After serving as a student assistant last season, Krista Reinking takes over a full-time role as assistant coach for the Fighting Illini in 1999-2000.
A native of Decatur, Ind., Reinking holds the Illini single-season (74) and career (194) three-point records. She appeared in 110 games, starting 60 and amassing 1,215 points (11.0 points per game), the ninth most in Illini history. Reinking was a steady influence on the court, taking on leadership roles and serving as captain.
She was named third-team All-Big Ten in 1996 and honorable mention all-conference in 1997. Reinking had perhaps her best game as a collegian against the top-ranked team in the country. That day she scored 21 points and made 5 of 7 three-pointers, including a trey to knot the score at 69-69 vs. Connecticut in the 1997 NCAA Sweet 16. She also earned the MVP honors in a tournament at Oregon State as a junior.
Reinking returned to Illinois last season while completing her bachelor's degree in sports management. She has worked closely with the Hometown Heroes program, where players speak at local grade schools and for other organizations. She has been instrumental in scouting and film editing and breakdown while taking a major hand in organizing summer camps.
Reinking has also enjoyed scrimmaging with the team throughout the season, proving more than once that she can still "dish the rock and drain the three." Reinking has administered pre- and post-season strength and conditioning workouts as well.
Her relationship with Coach Grentz has prompted her to undertake writing a resource guide to playing for the legendary coach. Grentz and Reinking completed a 100-page book, detailing what it takes both mentally and physically to succeed in the national powerhouse program. "Having been here for five years, I understand what she expects and what she's looking for in her players," said Reinking.
The two, along with Coaches Wagner and Reed, now have the role of leading the Illini to the Promised Land or Final Four. "I'm very loyal to Illinois and Theresa Grentz," Reinking explains. "They have been very good to me and I want to give something back. It's a great opportunity to work for one of the best coaches in the country and on such an impressive staff."
This year Reinking will handle the guards in addition to enrolling in a master's program for a post-graduate degree in educational organization and leadership.
"Through the course of last year, Krista has earned her way on to my ‘short list' for assistant coaches," said Grentz. "She did a terrific job this season as a fifth year student-coach in our program. I was most impressed with how well she handled the transition from player to coach. Her love of the game was matched by her maturity and professionalism. Krista is going to be a great coach. For now, I'm so proud that one of my former players is the final piece to our new staff."