Chicago States Names Misty Opat Head Women’s Basketball Coach

The Chicago State University (CSU) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics today announced the selection of two new head coaches for the school’s women’s and men’s basketball teams. Misty Opat will lead the CSU’s women’s team and Lance Irvin will lead CSU’s men’s team. Both coaches bring significant Division I experience, a passionate commitment to off-court achievement and award-winning track records of success at both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) levels.

“The hiring of Misty Opat and Lance Irvin marks a new day for Chicago State University,” said Z Scott, President of CSU. “We are delighted to have them aboard and look forward to their positive influence in our school community.”

According to CSU’s Athletic Director, Chris Zorich, “Throughout their careers, both coaches have demonstrated a commitment to inspiring their teams to achieve excellence on and off the court, making them the ideal additions to the CSU family as we commit to strengthening the school’s athletic and academic programs.”

Opat comes to CSU most recently from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., where she led her team to victory in four of the last seven NJCAA Division III National Championships. She also brings seven years of experience at the NCAA Division I level, including assisting the University of Kansas to two Big 12 Conference championships and two NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances. Opat was named Spalding NJCAA D-III National Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year six times, the Region IV Coach of the Year seven times, the District 2 Coach of the Year five times, and the Coach of the NJCAA D-III National Tournament four times.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Chicago State University as head coach of the women’s basketball team, which is a hidden gem in an incredible basketball city,” Opat says. “I have always focused equally on the athletic achievements and academic accomplishments of student athletes, and CSU’s shared commitment to those goals makes this program an ideal fit. I’m proud to lead this team of incredible women to victory.”

Irvin has broad coaching experience at both the collegiate and high school levels, and he has deep ties to basketball in the Chicago area as a former star high school player. Irvin comes to CSU most recently from Chicago’s Morgan Park High School where he served as varsity boys assistant basketball coach and dean of students. His previous collegiate experience includes men’s associate head basketball coach at Southern Illinois University and assistant coach at Southern Methodist University, University of Missouri, Texas A&M University, Iowa State University and Loyola University. Throughout his career, Irvin has helped several players reach the NBA, including Jackson Vroman (Iowa State), Paul McPherson (DePaul), Antoine Wright and Acie Law (Texas A&M). He has also coached several stand-outs, including Tommy Kleinschmidt (DePaul), Brandon Cole (DePaul), Brian Mullins and Kevin Dillard (SIUC), Billy Garrett, Jr. (Morgan Park-DePaul), Cal Davis (Morgan Park-Dayton-Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Charlie Moore (Morgan Park-Kansas), Josh Cunningham (Morgan Park-Dayton) and Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park-University of Illinois).

“I couldn’t be happier to be joining Chicago State University as head coach of the men’s basketball team, which is a tremendous group of athletes ready to make their mark,” Irvin said. “This is an exciting time to join CSU, and I look forward to helping this team unlock its potential and achieve great things for the school and the city of Chicago.”

“Lance and Misty have impressive histories of building strong relationships with their student athletes and inspiring them to overcome adversity,” said Zorich. “This is the first step in building a world-class athletics program that creates leaders both on and off the court, and I can’t think of two better people for the job than Lance and Misty.”

The women’s basketball team kicks off its 2018-19 season on November 7th at Xavier University (Ohio) while the men’s team makes its season debut November 6th at Indiana University. For more information or to purchase tickets visit the school’s official website at

Coach Opat and Coach Irvin will host a press conference this Wednesday (August 8th) at noon in the lobby of the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center on CSU’s campus – 9501 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60628.

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