COACHING STAFF

Rico Burkett | Assistant Coach

Rico Burkett begins his second season as an assistant coach with the Colorado State women's basketball program in 2019-20. He was formally introduced as a member of the staff on May 17, 2018.

Burkett was head coach of the Wayne State men's basketball team for nine seasons, finishing his tenure with the Wildcats with the third-most wins in program history (111). Burkett's nine-year stint also ranks as the second-longest tenure in program history, behind only W. Ray Hickman, who served as WSC head coach from 1927-38.

"Rico and his family will be tremendous additions to Colorado State University and our women's basketball program," Colorado State head coach Ryun Williams said. "My relationship with Rico goes all the way back to our playing days, as well a lengthy overlap when we were both at Wayne State. I have always had great respect for his ability to interact and relate to players as well as develop their games. Rico is just a very knowledgeable basketball guy who will no doubt help move us forward."

Burkett spent 13 seasons total with the Wayne State men's basketball program, previously serving as an assistant coach under current Creighton head coach Greg McDermott for four seasons before being promoted to head coach upon McDermott's departure.

"Mandy, Taryn, Marcus and I are excited to join the Ram family," Burkett said. "Coach Williams is one of the brightest coaches in the country, and he has established a rich basketball tradition during his time at Colorado State University. This is a tremendous opportunity to join his staff and be a part of the CSU basketball family. We look forward to moving to Fort Collins and getting involved in a great community. I'm excited to get to work and start building relationships."

During his tenure at Wayne State, Burkett recruited and developed 19 All-NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) players, including nine First-Team All-NSIC selections, five Second-Team All-NSIC picks, three Third-Team All-NSIC honorees and two All-NSIC Honorable Mentions. He also coached 1998 All-American Tyler Johnson, as well as All-America Honorable Mention Brad Joens in 2000-01.

Academics were a point of emphasis for Burkett at Wayne State, and he served as academic coordinator for all basketball student-athletes during his WSC tenure. His teams boasted a 100 percent player graduate rate, a 3.0 team GPA or better in 15 of his 18 semesters as head coach and two NSIC Britton Award honorees, the only two in school history. The Britton Award is given annually to the conference's top male scholar-athlete.

Burkett has 16 seasons of collegiate coaching experience in all, including a stop as an assistant coach for two seasons at Stetson (1995-97) and his first coaching job as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, North Dakota (1993-94).

As a player, Burkett led North Dakota to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances from 1989-91 with no fewer than 28 wins each season and a combined four North Central Conference regular-season and region titles. In 1991, Burkett served as UND's captain, and was named the North Central Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He remains UND's all-time single-season record holder in assists (232) and second in steals (75).

This marks a return to the collegiate coaching ranks for Burkett after a nine-year hiatus from the game. In between college coaching stints, he has served his community in various positions in Grand Island, Neb., including at Boys Town (2010-13 - shelter school/youth care worker), the Department of Health and Human Services (2013 - child and family services specialist), and presently, as an alternative education specialist at Northwest High School. While teaching at Northwest, Burkett assisted the boys' basketball coaching staff from 2013-15 and is currently the girls' basketball coach.

Notably, the careers of Williams and Burkett overlapped for eight years at Wayne State, as Williams held the head coaching job for the women's program during Burkett's tenure as men's head coach.

 

Kellie Lewis | Assistant Coach

Kellie Lewis begins her second season as an assistant coach for the Colorado State women's basketball team in 2019-20. She was formally introduced as a member of the staff on June 7, 2018.

Lewis was most recently the head coach of the Florida Atlantic women's basketball program, holding that position for five seasons. She also spent a combined nine years at Nebraska and Washington, serving in assistant coaching positions that included the coordination of each program's recruiting efforts. In her career, Lewis has coached in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 (then Pac-10), Conference USA and Sun Belt.

"Kellie will be a great addition to our staff," Colorado State head coach Ryun Williams said. "She comes to us with valuable head coaching experience and was a dynamite recruiter during her time as an assistant at Nebraska and Washington.  She knows what a good player looks like, knows how to recruit them and is very good at developing their talent."

Lewis coached a high-scoring offense throughout her tenure at FAU, including the program's No. 2 all-time single-season scoring offense both by total points (2,331) and average (77.7). Her teams made 195 three-pointers or more in four seasons, and broke the school record for threes in a season twice. The Owls sunk 264 triples in 2013-14, then 294 in 2015-16, which was also a Conference USA record.

In addition to those single-season three-point field goal records, the Owls also set the program record for highest team three-point field goal percentage (.350) in 2015-16. Among other records set under Lewis' guidance were C-USA's single-game three-point field goals record (20 vs. UTEP on March 5, 2014), as well as FAU single-game records for margin of victory (77 vs. Florida Memorial on Nov. 16, 2013) and steals (33 vs. Florida Memorial on Nov. 16, 2013).

Prior to her head coaching position at Florida Atlantic, Lewis was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at Nebraska for five seasons. The Huskers reached the postseason three times during her tenure, and won its first and only Big 12 title with a 32-2 (16-0 conference) record in 2009-10. Among her recruiting accomplishments at Nebraska were signing a top-25 class in 2011, the highest during then-head coach Connie Yori's tenure, as well as the signing of 2009 Washington Gatorade High School Player of the Year Lindsey Moore.

Lewis also coached as an assistant for four years during Yori's tenure at Washington, and helped lead the Huskies to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and 2007. She also coordinated recruiting efforts at UW, and in 2006, the Huskies signed a six-player class that was rated eighth in the nation by Blue Star Basketball.

