Central Michigan announced that Heather Oesterle has been named the 12th head coach of the women’s basketball program.
Oesterle has served on the CMU coaching staff for the past nine seasons, including the last seven as the associate head coach. She takes over for Sue Guevara, who retired this week after 12 seasons.
A press conference will be held in the John G. Kulhavi Events Center North concourse at 1:30 p.m. today. The event is open to the public.
“Having the opportunity to see Heather in action the past couple of years, once Sue let me know her plans, it was clear to me that Heather was the right person for this job,” Zyzelewski Family Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Michael Alford said. “She has helped build this program and understands the responsibility of this position. During our discussions the past few days, she presented a thorough plan on how she will lead us through this transition and continue to push this program forward. Replacing a legend is never easy but I feel Heather is definitely up to the task.”
Oesterle has been a part of tremendous success at CMU, helping the program win three Mid-American Conference championships, two MAC Tournament titles, and four MAC West Division crowns. CMU has gone to the NCAA Tournament three times during her tenure, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2018.
“This is a great honor and I couldn’t be more excited to lead this program,” Oesterle said. “I want to thank President Davies and AD Alford for this opportunity. I appreciate their belief in me and my vision for this program. One of the most important things I learned from Coach Guevara is that it takes everyone working together to reach the high goals we have, and I am confident that everyone associated with this program will continue to do that.
“I also want to thank Coach Guevara for everything she has done for me, I would not be here without her. She has been a tremendous mentor and has prepared me for this amazing opportunity.”
During Oesterle’s time on the staff, the Chippewas have won at least 20 games eight times and have made eight postseason appearances. Player development has been a key part of her tenure, helping Reyna Frost, Tinara Moore and Crystal Bradford earn MAC Player of the Year honors.
She also worked closely with Kaihla Szunko, who became the first player in MAC history to finish with 1,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds, and at least 200 career steals; and with Taylor Johnson, who became the first player in CMU history to twice earn MAC Sixth Player of the Year honors.
Oesterle brought seven years of experience in the MAC when she joined Guevara’s staff prior to the 2010-11 season. She served as an assistant at Northern Illinois from 2008-10, and at Miami (Ohio) from 2003-08.
At NIU, Oesterle worked as the recruiting coordinator, with the team’s guards, on offensive game planning and was the program’s summer camps director. At Miami, she worked with all five positions during her tenure, handled the travel arrangements, and the summer skills camps. She also created and organized the Miami FastBreak Booster Club.
Oesterle served as a volunteer assistant coach at Stanford in 2002-03, helping the Cardinal to a 27-5 finish, the Pac 10 regular-season and tournament titles, and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Prior to joining the staff at Stanford, Oesterle was a four-year contributor at Michigan during Guevara’s tenure as the Wolverines’ head coach.
Oesterle served as Michigan’s team captain in 2001-02 and was honored with the program’s Leadership Award following her senior season. She helped the Wolverines to a four-year record of 76-45 (.628) that included two NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Michigan in 2002 and her masters in sports studies from Miami in 2008.