Aug 15, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips announced today that head women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown has been given a contract extension through 2017. In his five seasons at Northwestern, McKeown has helped transform the culture of women’s basketball, recruiting some of the top student-athletes in the country, guiding the squad to back-to-back postseason appearances, as well as numerous All-Big Ten honors, and made history in 2013 with the program’s first Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
“With 580 career victories to his name, Joe McKeown remains one of the most accomplished coaches in women’s college basketball as well as in our department,” Phillips said. “His teams are consistently recognized for their work in the classroom as CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees and Academic All-Big Ten recipients and have made a direct impact in the community. With the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year returning and two high school All-Americans joining a talented squad coming back for the 2013-14 season, we look forward to a very bright future that's ahead for the Northwestern women’s basketball program under Joe’s direction.”
"It is an honor to be part of the Northwestern family,” McKeown said. “People like President Schapiro and Dr. Phillips have ignited and energized our university and athletic department. I want to thank them, along with Janna Blais, for supporting the McKeown family and our program as we continue to grow. Our goal is the same as when I was hired; to recruit the top players in the country and provide them with a quality student-athlete experience during their time at Northwestern. It is great to be a Wildcat!"
The 27-year coaching veteran has accumulated 580 career wins and a .691 career winning percentage. In just his second season with the program, McKeown led the 2009-10 squad to an 11-win improvement, which was tied for the 10th best turnaround in the nation and ranked fourth among BCS schools. The success yielded NU’s first postseason appearance in 13 years and a ticket to the WNIT, which led to two victories and a trip to the event’s round of 16.
NU improved to 19 wins the following year and another postseason appearance in the WNIT. Combined, those two seasons yielded 37 victories, two postseason appearances and milestone victories over nationally-renown Ohio State, LSU and DePaul.
Last season, Maggie Lyon was named the consensus Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was one of four Wildcats to receive All-Big Ten honors along with Kendall Hackney, Dannielle Diamant and Karly Roser. In total, 18 All-Big Ten honors have been distributed to Northwestern players during McKeown’s five seasons with the squad.
A four-year All-Big Ten honoree, Amy Jaeschke became the first Wildcat to be selected in the WNBA Draft as she was the 27th pick overall by the Chicago Sky. Jaeschke turned in not only one of the best seasons in Wildcat annals, but also one of the most storied careers. In the Northwestern record books, she finished her career ranked first in blocks and second in scoring and in rebounding. Jaeschke also was tabbed an Associated Press honorable mention All-American, marking the first time since 1998 that a Wildcat appeared on the prestigious list.
McKeown and his staff continue to attract some of the top recruits in the country to Northwestern. Next year’s squad features a talented group of freshmen, which includes two high school All-Americans. Forward Nia Coffey, who recently won a gold medal with USA Basketball at the FIBA U19 World Championships, was selected as a WBCA and McDonalds All-American, while guard Christen Inman received WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors. Both incoming freshmen were ranked highly in their recruiting class as Coffey was tabbed the No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota and amongst the top 25 in the country while Inman came in at No. 2 for the state of Texas and in the top 65 nationwide.
Northwestern women’s basketball has consistently excelled in the classroom during McKeown’s tenure. In total, the Wildcats have accumulated 21 Academic All-Big Ten honors in the last five seasons. Recent graduate, forward Kendall Hackney, was three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, along with a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree all three seasons in which she was eligible for the award (sophomore-senior year). Last year, the women’s basketball program had one of the best winter quarter GPAs of the 19 Northwestern athletic programs.
McKeown’s Wildcats also are very active in the community, hosting the annual Field Trip Day game for local schools and consistently participate in events to promote autism awareness. The last four seasons, McKeown and the Wildcats dedicate a nonconference home game as an Autism Awareness Game at Welsh-Ryan Arena and regularly participate in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks at Soldier Field.
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