Prior to coaching in the college game, Lewis was head coach at Bishop Kelley High School (Boise, Idaho) and of the Idaho Elite, a club team that she co-founded. Her high school squads combined for three district titles, and Bishop Kelly's varsity team reach the state title game in 2002. Lewis, who was 87-33 as a high school coach, also led the Idaho Elite to the Midsummer Nights Madness Tournament title that year. 25 members of that club team were tabbed all-state over her tenure, while 12 signed with Division I programs.

Lewis was a two-time captain as a player for Boise State, and earned All-Big Sky honors in 1997 and 1998. Her name continues to appear throughout the Broncos' record book today, including No. 3 all-time career rankings in three-point field goals made (163) and free throw percentage (.807), as well as a No. 11 position in three-point field goal percentage (.337) and 20th-place ranking in career points (829).

Lewis, who was valedictorian of her class at Placer High School (Auburn, Calif.), graduated from Boise State in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in social science/public affairs with an emphasis in sociology and psychology. She has one daughter, Kobie.

 

Amber Cunningham | Assistant Coach

Amber Cunningham begins her fourth season with the Colorado State women’s basketball team in 2019-20, and her third as an assistant coach after serving as the Rams’ video coordinator in 2016-17.

Cunningham was a two-sport athlete in her collegiate career at South Dakota, competing in basketball and track. In her collegiate basketball career, Cunningham played for current CSU head coach Ryun Williams and current CSU director of women’s basketball administration Chad Lavin. She was a member of USD’s 2008 squad that finished as the Division II national runner-up, and was a key member of the Coyotes as the team experienced success in the transition to Division I basketball.

Cunningham was recently named to USD’s “Mount Rushmore of DakotaDome Basketball”, and is the program’s all-time No. 3 scorer (1,759 points). Cunningham ranks amongst the program’s all-time career leaders in several major categories, including at No. 2 in blocks (176), No. 5 in rebounds (841) and No. 10 in assists (314). She is one of 11 players in program history to tally 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career, and was a three-time first-team all-conference selection.

Following her collegiate career, Cunningham played professionally for five seasons, including four years in Australia and one in Germany. Cunningham competed for the Melbourne Boomers and the Ringwood Hawks while in Australia, and was a member of the Herne basketball club in Germany.

A native of Crofton, Neb., the former Amber Hegge is married to Michael Cunningham. She graduated from South Dakota in 2012 with a degree in mathematics.

 

Brooke Butkovsky | Assistant Coach

Brooke Butkovsky is in her third season on the Colorado State women’s basketball staff in 2019-20 and her second as the Rams' director of operations. She was formally introduced in her previous role on the staff, the director of player development, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.

Butkovsky brings experience in coaching and marketing to the Rams’ newly-created director of player development position. Among her previous roles was a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Clarkson University.

In her two years as an assistant coach at Clarkson, the Golden Knights combined to go 38-17, including a 23-9 mark in conference play. Clarkson reached the NCAA Tournament in her first season on the coaching staff, the first appearance for the Golden Knights in 27 seasons.

Among the other roles Butkovsky has held was a marketing and promotions role for the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, in which she worked directly with the team’s front office to organize sponsorships, advertising and the game day experience.

Butkovsky began her coaching career at her alma mater immediately following her playing career in 2015. Among her the highlights of her college basketball career was Liberty League All-Rookie honors after averaging 9.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game with a conference-best .556 field goal percentage. Butkovsky, who was a two-time captain for Clarkson basketball, also competed in volleyball, helping lead the team to a 104-18 record, three consecutive conference championships and as many NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals appearances.

In 2015, Butkovsky was presented Clarkson’s Ed Sayer Memorial Award, which recognizes one student-athlete that best exemplifies “compassion for their teammates, an indelible work ethic, a passion for their sport and an appreciation of the intricacies and importance of teamwork.” She graduated from Clarkson in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in innovation & entrepreneurship, and added a master’s degree in business administration in 2017.

 

Chad Lavin | Director of Women's Basketball Administration

Chad Lavin is in his third season as director of women’s basketball administration at Colorado State and is in his fifth season overall as a member of the staff.

Lavin returned to women’s basketball in 2012-13 after a four-year hiatus from coaching. Lavin brought with him 26 years of head coaching experience, including 12 years at the Division I level. After two seasons as an assistant coach for the Rams, Lavin transitioned to his current role. While he will not recruit, he remains in charge of gameday preparations, opponent scouting and practice evaluation.

A Division II Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year and two-time Regional Coach of the Year, Lavin opted for early retirement in 2008 after guiding his South Dakota squad to the NCAA Tournament championship game. The Coyotes finished the season 33-2, the best record in school history, and they received a No. 2 final ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

Lavin ended his career at USD as the program’s all-time winningest coach (273-141; .659). He was inducted in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

In between his first four-year stint (1982-86) and his last 10 years (1998-2008) at South Dakota, Lavin was head coach of the Rams’ Border War rival, Wyoming, for 12 seasons (1986-1998). While there he amassed a 175-162 (.519) record and led the Cowgirls to four top-three conference finishes, including their only regular-season league title in 1989-90. That year, Wyoming went 24-8 overall and posted its best conference winning percentage in program history at .900 (9-1).

All told, Lavin has mentored seven national playoff teams and has seven seasons with 20 or more wins on his résumé. He has been named North Central Conference Coach of the Year four times (1982-83, 1984-85, 2002-03, 2007-08), South Dakota Collegiate Coach of the Year (1984-85), High Country Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice (1986-87, 1989-90) and was the North Central Region Coach of the Year in 2002-03.

He has coached five NCC MVPs and five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, including former director of women’s basketball operations, Mandy Koupal.

Colorado State University - Women's Basketball