MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – FEBRUARY 12, 2021
Bacone College announced today the hire of Ruben Little Head from Lawrence, Kansas as the new men’s basketball coach.
Little Head is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Lame Deer, Montana, where he grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. He attended Haskell Indian Nations University in the late 90s and played two years of basketball there, then one year at St. Mary’s in Leavenworth, KS.
After the birth of his oldest son in 1998, he returned to Haskell to finish his bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies, then went to the University of Kansas to work toward a master’s degree in education.
Little Head has played basketball all of his life, he said, coaching at all levels, including his sons’ tournament teams, junior high basketball, high school, and as an assistant coach for college.
“I’m very honored for the opportunity to step into this position at this time to complete the current basketball season,” Little Head said. “I want to thank Bacone College for reaching out to me about this position, for giving me this chance, this opportunity. Not everybody gets a chance to coach college, and I’m sure there’s a bunch of other coaches who would want to be where I’m at. I’m thankful.”
Little Head said he intends to spend the short time remaining in this season evaluating ways to help the team grow and improve for next season and turn his attention toward recruiting.
“What I bring to Bacone is the network of Native communities I work with all over the U.S. and Canada. I’ve also spent 15 years dancing in pow wows, Native gatherings, and I’ve been an emcee/announcer for most of my life,” he said. “It’s allowed me to travel, to experience, to spend time with different tribes, and to learn customs and lifestyles. I’ve built a network that I’m hoping to connect with Bacone College, to hopefully recruit some of these elite players from these communities.”
Bacone College’s Center for American Indians Director Aaron Adson said Little Head’s experience will be beneficial in his new position.
“Ruben has a solid understanding of the game of basketball being a former college athlete himself. Also, Coach Little Head has a vast and successful network all throughout Indian Country that will benefit our college as we move forward with the mission here,” Adson said. “I’m very excited to see the positive evolvement of our basketball program at Bacone College.”
Little Head said he looks forward to recruiting players from both in-state and across the country, communities in places such as the Dakotas, Tulalip, Washington, Lapwai Idaho, and Montana.
“Bacone is a prestigious Indian college as it was 141 years ago,” he said. “I want to strive to revive that winning tradition of Indian basketball as head men’s basketball coach. There are also tremendous basketball players in Wisconsin, Minnesota, here in Oklahoma like in Cheyenne and Arapaho country, and I’m hoping to connect with all of them.”
Little Head said though building a winning basketball program is a top priority, he is a strong advocate for the student athlete, as well.
“Which means student first, an athlete second,” he said. “Because ultimately, I want our students to enjoy playing college basketball but to focus on earning a degree that will take them farther in life.”
Little Head’s life experience is exactly what President Dr. Ferlin Clark said he was looking for in a coach.
“His Native roots and his achievements on and off the reservation, including being a first-generation college graduate himself, help him to understand where our students come from, the challenges they face, and their paths to success,” Clark said.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact the Office of College Relations at 918-360-3866.