Beavers Welcome Back Eric Ely
CORVALLIS – The Oregon State women's basketball team is excited to welcome Eric Ely back to the staff, head coach Scott Rueck announced Thursday. Ely, who worked for the Beavers from 2010-2020, will serve as Director of Player Personnel/Assistant to the Head Coach.
"The plan has always been to have Eric and Regina be a part of our program and Beaver Nation," Rueck said. "There was a detour beyond our control and to now have him return is a dream scenario. Since he arrived at OSU in July of 2010, Eric has been a vital component in the development of our program. He has been a pillar of strength and a stabilizing force both for our team and in the Corvallis community. He has a huge heart for people, recognizes the needs people have, and then does everything he can to help those around him develop and grow. I could not be more excited for him to jump back in and continue his legacy of impact. Eric is simply one of the great people in our game and it is such a blessing to have him and Regina back in Corvallis."
Ely joined the Beavers as an assistant coach alongside Rueck in 2010, and helped guide Oregon State to some of the most successful seasons in program history. A key part of the turnaround within OSU women's basketball, Ely helped the Beavers return to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 – their first appearance in the event since 1996. Oregon State won its first ever Pac-12 title the following season, and snagged a second conference crown in 2015-16, on its way to the Final Four.
During his tenure as an assistant, Ely worked extensively with the Beaver posts – helping develop players such as Patricia Bright, Ruth Hamblin, Deven Hunter, Breanna Brown, Sam Siegner, Kolbie Orum and Marie Gulich. Hamblin and Gulich would both garner All-America honors during their Oregon State careers, and were both selected in the WNBA Draft.
Prior to the 2016-17 season, Ely transitioned into a new position on the OSU staff, taking over as Assistant Athletic Director for Women's Basketball. In his new role, Ely shifted his focus to enhancing the Beavers' community service engagement. He spearheaded a relationship between the Oregon State team and Southside Youth Outreach in Corvallis, encouraging student-athletes to volunteer with under-privileged kids in the area. Ely also organized numerous events at local nursing homes, schools and community events.
"This is definitely an exciting time for me," Ely said. "I've got so many great memories of Beaver Nation and of working with this team, and I can't say how special it is to be back. I love Oregon State and I love Corvallis. It's truly a family atmosphere here. That's the foundation of this program and it's the foundation of Beaver Athletics. I think this group has a chance to do big things, and I'm looking forward to getting a chance to work with all of them."
Ely left Oregon State in the spring of 2020 to become an assistant coach at Texas Tech. In its first season, the Red Raiders' new staff led the team to a 10-15 record. Texas Tech went 11-19 last season, earning three wins over ranked opponents including a landmark road victory over No. 9 Texas.
Returning to the Beavers as Director of Player Personnel/Assistant to the Head Coach, Ely will focus on the development of the student-athletes, as well as carrying out administrative duties and working to continue the Beavers' extensive community service efforts.
What they're saying:
"Coach Eli is one of a kind. From the moment I met him, he was genuine, kind and always present. During my time at Oregon State he would always push me to be my best. He knew how to bring out the best in me and my teammates at any given time. His coaching ability speaks for itself, but the person he is outshines it all. After my time at OSU he would reach out to show his support in my professional career and beyond. He always tells me that nothing can hold me back, and I think he exemplifies that in everything he does. I am so glad he is back at Oregon State where he can spread his joy to so many more athletes and community members." – Oregon State alum Ali Gibson
"Congratulations to Coach Ely and welcome back to the Beavers. Whether it was working with the post or his words of wisdom, he was an essential part of my time with the Beavers. We got a lot of one-on-one time when I was redshirting, and he showed me the value of putting extra work in. The Beavers are lucky to have Eric back." – Oregon State forward Breanna Brown