CHICAGO – Chicago State today announced the selection of Misty Opat and Lance Irvin as the new women's and men's basketball head coaches.
"Throughout their careers, both coaches have demonstrated a commitment to inspiring their teams to achieve excellence on and off the court, making them the ideal additions to the CSU family as we commit to strengthening the school's athletic and academic programs," said Chris Zorich, Chicago State Athletic Director. "Lance and Misty have impressive histories of building strong relationships with their student-athletes and inspiring them to overcome adversity. This is the first step in building a world-class athletics program that creates leaders both on and off the court, and I can't think of two better people for the job."
Opat comes to CSU most recently from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., where she led her team to victory in four of the last seven National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III National Championships. She also brings seven years of experience at the NCAA Division I level, including assisting Kansas to two Big 12 Conference championships and two NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances.
Opat was named Spalding NJCAA Division III National Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year six times, the Region IV Coach of the Year seven times and the District 2 Coach of the Year five times.
"I'm thrilled to be joining Chicago State University as head coach of the women's basketball team, which is a hidden gem in an incredible basketball city," Opat says. "I have always focused equally on the athletic achievements and academic accomplishments of student athletes, and CSU's shared commitment to those goals makes this program an ideal fit. I'm proud to lead this team of incredible women to victory."
Irvin has broad coaching experience at both the collegiate and high school levels, and he has deep ties to basketball in the Chicago area as a former star high school player. Irvin comes to CSU most recently from Chicago's Morgan Park High School where he served as varsity boys assistant basketball coach and dean of students.
His previous collegiate experience includes associate head coach at Southern Illinois and assistant coach at Southern Methodist, Missouri, Texas A&M, Iowa State and Loyola.
"I couldn't be happier to be joining Chicago State University as head coach of the men's basketball team, which is a tremendous group of athletes ready to make their mark," Irvin said. "This is an exciting time to join CSU, and I look forward to helping this team unlock its potential and achieve great things for the school and the city of Chicago."
The men's basketball team kicks off its 2018-19 season Nov. 6 at Indiana, while the women's team makes its season debut on Nov. 7 at Xavier (Ohio).