PROVO, Utah — BYU head coach Amber Whiting announced the addition of assistant coach John Wardenburg to her coaching staff, Friday morning.
“Adding John to our coaching staff is going to be a huge help for our program,” Whiting said. “He returns to BYU with a wealth of knowledge and experience in building championship programs at every level of college basketball. I am excited to have his expertise and for him to help our women reach their full potential.”
Wardenburg returns to BYU after a 33-year coaching career that includes eight years of high school experience and 25 years at the collegiate level. Most recently, he graced the sidelines of Southern Virginia University.
“I am honored and extremely grateful to Coach Whiting and the BYU administration for extending me the offer to assist Amber, her staff and the team in building a championship women’s basketball program here at BYU,” Wardenburg said. “I love Coach’s passion for the game and her love for her players. She and her staff are winners. There is a great foundation of returning players here, and with the outstanding group of new players that are joining us this summer, I believe that there are great things ahead for this program.”
Wardenburg began his coaching career in 1986 as an assistant coach at Pleasant Grove High School before becoming the head coach at Payson High School in 1988. After five years at Payson, Wardenburg entered the college coaching ranks as an assistant to Dave Rose at then Dixie State College where he served from 1993-97. Following four years as an assistant to Rose, Wardenburg took the helm of the Dixie State College Athletic Department where he served as the athletic director from 1997-1999.
In 1999, Wardenburg returned to the sideline as the head coach of Pine View High School where he led the Panthers to their first state boys basketball championship in school history in 2001. From 2001-2010, Wardenburg assisted Steve Cleveland and Dave Rose at BYU. During his time on the sidelines of the Marriott Center, Wardenburg helped the Cougars to three straight Mountain West Conference titles, six NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the National Invitation Tournament.
Wardenburg served as an assistant to Ken Wagner at BYU-Hawaii during the 2010-11 campaign, where the Seasiders played in the NCAA Division II title game. He spent the next four seasons at Indian Hills Community College as an assistant to Barret Peery from 2011-14 (playing for the NJCAA National Championship in 2014) and the head coach in 2014-15. In his first season as a college head coach, he led the Warriors to a 29-5 record and a trip to the national NJCAA quarterfinals.
After returning to Utah for the 2015-16 season as an assistant coach at Westlake High School, Wardenburg was named the associate head coach of Southern Utah University. He assisted Todd Simon in all aspects of transforming a program that had won five games in 2015-16 to eventually win their first Big Sky Championship in 2020-21.
Following his time at SUU, Wardenburg spent the last two seasons as the associate head coach of Southern Virginia University, assisting his son, Adam Wardenburg. Under Wardenburg’s tutelage, the Knights went from winning five games in the two seasons prior to his arrival to winning 27 games during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.
Wardenburg was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was a multi-sport athlete at Kiel High School in Kiel, Wisconsin. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Netherlands from 1977-79 and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from BYU in 1986, a master's in health, physical education and recreation from Utah State in 1992 and an MBA from Southern Utah.
Wardenburg and his wife, Pam, have four sons, Scott (Laura), Jonathan (Natalie), Adam (Tristan) and Barrett (Katie), and 10 grandchildren.