Search committee announced for coach replacement

Cody Boyer

Following the nonrenewal of the men’s basketball coach contract, NMU Athletic Director Forrest Karr announced the members of the search committee leading the search for Lewis’s replacement.

On Tuesday, April 2, Karr named 14 committee members to conduct the search for the new coach of the men’s team. The committee includes seven community members, four NMU staff members and three NMU faculty members.

Karr said the choices for the search committee reach the goal that he was aiming to reach following the contract announcement.

“My goal was to have the people on the committee be a diverse group representing the Marquette community, as well as the Upper Peninsula and the campus athletic department,” Karr said. “We came up with eight females and six males as a representation of several school districts in the Upper Peninsula.”

Included amongst the community members of the committee are Doug Ingalls, Matt Wonders, Gordy LeDuc, Karla McCutcheon, Bill Saunders, Ben Smith and Dan Viitala. Committee members made up of NMU faculty members include Carol Johnson, Julie Rochester and Suzanne Williams.

NMU staff members on the committee are Mary Jane Tremethick, Jess Jones, Brandon Sager and Troy Mattson.

Tremethick is the head of the health, physical education and recreation department and Jones is the NMU Foundation director of donor relations and Stewardship. Sager is the assistant director for facilities in Engineering and Planning while also serving as a member of the NMU Athletic Council. Mattson is the current NMU women’s basketball coach.

“It’s important for the university to interact with and connect with former student athletes, as well as people who are involved with coaching sports in the Upper Peninsula,” Karr said. “That’s what we tried to do with this committee and I think it is a great group. I’m very confident in their ability to assess the candidates and look at it from a critical point of view. They will help us find the right fit to be the leader of our men’s basketball program.”

Making up the community members on the board, Doug Ingalls is an alum of the men’s basketball team, as well as a basketball coach at LaSalle High School in St. Ignace, Mich and a middle school teacher. Matt Wonders is currently a teacher in Iron Mountain, Mich. and is also an NMU basketball alum.

LeDuc is a retired public school teacher while also a member of the NMU Sports Hall of Fame and a former NMU volunteer basketball coach. McCutcheon currently teaches in the Marquette public school system. McCutcheon also formerly worked as a high school basketball coach and participated as an NMU women’s basketball student-athlete.

Saunders is the current principal at Bothwell Middle School and a member of the Gus Macker Hall-of-Fame.

Smith is the current girls basketball coach at Marquette Senior High School while also serving as a teacher and Viitala is the director of sales for the U.S. division of Bombardier Recreational Products. Viitala also formerly participated as a men’s basketball student-athlete.

Amongst the NMU faculty members, Johnson is a College of Business instructor and a member of the NMU Athletic Council. Rochester is the Director of Athletic Training and an NCAA faculty athletics representative. Williams teaches at NMU as a chemistry professor.

Karr said the next step during the search for a new coach is already underway.

“We are meeting [on Wednedsay, April 10] at 5:15 p.m. at the Superior Dome conference room and plan to meet for about two hours,” Karr said. “Each committee member has sent me their top 16 candidates and we had 98 applicants. We will get together and talk about as a group, while everyone will have the opportunity to discuss why they support their candidates.”

According to a tentative timeline on NMU Press Box, a hiring announcement for Lewis’s replacement may be announced as soon as early May. The committee will be conducting interviews from mid to late April following a review of the candidates.

“The next stage will be the Skype interview stage,” Karr said. “We are hoping to get the Skype interviews next week. That will probably take two days and, at that point, we will narrow it down even further and we will have the finalists brought to campus.”