Former stars wrap up coaching season
Three ex-Greenwave players saw mixed results on the college coaching circuit this past winter.
Third-year Central Washington coach Shawn Nelson and first-year Miles City Community College coach Liz Lewis didn’t have the season they hoped for as both of their teams struggled throughout the season, especially in conference play. Riley Orozco, though, who served as an assistant at Cal State Bakersfield, saw the Roadrunners struggle as well, but they produced an All-American at the Division I Championships earlier this month.
After resurrecting Carroll College’s women basketball team, Nelson has been spending the past three seasons trying to do the same at Central Washington, a Division II school.
In his three seasons, Nelson hasn’t seen much improvement in the win column as the Wildcats finished this year with a 7-19 (2-16 league) record after mirroring the previous two years with 9-17 records. Central Washington went through a dry spell at the end of January with 10-straight losses before snapping the streak with a 74-58 win over Western Oregon. The Wildcats lost their home and regular-season finale to Saint Martin’s, 59-52.
Lewis, who was an assistant under Nelson when he first arrived in Washington, earned her first coaching gig this season in Montana leading Miles City.
The Pioneers nearly broke even in Lewis’ first year, finishing at 14-17, including 5-11 in the North sub-region of Region IX. They advanced to the playoffs with a seventh-place finish but fell to Otero Junior College, 77-66.
Miles City finished the first half of the season strong with an 11-7 record after an 82-72 win over Western Wyoming College on Jan. 10. The Pioneers, though, dropped 10 of their last 13 games.
Orozco completed his third season as an assistant coach at his alma matter after qualifying for the NCAA tournament all four years, including a Pac-12 championship in his junior season.
The Roadrunners had a rocky season but capped it off on a high note.
Bakersfield finished in second-to-last place in the Pac-12 Championships, but Bryce Hammond took eighth at the NCAA Championships to garner All-American status. The Roadrunners finished 47th out of 72 teams at the national tournament.