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College Sports

Women's basketball: USF names Brooks new head coach

New St. Francis women's basketball coach Steve Brooks.
New St. Francis women's basketball coach Steve Brooks.

JOLIET – Steve Brooks, the fifth-winningest active coach in NAIA Division II, has been named the new head women’s basketball coach at the University of St. Francis, director of athletics Dave Laketa announced Wednesday.

Brooks replaces Samantha Quigley Smith, the new head coach at Lewis. He comes to Joliet after an 18-year stint at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he won two NAIA Division II national championships (2006-07, 2012-13) and one NCCAA national title (2001-2002). He holds an overall record of 469-133 and has been awarded five national coach of the year awards.

“Coach Brooks boasts quite the winning pedigree on the basketball court, but what impressed the committee the most was how he developed champions off the court, in the classroom and in the community,” Laketa said. “He built teams the right way, and the student-athletes came out better because of it.

“Of his former players and colleagues that I talked to, they first brought up his character and the man he is before discussing the coach he is. That told me a lot about the person Steve is and how great a fit he would be for our program.”

The graduation rate of Brooks’ teams at Indiana Wesleyan was 100 percent for the players who played in the program all four years. He also led eight service trips with his teams.

“First of all, I want to thank Dave Laketa, Dr. Arvid Johnson, Damon Sloan and the entire search committee for conducting the search process in a first-class way and for making me feel welcomed,” Brooks said. “I am extremely excited to take over an outstanding program that accomplished so much under coach Samantha Quigley Smith’s leadership.

“I hope to take what she built, keep the momentum going and sustain a women’s basketball program that the university can be proud of for its performance on the court, dedication in the classroom and contributions in the community.”

Brooks’ teams at Indiana Wesleyan were especially dominant in the late 2000s, setting many NAIA women’s basketball records highlighted by his 2006-07 squad becoming the first NAIA national champion to go undefeated (38-0). The program also posted an NAIA record 56 consecutive wins between 2006 and 2008, and was ranked No. 1 for 37 straight weeks during that run, the most of any NAIA Division II program.

On the national stage, Brooks holds a 25-12 record at the NAIA National Championships with his IWU teams reaching the national tournament in 14 consecutive seasons between 2002 and 2016.

At the conference level, Brooks’ Wildcats won 78 percent of their Crossroads League/Mid-Central College Conference games (212-61) while claiming 10 regular-season league crowns and another six tournament championships. Seven times he was named the conference coach of the year.

During his tenure at Indiana Wesleyan, Brooks coached 15 NAIA All-Americans, 22 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and 25 all-conference players. He also was recognized with the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Athletic Director’s Award at the Marion, Indiana-based school.

Previous to Indiana Wesleyan, Brooks served two stints as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Taylor University (1983-86, 1993-99) and seven years as the head men’s basketball coach at Houghton College from 1986-93. He also coached for two seasons as an assistant boys basketball coach at Liberty Benton High School in Findlay, Ohio.

Brooks did his undergraduate work at Taylor, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in religion. He also has a master’s in ministerial leadership from Indiana Wesleyan and a master’s in physical education from Ball State University.

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