advanced to the Region semifinals.

The records continued to fall in 2003-04 as Conrad’s Bears went 27-6 and advanced to another regional semifinal. In Conrad’s final season at Des Moines Area, the 2004-05 squad posted a 24-9 record and was ranked as high as fifth in the nation. When the dust settled after three years at DMACC, Conrad had amassed a 71-27 record, good for a .724 winning percentage, recruited and coached the first two All-Americans in school history, recruited and coached 12 All-Conference selections, spent 21 weeks in the NJCAA Top 15 National Poll and coached nine players who signed with NCAA Division I or Division II programs.

Conrad started his coaching career as a student assistant with the University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball program from 1996-99, working under legendary coach Eldon Miller, and one year under former Tim Floyd aide Sam Weaver. He served as a graduate assistant with the Iowa State University women’s basketball team in 2000-01. That season, the Cyclones won the Big 12 Conference Tournament and reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Conrad spent the 2001-02 season as an associate head coach for the Graceland University men’s basketball team. While there, he helped Graceland to its best season in five years, before moving to Des Moines Area. He worked under his uncle, Rich Harrop, who won over 500 career games and is a member of Graceland’s Hall of Fame.

A graduate of North Polk High School in Alleman, Conrad earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Iowa in 1999, and his master’s degree in exercise science from Iowa State in 2001. Conrad is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Conrad and his wife, Grace, have three children; Colin (10), Catelynn (8), and Isabella (6).