Hillsdale College is pleased to announce the hiring of Charlie Averkamp as the eighth head women’s basketball coach in program history.
Averkamp comes to Hillsdale fresh off a five-year run of sustained success as head women’s basketball coach at Division III Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, where he guided the Eagle program to unprecedented heights in a short period of time while maintaining his team’s sterling academic reputation.
It’s that mixture of athletic achievement and academic success that drew Averkamp’s interest to Hillsdale College.
“The thing that interested me most about Hillsdale when I was applying was the unbelievable academic reputation the school and its athletic programs have,” Averkamp said. “I’ve worked at several places with strong academics, and I truly believe in the value of both the student and athlete in the term student-athlete.
“Hillsdale really fits with the vision I have for an ideal program, a place that can compete and win at the highest level while achieving that same level of excellence academically. I’m very excited to be getting an opportunity to coach at a place that shares that vision.”
During his time at Benedictine, Averkamp guided the Eagles to their first conference title since 1997 and the program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, while twice surpassing the school record for wins in a season. He also helped to develop 12 All-Conference players, 2 All-Central Region honorees and Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Player of the Year Alex Fanning (2020) during his time with Benedictine.
His most recent season as head coach of the Eagles was his best to date, as Benedictine set a new school record with 24 wins in 2019-20 and finished a perfect 20-0 in conference play, capturing the NACC title for the first time since joining the league in 2006. Following the season, Averkamp was named the NACC Coach of the Year for 2019-20.
For his entire tenure at Benedictine, Averkamp posted a 98-35 record, and his 74 percent winning percentage is the best among head coaches in the history of the Eagle program. The Eagles won consistently with an up-tempo, attacking offensive style and a hard-nosed defense. Averkamp will be looking to bring those same traits to his Hillsdale squads, starting this winter.
“We’re going to push the pace, get up and down the floor, and aggressively attack the basket,” Averkamp said. “Defensively, we want to be disciplined, contest shots and win the rebounding battle.
“We want to be the hardest-working team on the court every single night.”
Prior to taking the head coaching job at Benedictine, Averkamp spent five years as an assistant at Division III Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. During his time with the Falcons, he worked with Stacey Brunner-Jones, the most successful coach in Concordia-Wisconsin history, to help guide the team to five consecutive winning seasons, including an NACC North Division title in 2012-13 and two runner-up finishes in the NACC Conference tournament. At Concordia, Averkamp worked with five All-Conference players, including NACC Player of the Year Katie Leuthe (2014), and helped lead recruiting efforts for the women’s basketball program.
A native of New Berlin, Wisconsin and a graduate of New Berlin West High School, Averkamp played college basketball at Division III Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. During a star-studded four year career from 2004-08, Averkamp earned three All-Conference honors and was named Lake Michigan Conference Freshman of the Year in 2004-05 while helping lead the Eagles to a conference title and the program’s second-ever NCAA Division III tournament berth that same year.
He was the first player in Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference history to record a triple-double, and he is still eighth all-time in Edgewood history in career points (1,454), second in career rebounds (908) and fifth in blocked shots (96).
After his playing career ended, Averkamp broke into coaching at his alma mater, spending the 2008-09 season as a graduate assistant with the Edgewood men’s basketball program under head coach Todd Adrian.
Averkamp graduated from Edgewood with a B.S. in Business Management, and later completed an MBA in Business Management at Concordia University Wisconsin.
“I’d like to thank Athletic Director Don Brubacher, Associate Athletic Director Josh Calver, and all the people involved in the hiring process at Hillsdale College for giving me this opportunity,” Averkamp said. “I’d also like to thank everyone at Benedictine University for everything they’ve done for me over the last five years and for giving me so many great memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
“I’m excited to get on campus at Hillsdale College and I can’t wait to get to work with an unbelievable group of talented young women.”