Cal Poly Women's Basketball Names Santiago Director of Operations

Cal Poly Women's Basketball Names Santiago Director of Operations

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's basketball program announced Monday it has welcomed back its all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Kristina Santiago, as Director of Basketball Operations.

Santiago, who was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 22, graduated in 2012 having set eight school records whether on a career or single-season basis. Among her all-time program records are scoring (1,953 points), rebounding (851), field goals made (775), field-goal percentage (.538) and free throws made (398) and attempted (566), along with single-season scoring average (23.4 in 2011-12) and field-goal percentage (.555, also in 2011-12).

"So many people invested in me and put time and effort into my career at Cal Poly," Santiago said. "I'm so grateful and excited I can give back now with this position."

Santiago played professionally for the past five years, including three consecutive Bulgarian NBL Playoff MVP awards from 2013-15 while leading Dunav to a three-peat.

In addition during that time, the Kinesiology (Exercise Science) alumna also worked in the offseason as a personal and individual trainer, a clinician at camps and as a club basketball coach.

This past season before retiring, she played for BC Alte Kanti Aarau of the Swiss Ligue Nationale, averaging 22.4 points and 9.3 rebounds and winning the Swiss Supercup. Ty Arras, Cal Poly's Director of Operations, joined the Whitman College men's basketball program as an assistant coach earlier this month.

"This opportunity came at the best time possible for me; I had just retired from playing," Santiago said. "I could not be more blessed to have someone like Coach Faith in my life, and I'm really excited to get to learn from her from a professional standpoint and start my career with her."

Santiago, a graduate of Righetti High School in Santa Maria, also nearly broke the Mustang single-game scoring record (46) with a 44-point performance against San Diego State as a senior. Her No. 12 jersey was retired in Mott Athletics Center in December 2016.

"We're super-excited about Kristina joining our staff," Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh said. "Her well-deserved induction into the Hall of Fame demonstrates the work ethic, focus and championship mentality that she brings to the staff."

"While women's professional basketball will feel her loss as a player, I believe she has an incredible future ahead of her in coaching or athletic administration," Mimnaugh said. "We're so happy she is returning to our program to continue to positively impact our program and future Mustangs."

Santiago was an AP All-American honorable mention in 2011-12, as well as Big West Player of the Year in 2009-10 and 2011-12, along with the Cal Poly Women's Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2012, leading the Mustangs to the regular-season conference title as a redshirt senior.

Cal Poly, which welcomes three freshmen and a redshirted transfer to a group of 11 returning letterwinners, opens the season at San Francisco at 6 p.m. Nov. 10. The Mustangs will host their home opener vs. Grand Canyon at 11 a.m. Nov. 16.

Photo © Owen Main Photography