“Brandon represents the vibrant energy that permeates Laker athletics,” said former Lake Superior State President, Dr. Peter Mitchell. “His passion for the game and his dedication to his players’ success on the court and in the classroom are emblematic of LSSU’s commitment to excellence. We look forward to a long and successful tenure for Brandon as our women’s basketball coach.”
Lokken, who was tabbed the 12th head coach program in history on an interim status last June, has fully embraced the rebuilding process of the women’s basketball program since taking the reins and has fostered noticeable improvement during his first season.
“This extension gives me the opportunity to continue working with our great group of athletes and coaches which is something I am very excited for,” said Lokken. “I want to thank Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Paitson for the opportunity to continue leading this program.”
After implementing a new system with a roster featuring 10 underclassmen, the Laker women showed steady improvement throughout the 2017-18 season highlighted by late-season conference wins over Saginaw Valley and Purdue Northwest after falling to each team earlier in the season.
“Our first year with the program was focused on changing the culture,” Lokken said. “Every day the girls and the coaching staff were committed to growing and moving forward in the right direction. When I reflect on the first year there is a lot of positive to take away.
“As a team, we improved dramatically from the beginning of the season to the end. Not only with our performance in the games but our work ethic and the way we competed in practice. We are committed to the process of getting better every day and seeing our girls bring that attitude to offseason workouts has our staff very optimistic for the future.”
With upperclassman Courtney Jacobsen, Claire Radtke and Lexie Khon returning to the lineup next year along with key underclassman contributors such as Jenna Gregory, Rebecca Villanueva and Taylor Bryant, Lokken’s group is poised to build upon its late-season momentum heading into the 2018-19 campaign.
“The progression of improvement made on the court from the beginning of the season to the end was evident,” said Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson. “The team embraced the philosophy and direction outlined by Coach Lokken and the women’s basketball coaching staff and the results showed up on the court.
“Now, with one year of head coaching experience under his belt, I expect Brandon to continue to grow into the role and lead the woman’s basketball program back to success.”
Lokken’s ties to the Lake State basketball program date back to his time as an undergrad where he served as a student manager under men’s head coach, Steve Hettinga for four seasons.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Lake State in 2011, Lokken joined the Goshen (Ind.) College men’s basketball coaching staff for two seasons (2012-13 & 2013-14) serving as the JV head coach and interim head coach for half a season.
Lokken rejoined the LSSU men’s basketball staff during the 2014-15 season serving as Hettinga’s second assistant and JV coach before being promoted to top assistant in 2015-16.
Lokken played a vital role during LSSU’s impressive era with Hettinga, who recently finished his 11th season at LSSU. The Flushing, Mich., native was a student manager when the Lakers won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division title in 2008-09, and was part of two of Hettinga’s four NCAA Tournament appearances.
With the extension, Lokken joins Hettinga and hockey coach Damon Whitten Laker head coaches to receive multi-year extensions this season under the leadership of Dr. Paitson, who is presently in his first year as Director of Athletics.
“Our department has a great group of coaches and support staff right now. Everyone is working together to grow athletics at Lake State to a higher level than it has been in years past, “said Lokken. “Seeing other coaches that are passionate about Laker athletics and our university getting signed to extensions is great. The consistency will allow us to make big strides as a department.”