Seton Sobolewski (so-bo-LES-ski) enters his ninth season as the head women’s basketball coach at Idaho State, the 12th head coach in ISU history. With 150 career wins, Sobolewski is the winningest coach in Idaho State women’s basketball history. He surpassed his predecessor Jon Newlee with his 94th win on Feb. 1, 2014 against his alma mater Northern Arizona.
In his nine seasons at Idaho State, Sobolewski has compiled a 150-131 record overall with an 90-68 Big Sky record. Prior to the change in the Big Sky conference tournament structure where every team makes post-season play, Sobolewski led the ISU 12-straight tournament appearances, the second longest streak in the Big Sky during the same time period.
During the 2017 season, Sobolewski led the Bengals to their second-straight Big Sky Conference tournament championship game appearance, this time as the No. 6 seed after finishing conference play with a 10-8 record. Three Bengals earned all-conference recognition as Freya Newton earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, Estefania Ors was named Outstanding Freshman while Saylair Grandon earned Third Team All-Big Sky honors.
As a team, Idaho State finished atop the conference in five categories: scoring defense, rebounding defense, rebounding margin, defensive rebounding percentage and offensive rebounding percentage.
In 2016, Idaho State finished ninth in Big Sky play with an 8-10 record with nine games decided by five points or less. Three Bengals finished in the top 15 in scoring (Apiphany Woods, 11th; Brooke Blair, 14th; Anna Policicchio, 15th), while Policicchio led the league and ranked 24th in the nation in blocked shots with 2.7 per contest.
The Bengals had a memorable post-season run, knocking off No. 1 Montana State in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament off a last-second three from Juliet Jones. ISU advanced to the championship of the BSC tournament for the first time since 2012 and the fifth time in school history, losing to No. 3 Idaho 67-55. Both Policicchio and Blair earned All-Tournament honors.
The Bengals returned to the Big Sky conference tournament in 2015 and lost to tournament host and eventual champion Montana 69-67 in the quarterfinals. ISU boasted two all-conference selections in 2015 as senior guard Apiphany Woods was selected as the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and sophomore Megan Hochstein was one of three players to be named the Big Sky Conference Top Reserve.
In 2014, ISU fell to tournament host and eventual Big Sky Tournament Champion North Dakota 78-53 in the tournament semifinals after defeating Eastern Washington 70-65 (OT) in the quarterfinals of the 2014 tournament.
In 2013 Sobolewski led the Idaho State to the second straight postseason tournament. The Bengals were awarded an at-large bid to the WNIT. It was ISU’s first trip to the WNIT and the first since 2008. The Bengals lost to BYU 69-54 in the first-round.
In 2012 Sobolewski led the Bengals to their third regular-season and Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship. Under his leadership, ISU made its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history, facing the Miami Hurricanes in the first round. The 2012 season was Sobolewsi’s most successful. He accumulated 24 overall wins, the second most wins in a single season in program history. His 14 conference victories during the same season is also the second most conference wins in a single season in program history. His success during the season earned him his first Big Sky Coach of the Year honors.
Since his first season, Sobolewski has helped the Bengals continuously improve its win total and for the sixth straight season posted a winning conference record.
During the 2010-11 season the Bengals opened with a 10-game home win streak and finished 12-1 for the year. Over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Sobolewski’s Bengals held a 14-game home win streak, the second longest in school history.
In 2011, Sobolewski led the Bengals to an 18-12 record for the third most wins in a single season in Idaho State school history. The Bengals also defeated Utah for the first time in school history.
He led the Bengals to a three-way second place tie in the Big Sky regular season with a 10-6 record during the 2009-10 season. He led the Bengals to a .500 overall record (15-15) and helped Idaho State make its 12th Big Sky championship appearance. He led the Bengals to 15 victories to tie for the sixth most victories in a single season at Idaho State.
In his first season Sobolewski helped the Bengals to a fourth-place finish in the Big Sky regular season where ISU had a near upset of Montana in the Big Sky semifinal tournament game.
Sobolewski has had 22 of his players earn Big Sky all-academic honors. In his first season Michelle Grohs was named first team all-conference and Jenna Brown was named second team all-conference. The following year Oana Iacovita was unanimously selected first team all-conference while Andrea Videbeck earned honorable mention. Under Sobolewski’s direction Iacovita earned back-to-back Big Sky all-tournament team honors and was named by the Big Sky as the conference honoree for the NCAA Woman of the Year. In 2011-12 Lindsey Reed and Ashleigh Vella were named to the Big Sky Conference All-Tournament team and Chelsea Pickering was named tournament MVP. Reed was again named to the Big Sky All-Tournament team in 2013-14. Sobolewski has also had 11 players named all-conference, the most recent with Reed and Jessica Tingey in 2013-14. Reed was named to the first team while Tingey earned second team honors.
In coming to Idaho State, Sobolewski took over one of the top programs in the Big Sky Conference, as the Bengals have qualified for the postseason seven times in the past twelve seasons, winning regular season titles in 2001, 2006 and 2012 winning the conference tournament in 2001, 2007 and 2012, advancing to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons. The Bengals have also qualified for the WNIT in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2013.
Before Idaho State, Sobolewski was a major part of UC Riverside’s success as a Division I program that won a Big West regular season title, two Big West Tournament titles, made two NCAA appearances, and nearly upset No. 8 Arizona State in the 2007 NCAA tournament. The last four of those years were spent serving under John Margaritis, who was a former associate head coach at Northern Arizona.
While serving as recruiting coordinator at UC Riverside, Sobolewski recruited and coached 2007 Big West Conference player of the year Kemie Nkele. The players brought in during his time as recruiting coordinator earned one Big West Conference player of the year award, one freshman of the year award, one defensive player of the year award, three Big West Conference tournament MVP awards, four All-Big West tournament awards, five first team All-Big West Conference awards, three second team All-Big West Conference awards, seven honorable mention All-Big West Conference awards, five All-Big West freshman team awards, eight Big West Conference player of the week awards, and three Big West academic all-conference award winners. These awards were won over three seasons.
Sobolewski served one year as an assistant with the men’s program at Yavapai Junior College where the team advanced to the region tournament after going 19-12 for the year. In 2000-01, Sobolewski served as an assistant with the girls’ basketball program at Coconino High School in Flagstaff where he served under Head Coach Jenny Shayani. Coconino improved nine games that year to 15-12 overall.
Sobolewski attended Eastern Arizona College, starting on the men’s basketball team for two years from 1995-97. He then moved to Oklahoma Panhandle State University a Division II school in Goodwell, Okla., where he played from 1997-99. In 1998, he was selected to Who’s Who in America’s Colleges and Universities. A 2001 graduate of Northern Arizona University with a bachelor of sciences degree in biology with an emphasis in secondary education, Sobolewski got his start by serving as a manager under former NAU Head Coach Meg Sanders for the 1999-2000 season.
The Bengal head coach hails from Flagstaff, Ariz. where his parents reside. He is married to the former Katie Haan of Upland, Calif. They have two daughters, Aubrey (6) and Emery (3).