POWELL, Wyo. - Three finalists hoping to become the next Northwest College women's basketball coach will be on campus next week. They each bring unique qualifications that are hard to compare as apples and apples, from the most winning high school coach in American history, to an experienced Region IX veteran, to a former Trapper player who scored a host of individual awards for her team.
Each will give a coaching demonstration from 2:30-4 p.m. in Cabre Gym the day they're scheduled to interview for the job. The public is invited to observe during the demonstrations and leave feedback about the candidates.
"With 82 applications for the position," NWC Athletic Director Jim Zeigler said, "we were in the enviable position of being able to narrow down our finalist list to just the cream of the crop. Our search committee has come up with three very different candidates. Each one brings their own individual and very special strength. The feedback we get about these three from the campus and community will help us decide which one is the best fit for Northwest."
David Houle from American Fork, Utah, is the first candidate. He'll be in Powell Tuesday, April 14. Called the "most winning high school coach in American history" by USA Today, Houle has racked up 68 state high school championships in five sports and posted a total win/loss record of 1,273-98 in those same sports - women's basketball, and men's and women's cross country and track. In 2002, he was given the honor of coaching the USA Women's Basketball Team against Beijing, China.
Houle currently coaches selected high-school-age basketball players from across the state of Utah on an elite club team that competes nationally. He settled into this role after taking an early retirement from a successful high school coaching career that landed him in four halls of fame with nearly 80 coaching awards, including the 2002 National High School Basketball Coach of the Year. Houle holds a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in economics from Southern Utah State College.
The second candidate, Lindsay Woolley, may be more familiar to Trapper boosters since he has crossed paths with the Trappers in the same Region IX circle. Woolley is in his first year as head coach of the Miles Community College Women's Basketball Team. He'll be on campus Wednesday, April 15.
"Lindsay Wooley is our only finalist with Region IX head coaching experience," Zeigler said. "Before stepping up to head coach, he was the MCC Lady Pioneers assistant coach and still serves as assistant coach for the men's team. This combined experience gives him a familiarity with the ins and outs of recruiting and coaching in the Rocky Mountain region." In addition to a bachelor's degree in mathematics with secondary education certification from the University of Montana-Missoula, Woolley is pursuing a master's degree in human performance and physical education through Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo.
Janis Beal, the third candidate, has even closer ties to Northwest. A Lovell High School valedictorian and former Trapper, she graduated with honors from NWC in 2003 before transferring to Southern Utah University to earn a bachelor's degree in physical education with coaching emphasis and a health education minor. She also holds a master's degree in human movement sport conditioning from A.T. Still University in Mesa, Ariz.
"Janis cut her teeth in college athletics at Northwest," Zeigler said. "She already understands the sports ethic at work here and would be right at home. Her list of accomplishments and all-team awards as a Trapper reads like a who's who in college basketball. Beyond her potential coaching abilities, she has already been a role model for NWC student athletes." Currently an assistant coach at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, Beal will be on the NWC campus Thursday, April 16.
Each candidate has a fully scheduled day in Powell, which includes an opportunity to tour campus and to get to know a few Trapper Booster Club members over dinner.
NWC's national search for a women's basketball coach was launched after Chad Oletzke announced in January that he would resign from the position in May after completing his fifth year.