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Montana State names two new women's basketball assistants; Katie Bussey won't return

Updated Montana State Women's Basketball Staff
Posted at 4:29 PM, Apr 26, 2023

(Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)

BOZEMAN — Montana State Ellen Kreighbaum Women’s Head Basketball Coach Tricia Binford has announced the addition of two assistant coaches to the Bobcat program. Joining Binford’s staff are Ryan Johnson and Devin Perez.  

Johnson, who served as an assistant coach at Xavier last season, is no stranger to the Big Sky Conference. He served as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Idaho State from 2014-22. During his eight years in Pocatello, Johnson helped the Bengals to a pair of regular season Big Sky titles in 2020-21 and 2021-22, as well as the 2020-21 Big Sky Tournament championship.  

“I’m thrilled to get Ryan on our staff as we’ve known each other a long time and have coached against each other in the Big Sky Conference while he was at both at ISU and UNC,” Binford said. “I’ve had tremendous respect for him as a coach both with his ability to recruit high caliber talent as well as his expertise in post player development.”  

At ISU, he saw the Bengals record three 20-plus win campaigns in three of his last five seasons. Johnson was instrumental in the development of 2021 Big Sky Tournament MVP Estefania Ors. Ors also earned 2016-17 Freshman of the Year and 2017-18 Top Reserve of the Year accolades. He also helped guide two defensive players of the year, Tomekia Whitman (21-22) and Freya Newton (16-17); along with top reserve of the year, Megan Hochstein (14-15); and top newcomer of the year, Apiphany Woods (14-15).  

On the court, Johnson had responsibilities with forward and post development, guard development and opponent scouting. During the 2020-21 season, he helped ISU achieve on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Offensively, the Bengals ranked No. 1 in Big Sky play and No. 20 nationally in field-goal percentage (45.6%), Defensively, they were No. 1 in Big Sky action and No. 15 nationally in field-goal percentage defense (34.3%).  

Prior to his time in Pocatello, Johnson served as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado from 2007-14. At UNC, he helped recruit two Big Sky MVPs, two defensive players of the year and two freshman/newcomers of the year. Johnson specialized in recruiting the Midwest, West and internationally. He recruited and developed UNC’s first three players to play professionally.  

“Ryan brings us invaluable experience in international recruiting and familiarity of the conference,” Binford added. “Most recently from Xavier, he will oversee our post player development and international recruiting.”  
Johnson served as director of basketball operations at Northern Colorado (2006-07); as a graduate assistant at Utah State (2005-06); and director of basketball operations at Colorado State (2004-05).
 
Perez served as director of player development and video operations last season at the University of Missouri. With the Tigers, he assisted with scouting reports, workout plans, on-court development and oversaw MU women’s basketball camps. Missouri finished the season 18-14 overall and 6-10 in SEC play. The Tigers advanced to the second round of the WNIT. Perez was also instrumental in the development of All-SEC Second Team selection Hayley Frank, as well as All-SEC Freshmen Team pick Ashton Judd.  

Prior to his second stint in Columbia, Perez was director of player development at Marquette from 2020-22. With the Golden Eagles, he was part of a program that made one NCAA appearance, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT, had two top five finishes in Big East play, including reaching the championship game in 2021.  

At Marquette, Perez had responsibilities in operations, recruiting, in-game defensive tracking and team camps.  

“Devin is someone we have known through the coaching world having worked at Missouri along with former MSU player Scotta Morton, who at the time was serving as the assistant AD of mental performance and psychological services,” Binford said. “Devin is a high energy contributor that makes teams, programs, and staffs better with his incredible work ethic, servant leadership style, and experience. He will oversee our guard player development as well as summer camps.”  

Perez started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Missouri from 2018-2020. During that span, the Tigers made one NCAA tournament appearance, advancing to the round of 32, as well as making an SEC Tournament semifinal appearance. He also assisted in the on-court development of 2019 WNBA draft pick Sophie Cunningham and 2019-20 SEC all-freshmen selections Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank.  

A 2017 graduate of Ottawa (KS) University with a degree in business administration, Perez received his master’s degree from Missouri in 2020 in educational, school and counseling psychology. He played collegiately for three seasons at Ottawa University.  

The duo replaces Katie Bussey and Chris Mayes, whose contracts were not renewed.