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The all-time winningest coach in Lake Superior State University men's basketball program history, Steve Hettinga completed his 12th season at the helm in 2018-19.
Hettinga, who became the 13th head coach in LSSU’s 62-year men’s basketball history on July 1, 2007, has compiled a 218-132 coaching mark with the Lakers.
Hettinga, who has guided the Lakers to four NCAA Tournament appearances, was promoted to assistant director of athletics in August 2014. His LSSU teams have been victorious in each of their four NCAA Tournament Appearances, winning their first-round contest every time en route to producing a 4-4 NCAA Tournament record.
A native of Three Oaks, Mich., Hettinga was named the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Lakers to a school-record tying 27 wins in 2013-14 and a GLIAC regular-season title. He was also a finalist for the Clarence Gaines Award, which goes to the nation's top NCAA Division II men's basketball coach. The Lakers followed their historic 2013-14 season with a 26-7 record in 2014-15 and their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
In 2014-15 the Lakers repeated as GLIAC regular-season champions after posting a 26-7 record and earned their second consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. That team featured All-GLIAC First Team members Alex Williams and Tony Harris as seniors. Harris also joined then-freshman Akaemji Williams as the Lakers' honorees on the All-GLIAC Defensive Team.
In 2013-14, Hettinga shattered LSSU's men's basketball career coaching wins record of 106 that was set by Jack Brighton (1963-70). The Lakers graduated All-GLIAC and All-Midwest Region First Team guard Derek Billing, who was a four-year starter, and All-GLIAC First Team center Cameron Metz. Billing was also a Capital One Academic All-America Second Team honoree and a two-time GLIAC Commissioner's Award winner. Billing finished fifth in career scoring and first in career three-point field goals at LSSU.
In 2012-13, LSSU won four of its last six games and reached the GLIAC Tournament finals for the second time in school history and the first time under Hettinga. Billing and All-GLIAC Second Team forward Derek Kinney led the team, which finished 16-13. Kinney became the first Laker since 2005 to total more than 650 career rebounds.
Three-time All-GLIAC Second Team guard Kyle Hunt led the Lakers through an 11-15 season in 2011-12. He scored 1,024 points and totaled 321 assists during his four seasons as a Laker, which included two winning seasons and one .500 finish (62-50 four-year mark).
In 2009-10, LSSU was led by four-year starting guards Scott Perkins and Garrett Konuszewski, who earned All-GLIAC First Team and GLIAC All-Defensive Team honors, respectively. Perkins earned the GLIAC Commissioner’s Award was one of 20 finalists from all sports and all divisions for the John Wooden Citizens Cup.
Led by All-Great Lakes Region First Team forward Tim VanOudheusden and All-GLIAC First Team center Ryan Kuhl, the 2008-09 Lakers won the GLIAC North Division title, finished 22-9 overall and earned the second NCAA Tournament berth in the program’s history. With an impressive inside/outside attack, LSSU led the nation in three-point field-goal percentage (.431) and was ranked fourth nationally in assist/turnover ratio (1.43).
In 2007-08, during Hettinga’s first season at LSSU, the Lakers recovered from an 0-7 start and went 12-9 the rest of the way to finish 12-16. The Lakers ended the regular season with four-straight wins, including conference road victories at Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech. LSSU advanced to the GLIAC Tournament for the first time since 2001 and reached the tournament semifinals for the first time since 1996.
After serving four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Olivet College, Hettinga became one of the nation’s youngest head coaches when he took over the Comets men’s basketball program in 1997. Olivet finished 5-20 during his first season in 1997-98, but posted back-to-back 15-10 records during the next two years for its first winning seasons since 1982.
Hettinga departed Olivet after 11 seasons and served as head coach of the IBL’s Grand Rapids Flight in 2004-05. The Flight were 15-5 during their inaugural season, and Hettinga was named IBL West Coach of the Year.
In 2006-07, Hettinga was head coach at MacMurray College, a Division III institution with an enrollment of 700 students located in Jacksonville, Ill. A team that finished seventh in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference prior to his arrival, finished 14-4 for its best record in two decades and won the SLIAC title during his first season.Hettinga was named SLIAC Coach of the Year.
Hettinga quickly embraced Sault Ste. Marie’s unique attributes and seeks the right kind of players who will thrive at Lake Superior State.
“We look for great student-athletes and high-character kids who fit in with the philosophy of what we want to do,” Hettinga said. “We want this to be a family atmosphere. We want to find our own niche, and get that type of kid."
“The faculty here is great, and there are so many positives at LSSU. We can offer some things that other schools can’t, and we want to focus on that...The reality is that people are drawn to winners and want to be a part of something special. It’s up to us to make sure that happens.”
Hettinga, a 1993 graduate of Olivet, earned an M.A. in teaching from Olivet in 2003. He is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
Hettinga's collegiate coaching career record currently stands at 314-238 following the 2018-19 season.
- Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Award recipient, 2013-14 and 2014-15
|Hettinga’s Coaching Record At Lake Superior State|
|2007-08||Lake Superior State||12-16||.429||8-10||.444||T2nd-North||(1-1)|
|2008-09||Lake Superior State||22-9||.709||17-5||.773||1st-North||(1-1)|
|2009-10||Lake Superior State||14-14||.500||12-10||.545||4th-North||(0-1)|
|2010-11||Lake Superior State||15-12||.556||9-10||.474||T4th-North||(0-1)|
|2011-12||Lake Superior State||11-15||.423||6-13||.316||T5th-North||(0-0)|
|2012-13||Lake Superior State||16-13||.552||11-11||.500||6th-North||(2-1)|
|2013-14||Lake Superior State||27-6||.818||18-5||.783||1st-North||(0-1)|
|2014-15||Lake Superior State||26-7||.788||18-4||.818||1st-North||(2-1)|
|2015-16||Lake Superior State||19-10||.655||14-8||.636||2nd-North||(0-1)|
|2016-17||Lake Superior State||16-10||.615||13-8||.619||T2nd-North||(0-1)|
|2017-18||Lake Superior State||25-8||.758||16-4||.800||2nd||(2-1)|
|2018-19||Lake Superior State||15-12||.556||11-9||.550||4th-North||(0-1)|
|LSSU Career||12 Seasons||218-132||.623||153-97||.612||—||(8-11)|
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