Thousand named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan University has named Casey Thousand as its new head women’s basketball coach. Thousand returns to the NMU sideline after serving as assistant coach from 2016-18 and associate head coach in 2018-19. For the past three seasons, Thousand has served as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). 

“Casey is detail-oriented and brings a complete understanding of what it takes to be successful at the NCAA DII level,” said NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr. “Everyone who has worked with Casey mentions her honesty, integrity and positive attitude. Casey has a caring way of addressing issues and helping others overcome challenges. She sees the bigger picture, prioritizes academics and always goes above and beyond to support other teams and volunteer at university events. I trust her to take care of NMU student-athletes.”

While at UIS, Thousand led the Prairie Stars to an improved record each season. UIS had an overall mark of 17-11 in 2021-22, its best overall season in 23 seasons with a program-record 11 wins in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). Hosting and winning a first-round GLVC tournament game, defeating Division I Bradley University on the road, and seeing two student-athletes recognized on the All-GLVC teams were among the other notable accomplishments for the Prairie Stars this past season with Thousand at the helm. UIS’ leading scorer Lauren Ladowski improved each season under Thousand, going from All-GLVC Third Team in 2019-20, to Second Team in 2020-21, to First Team honors this past season. 

In her three years at UIS, Thousand’s teams saw success on the hardwood and in the classroom. In 2019-20, the Prairie Stars had 10 GLVC Academic All-Conference honorees with a team grade point average (GPA) of 3.56, the best in program history. In 2020-21, UIS had eight student-athletes earn GLVC Academic All-Conference recognition. 

“I am so excited to be back at NMU!” said Casey Thousand. “I would like to thank Forrest Karr and Bridget Kyle along with the entire search committee for all of the hard work that goes into the hiring process. I am grateful for the opportunity to take over the successful tradition of the Wildcats. 

“I graciously thank my family and inner circle of people who continue to assist me in my journey of life. I cannot wait to reconnect with so many great people in the Marquette area, the alumni, and the NMU community. I am thrilled to be back in the Berry and to start working with the team. LET’S GO WILDCATS!”

Before her head coach position at UIS, Thousand spent three seasons working with Troy Mattson at NMU. In those campaigns, the Wildcats went 55-36. In 2018-19, NMU was 23-10, reaching the GLIAC Championship game and making a run to the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals. Thousand’s duties while at NMU included leading student-athletes on and off the court, developing and implementing fundraising activities, managing the program’s budgets, running camps and clinics, scouting opponents, and breaking down game film. 

On top of her coaching duties, Thousand served as an adjunct professor in Northern’s Department of Health and Human Performance from 2016-19 and was the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) supervisor from 2018-19. 

Prior to her time in Marquette, Thousand was the head coach at Division III Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. From 2009-16, Edgewood compiled a 74-57 record in Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference games with 15 all-conference accolades and four conference tournament appearances. 

Thousand was formerly an assistant coach at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin from 2006-09 where the team went 51-28 over those three seasons. In the 2005-06 season, Thousand was an assistant at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois where the team boasted a 26-3 record. 

Thousand graduated from Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Facility Management and a minor in Business. She earned her Masters of Education with an emphasis in leadership from Carthage College in 2009. In 2021, Thousand completed her Women in Leadership Certification at Cornell University in Springfield, Illinois. 

A four-year all-conference player at Lakeland College, Thousand was a standout performer and natural leader, guiding the team to an undefeated conference season and an NCAA Tournament berth in her senior year. 

Northern Michigan University Athletics will hold an introductory Zoom conference call on Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 a.m. ET. Casey Thousand and NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr will be available to the media for questions. 

Photo Courtesy NMU Athletics

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