Carlsen will help Huskies succeed


Lisa Carlsen, women’s basketball head coach, and Athletics Director Sean Frazier pose with a Huskie jersey Tuesday at a press conference. Carlsen joins the Huskies from Lewis University, where she coached since 2007.

By Chris Loggins

With the lack of recent success for women’s basketball, a coach with a great history of winning can only be a positive step in the right direction for the program.

Women’s basketball finally ended its search for a new head coach, hiring Lisa Carlsen to take over the reigns of the team. The search lasted just over two months after the resignation of Kathi Bennett on April 29.

Carlsen spent the past eight years at Lewis University, piling up an illustrious record and reputation as a coach. She is the winningest women’s basketball coach in the history of the program, compiling a 148-89 record in her tenure.

In her final season at Lewis, Carlsen led the Flyers to a 31-3 record. She also went on to win the 2014-15 WBCA Division II Coach of the Year.

The decision to leave a great situation behind may ultimately be due to the move from Division II to Division I. While Carlsen was piling up wins the last eight seasons, the Huskies only managed a 92-145 record, almost the complete opposite.

The Huskies haven’t finished a season at .500 since 2008-09 when they went 15-15, and haven’t had a winning record since 2006-07 when they went 19-12. Carlsen seems to have great confidence in helping turn the tide for NIU.

“It’s time for NIU to take the next step, to fight for the MAC Championship and make the postseason,” Carlsen said at a Tuesday press conference. “I think all the pieces are in place for it to happen.”

Carlsen’s Lewis team came to DeKalb and defeated the Huskies last year, picking up a 60-49 win in the first game of the season.

All signs point to a big shift in the culture of women’s basketball at NIU but Carlsen will have a lot of work on her hands and a ton of pressure going forward. She’s moved to a higher division of basketball and taken over a team that desperately needed her help.

Only time will tell how great of a move this was — and it will be graded strictly on how well the team does in her tenure.