Brett Vana, a decorated veteran in intercollegiate athletics, assumed the role of Independence Community College Athletics Director on August 5th, 2019. Vana brings with him a wealth of experience in coaching, compliance and administration at several levels including NJCAA, NCAA and professional levels. Above all, Vana has made creating tremendous, long-lasting relationships with his former players, coaches and colleagues here in the United States, Internationally and worldwide a priority in his leadership style.
“Brett is a highly motivated professional that always strives to make things better for our student athletes” said Interim College President Dr. George Knox.
Vana joins ICC after most recently serving as an Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at NCAA Division I Chicago State University where he led in the recruitment of one of the most talented freshman classes in recent Chicago State history. In addition to his leadership on the recruiting trail, Vana was also depended on for his experience in player development, game planning and strategy.
“Independence Community College hit a grand slam with the hiring of Brett Vana. Brett has championed student-athletes at all levels from professionals to junior college. His leadership and attention to detail will afford ICC to compete at the national level in all sports. I am excited for Brett and to see the transformation of the entire department to the top of one of the best junior college conferences in the country” said Misty Opat, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Chicago State University.
Prior to joining the staff at Chicago State, Vana served as a Recruiter and Talent Evaluator for Blue Star National Recruiting Service. Blue Star Basketball has served as the longest running national evaluation and college showcase organization in women’s basketball.
“Brett Vana has been a passionate coach and contributor to the collegiate women’s basketball scene for nearly two decades. Independence CC will quickly see his desire to help all those that aspire to achieve success. A tireless worker, with Brett’s experience of being on a sideline, I fully expect Brett to be a “coach’s AD” as he helps lead the Pirates into the next decade. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family as he takes on this next chapter of his career” said Chris Mennig, Vice President of Blue Star Basketball.
Before bringing his recruiting and evaluation talents to Blue Star Basketball, Vana was hired at Division I Weber State University in Ogden, UT to help improve the Women’s Basketball Program. While at Weber State, Vana would coordinate the post player development and defensive execution of the team. Consequently, Weber State enjoyed great success defensively allowing just 59ppg. Overall, Weber State would go on to win 30% more games than the previous two seasons after Vana joined their ranks.
Vana has also reached the highest summit in NJCAA Women’s Basketball winning a National Championship at Louisburg College in Louisburg, NC in 2013. Vana would also be recognized as the NJCAA Coach of the Year as well as Region X Coach of the Year. Overall, in his two years at Louisburg, Vana’s teams would combine for a record of 63-5. While at Louisburg he also developed and coached the WBCA Junior College Player of the Year in 2013. Vana developed and coached elite talent, sending players to schools such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Dayton, High Point, and Western Carolina among many others.
“Brett is dynamic leader who will see things from a coach’s perspective. He will do everything he can on a daily basis to enhance the student athlete experience in the community, classroom, and playing field. What a great hire for Pirate Athletics!” said Kristy Curry, University of Alabama Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
Before making the transition to Louisburg, Vana spent many years leading professional Men’s and Women’s Basketball Programs overseas serving head coaching stints in Switzerland, Denmark and Germany from 1999-2010.
Vana also served as a Graduate Assistant at Western Kentucky University during the 1998-99 season. The Hilltoppers would go on to reach the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game.
Vana attended Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where he was a four-year starter for the Storm. As a player, he received several honors including NAIA Great Lakes All-Region team and Male Athlete of the Year. In April 2000, he was inducted into the Lake Erie College Hall of Fame. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry.