NSU gives Stoehr's, Burroughs contract extension - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

NSU gives Stoehr's, Burroughs contract extension

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NATCHITOCHES, LA (NSU Sports Information) -

Athletics director Greg Burke announced Thursday afternoon Northwestern State has agreed to multi-year contract extensions with coaches who have accomplished remarkable turnarounds in just their second seasons leading their programs, baseball coach Lane Burroughs and women's basketball co-head coaches Brooke and Scott Stoehr.

Burke lauded Burroughs, the Stoehrs and their staffs and players for revitalizing tradition-rich programs and creating championship cultures with impressive performances in recently-completed seasons. The privately-funded contract revisions are subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana system, which includes Northwestern.

"I'm very pleased to announce these agreements with our outstanding head coaches in baseball and women's basketball," said Burke, wrapping up his 18th year as athletics director as the longest-tenured AD in Louisiana and the Southland Conference.  "They have been wonderful additions to our athletic program and university community. They are important cogs in a progression that has developed a true family bond throughout our department, and a level of success competitively across the board that is arguably at an all-time high for us here at Northwestern State."

These contract extensions are the latest in a series of moves solidifying a highly-accomplished coaching staff at Northwestern State. Veteran men's basketball coach Mike McConathy , the state's all-time winningest college basketball coach, became the first NSU coach to receive a multi-year contract in 2006 and is under contract through 2018 with an automatic rollover for future years. Softball coach Donald Pickett, who has guided NSU to consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 75 wins in the past two seasons, last year received an extension for a multi-year deal through 2018, while volleyball co-head coaches Hugh and Stephanie Hernesman have a multi-year contract through 2016 and have posted the two best seasons in school history in 2012 and 2013 heading into a 2014 season in which NSU will host the Southland Conference Tournament with a senior-laden team that was three points shy of winning the tourney last year.

"We have great things going on throughout our athletic program, and among the biggest factors are the head coaches we have in every sport. These contract extensions shine the spotlight on two sports that have not only experienced rapid turnarounds, but have established the culture and competitive foundation for continued excellence and even more excitement in the seasons to come," Burke said. "Brooke and Scott Stoehr, Lane Burroughs and their coaching staffs are emblematic of our cornerstone values – academic achievement, personal responsibility and competitive success.

"Noting their attributes and accomplishments, we are demonstrating our long-term, strong commitment to these coaches and their programs, while at the same time using this occasion to celebrate the surge of success that we've enjoyed since last spring in NSU Athletics," said Burke.

Since the start of 2013, six Northwestern teams (2013 men's basketball, 2013 women's tennis, 2013 softball, 2014 women's basketball, 2014 women's tennis, 2014 softball) have won Southland Conference regular-season or tournament championships, with five advancing to NCAA Tournament play, while six track and field athletes have earned All-America honors with top 16 finishes at NCAA Championship meets in 2013 and 2014. The football team, under first-year coach Jay Thomas, posted its best record since 2008 and won three of its last four games, including a victory over nationally-ranked Central Arkansas. Women's soccer, in its second season under coach George Van Linder, posted the program's most victories since 2005 in Southland play last fall.

Burroughs' 2014 Demons, targeted for a 10th-place finish in the Southland Conference preseason coaches' poll, set a league record with the biggest one-season turnaround in Southland play, posting a 19-11 record for a 14-win improvement as NSU contended for the conference crown into the final weekend of the regular season before a third-place finish. Overall, the Demons finished 33-26, tying a school record for most improved record with 17 more wins than in Burroughs' rebuilding first season as head coach.

The Demons made big strides in the Southland Conference Tournament, picking up the program's first two league tourney victories since 2006, including knocking regular-season champion and NCAA Fort Worth Regional finalist Sam Houston State out of the tournament. NSU's only two losses came in a pair of ninth-inning defeats at the hands of tournament champion Southeastern Louisiana, one of only two of 10 Southland teams to win regular-season series with the Demons.

The Stoehrs were voted the Louisiana collegiate women's basketball coaches of the year following a 21-win season that carried the Lady Demons into the NCAA Tournament. After taking over a program that won just six games in 2012 and had only two Southland Conference victories, they steered a resurgence which carried NSU to 11 conference victories in 2013-14 and the first 20-win season (21-13) for NSU since 2004-05. That was accomplished with a team picked for eighth place in the preseason league coaches' poll.

The Lady Demons surged to the Southland Conference Tournament championship with nailbiting wins over fifth-seeded Nicholls State and regular-season co-champion Lamar before whipping top-seeded and regular-season co-champion Stephen F. Austin 62-44 in the finals.

They drew a first-round NCAA matchup with top-seeded Tennessee on the Lady Vols' homecourt in Knoxville, but were undaunted. With a starting five including three players who did not have another Division I scholarship offer, Northwestern State battled a Tennessee team with eight prep All-Americans to a virtual standoff for more than half the game, with a tie score shortly after halftime in an eventual  70-46 defeat.

Both women's basketball and baseball have shown impressive performance by student-athletes in the classroom, with team grade point averages soaring over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

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