If you’ve attended a Lake Superior State men’s basketball game inside the Bud Cooper Gymnasium this season, you’ll notice a common theme: A Lakers victory.
LSSU has put together another stellar 2017-18 campaign under head coach Steve Hettinga, finishing off the regular season 22-6 overall, 15-4 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and a perfect 11-0 on their home floor.
On Feb.28, the Lakers topped rival Grand Valley, 73-65, in the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals in front a home crowd of nearly 800 to advance to the GLIAC Semifinals. Lakers bested Michigan Tech in the semi-final 70-56, prior to falling to No. 1 seed Ferris State in the GLIAC championship game, 69-61. Laker men now have a bid in the NCAA Northwest Region as the No. 4 seed. They will return to Wink Arena at the home of No. 1 seed Ferris State to tip off against No. 5 Hillsdale on March 10.
Over the last decade, the Lake State basketball program has enjoyed a consistent run of success under Hettinga’s leadership, prompting Lake Superior State President Peter Mitchell and first-year Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson to extend his current contract in December, adding four years and an expanded role as the Assistant Athletic Director.
“It’s exciting to know that (LSSU) is invested into our program and specifically myself,” said Hettinga. “It certainly gives more stability to us when we’re going out and recruiting and letting kids know that we’re going to be here for a while.
I’m very thankful to Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Paitson for having the confidence in me to run this program. I feel very privileged and honored to be here.Steve Hetting, Head Coach and Assistant Athletic Director
Hettinga, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the of the program, is the winningest coach in school history, amassing a 200-118 record. He has led the Lakers to three NCAA National Tournament appearances and two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference regular season titles (2014-15, 2015-16).
“We are looking forward to having Steve continue to lead the Lakers basketball program,” said Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson. “Steve is a successful and highly respected leader within the department, Lake Superior State and in the Sault Ste. Marie community. As part of his expanded duties as Assistant Athletic Director we will lean on Steve’s experience and leadership to serve as a mentor to our young coaching staff.”
In his expanded role, Hettinga will take on several responsibilities including game administration, coach mentoring and facility scheduling. Mentoring will be a crucial aspect going forward as LSSU Athletics welcomes nine new coaches to the staff in the 2017-18 season.
“I really like the passion that our new coaches have,” Hettinga said. “I see it in their workouts, I see it in their dedication to their individual sports. I’ve always thought that iron sharpens iron and these new coaches are working really hard to be successful.”
“The success is going to come for them. I’m excited to see our other programs have that success because they will have earned it through their preparation and work ethic”
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, Hettinga was also a finalist for the Clarence Gaines Award, which goes to the nation’s top Division II men’s basketball coach.