2.7.15

RESTORING THE WINNING WAYS?

On Monday, Northern Star sports reporter Chris Loggins suggested the university's search for a new women's basketball coach to replace the resigned Kathi Bennett was taking a long time.
Although the team struggled throughout Bennett’s tenure, the resignation came as a surprise. What’s more surprising is the team has yet to find a replacement.

Under Bennett, the team went 57-93 in five seasons, and it’d be an understatement to say they under-achieved in her time. In the 2014-2015 season, the Huskies went 12-17, with an 8-10 conference record and a 2-12 record on the road. They lost seven games by double figures and never won more than two games in a row.

Why the search for a new head coach has taken so long is unclear. The team should be confident NIU can somehow find a replacement that can work towards changing its fortune. With next season’s tip off still months away, there should be little to no concern over finding a great fit.

The team hasn’t had a winning record since they went (19-12, 8-8 MAC) in the 2006-2007 season under head coach Carol Owens. A drought this long has to be broken, and maybe a coaching change is what it may take to bring a winning culture to women’s basketball at NIU.
Perhaps the team's continued difficulties have turned the position from a desirable to a difficult one.

On Tuesday, the DeKalb Daily Chronicle noted that the athletic department had a short list of two candidates.
The Northern Illinois athletic program will name its women's basketball coach on Tuesday and documents obtained by the Daily Chronicle appear to show the two finalists for the position.

According to documents obtained from Northern Illinois University via the Freedom of Information Act, Lisa Carlsen and Tasha Pointer were the only two candidates to come to DeKalb for an in-person interview – Pointer on June 22-23 and Carlsen on June 23-24.
The long list was five people.
According to the documents, five applicants were given in-person interviews with a search firm Northern Illinois was using and only two – Carlsen and Pointer – were granted in-person interviews on campus.
Later that day, the university did name Lisa Carlsen, formerly coach at Lewis University, to the job.  At the press conference, athletic director Sean Frazier made an interesting observation.
She was auditioning and she did not know she was auditioning. You know I think every athletic director in the country has a short list or know of some people. It didn’t hurt to know Coach Carlsen’s style or athletes. The fact that she was not that far away from us in Chicagoland proper. Those all things were a bonus in this process. If I didn’t know what Lewis or who Lewis was but I knew it after that game. I can tell you that much. I will say that, you know, the process, the body of work, the things that she’s been able to do in her career are extremely impressive. As we went through the process, it was clear that this was going to be a good fit.
Lewis turned out not to be a non-conference early-season bought win for Northern Illinois last fall.  But success outside of the automatic-qualifying conferences isn't the greatest recruiting point.  Moving to the Mid-American, according to the new coach, might be.
I can go out and get some of those kids that maybe I wasn’t going to be able get at Lewis, but I know who they are. I know those names. I know those programs. I know those AAU teams or whatever it is, that I can now continue to go after and I might be able to entice them now to be a Huskie at this level that maybe I wasn’t going to be able to do in getting those kids to Lewis.
We'll be watching.

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