Bellevue University (NE) Names First-Ever Women’s Basketball Coach

Dave Denly has been named Bellevue University’s first-ever women’s basketball coach in an announcement made by athletic director Ed Lehotak. Denly comes to Bellevue from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan. where he spent 17 seasons as the head women’s basketball coach, while also serving as the school’s athletic director for the past six years.

The women’s basketball team will begin competing officially during the 2016-17 season as a member of both the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The program becomes the ninth varsity sport to be offered at BU joining baseball, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and volleyball.

Denly, who will begin his new position on July 1, guided Southwestern to seven NAIA National Tournament appearances, while building the program into one of the best in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, finishing no lower than fourth place in the conference in every season during his tenure.

“We are very pleased that Coach Denly has accepted the position as head coach of our women’s basketball program,” said Lehotak. “I look forward to working with Dave as he builds our new program and brings in student-athletes that will be a success on the court as well as in the classroom.”

This past season Denly led Southwestern to a 22-10 record (13-5 KCAC) and a fifth-straight appearance in the NAIA Division II National Tournament, while finishing at No. 25 in the final NAIA national poll.

Denly’s overall record at SC was 348-171 (.671), and he guided his teams to eight-consecutive 20-win seasons, setting school records along the way for both total victories in a season and conference wins in a season. He has coached 24 first team all-conference players, 38 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, and 84 academic all-conference selections in his tenure at Southwestern and the Lady Builders have had the KCAC Player of the Year four times during his tutelage.

Denly has been named the KCAC Coach of the Year three times and is the 16th winningest women’s basketball coach in the NAIA.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Bellevue University community and Athletic Department,” said Denly. “The chance to start a women’s basketball program was a big factor in this decision. The tradition established by Bellevue Athletics and Athletic Director Ed Lehotak is very impressive. My goal is to establish a women’s basketball program that will equal and enhance that tradition. My family and I are very excited about this new challenge and are ready to get on ground and get started.”

Before taking over the women’s program at SC, Denly served as an assistant coach to Brad Horstmann in the Builder men’s program for two years. During that time, the Southwestern men qualified for the national tournament and won the KCAC post-season tournament.

Denly played at Pekin (Packwood) High school in rural Iowa, where he led the Panthers to a 51-23 record in four years, and was a four-year letter winner and a three-year all-conference performer. During his junior and senior seasons, he was named to the all-state teams in both basketball and football. He still holds numerous records at his high school, where he is the all-time scoring leader with 1,263 points.

He played collegiately at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and the Knights went 56-23 and won two conference championships during his four years, also qualifying for the NCAA DIII national tournament in both of those championship seasons.

Denly graduated from Wartburg in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and accounting.

Photo Courtesy Southwestern Athletics

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