HOT: Wisconsin-La Crosse Head Women’s basketball Coach Lois Heeren Resigns

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse head women’s basketball coach Lois Heeren has announced she is stepping down as the Eagles’ coach after completing her 17th season in 2015-16. Heeren will continue to teach in UWL’s Exercise and Sport Science Department.

“It has been a privilege working with outstanding student-athletes over the past 17 years on the women’s basketball team,” said Heeren. “I am proud of their success on and off the court as well as their commitment to community service throughout the years, including Kid’s Night Out, the Veterans Day Breakfast, Rotary Lights, Riverfront and visiting local nursing homes.  I want to also thank the student-athletes for their involvement with our camps and clinics.”

UWL finished 7-18 overall and 1-13 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in 2015-16.

The 14th head coach in school history, Heeren is UWL’s winningest coach with 209 career victories. Before taking over as interim head coach in 1999-2000, Heeren served as an assistant at UWL during the 1998-99 season.

“I would like to thank former Exercise and Sport Science Department Chair Dr. Sandy Price, and former Athletic Director Joe Baker for giving me the opportunity to teach and coach in their respective areas,” said Heeren.  “I am exceedingly grateful to our fans, alumni, and supporters of women’s basketball for their tremendous support over the past 17 years.”

A total of 33 All-WIAC selections were earned under Heeren at UWL, including 18 first team choices.  The Eagles’ Mackenzie Hunter was named the 2008-09 WIAC Player of the Year and earned 2008-09 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and Honorable Mention All-America accolades.

Heeren led the Eagles to an at-large bid to the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Tournament, marking UWL’s first appearance in the national championships since 1987-88.  UWL finished 20-8 in 2010-11, its most victories since going 22-7 in 1987-88.  The Eagles also tied a school record for most WIAC wins with a 12-4 campaign in 2010-11.  UWL tied for second in the league in 2010-11, its best finish since a second-place showing in 1987-88.

She recorded her 200th career victory in UWL’s 73-69 win at UW-Oshkosh January 19, 2011.  Heeren picked up her 200th victory at UWL in the Eagles’ 52-36 win over UW-Stout February 4, 2015.

Named the 2005-06 WIAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading UWL to a 19-8 overall and 9-7 conference mark, Heeren recorded six overall winning campaigns in the last 11 seasons.  The Eagles hosted a 2006 WIAC Tournament Quarterfinal for the first time in school history and appeared in the WIAC semifinals for the first time.

She ranks ninth in WIAC history in victories.

“I would like to thank Coach Heeren for her service to the women’s basketball program and our athletic department,” said UWL Director of Athletics Kim Blum. “Lois is a very hard worker and is very dedicated to the team.  I wish her all the best.”

A native of Greene, Iowa, Heeren served two seasons as an assistant coach at the United States Air Force Academy before returning to the Midwest to become an assistant at UWL.  She had two prior collegiate heading coaching stints.  Heeren coached at NCAA Division III Saint Mary’s University (Minn.) for three seasons (1993-96) and at NCAA Division II Truman State University, formerly Northeast Missouri State, for three years (1989-92).  In her first season at Saint Mary’s (Minn.), she led the Cardinals to their best overall and conference record in five years.  In Heeren’s second year at Truman State, the Lady Dogs posted their first winning season in 10 years, finished fourth in the conference and made their first postseason tournament appearance in four years.

Other collegiate coaching experience includes a year as an assistant at NCAA Division I Southwest Texas State University in 1991-92 and as an assistant at UW-River Falls from 1987-89.  In addition, she has instructed at several camps and clinics around the country.  Heeren has coached USA Athletes International in tournaments and friendly games in Australia, Belgium, Italy, London, and Paris.

Heeren is a 1984 graduate of Truman State University and her earned her master’s degree in the Administration of Fitness/Wellness Programs from the University of Iowa in 1986.

“We will launch the search for our next women’s basketball coach as soon as possible,” said Blum.

Photo Courtesy UWL Athletics

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