BREAKING: Sue Guevara retires as Central Michigan head coach
The Sue Guevara era for the Central Michigan women’s basketball team is over.
Guevara has retired from coaching the Chippewas, sources close to the situation told Central Michigan Life. Heather Oesterle is the new head coach.
A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the Kulhavi Events Center where Guevara, Oesterle and CMU Athletic Director Michael Alford will field questions from the media.
Guevara, 65, was set to see her contract expire after the 2019-20 season.
“It is time,” Guevara said in a CMU Athletics press release posted at 10:01 a.m. “I have been leaning this way since the end of the season but wanted to separate myself from it a little bit to see if I felt the same way, and I do. I love Central Michigan so much – everything about it. When I came in 2007, this place opened its collective arms to me and gave me the support and love needed to build this program. Hopefully, I did CMU proud because I gave it everything I had over the past 12 years and loved every second of it.“
When Guevara took over CMU in 2007, the team was in a “rebuild mode” and began to improve after a first season with a 7-22 record. She turned the program around and amassed nine winning seasons during her time in Mount Pleasant.
Alford said that the decision is bittersweet. He is happy for Guevara after a successful career, but will be missed in the CMU community.
“She cares deeply about CMU and our student-athletes and was always an important voice in making sure we made decisions in their best interest,“ Alford said. “Personally, Sue has been an amazing friend to my family and me, and she will always be an important member of the Chippewa family.”
Guevara leaves as the winningest coach in program history with a 231-156 record in her 12 seasons. Those seasons have been filled with success and accolades as she has led the Chippewas to three NCAA Tournaments including two consecutive appearances in 2018 and 2019. Guevara has led her teams to three straight Mid-American Conference regular season championships in 2017-19 and won the MAC Tournament in 2014 and 2018.
The latest NCAA Tournament appearance, a one-point loss to Michigan State, marked the fourth straight year that the Chippewas ended the campaign in the postseason. The 2017-18 squad ventured into the Sweet 16 after victories over No. 6-seeded LSU and No. 3-seed Ohio State, both in Columbus, Ohio, in the first two rounds before eventually falling to Oregon.
Guevara has former players scattered throughout the professional ranks as Reyna Frost, Presley Hudson, Tinara Moore and Cassie Breen are playing in European leagues. Former forward Crystal Bradford, arguably Guevara’s best player from CMU, was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. She currently plays in Israel for Bnot Hertzeliya.
Guevara has been in the coaching ranks spanning three decades, including her first head coaching job at Michigan from 1996-2003. She also spent time at Michigan State as an assistant coach from 1986-95. Guevara was also the softball coach for Saginaw Valley State, her alma mater, from 1982-84.
In the 2018-19 season, the Chippewas posted three victories over Power Five teams: Virginia, Vanderbilt and No. 24 ranked Miami (Florida). CMU also took No. 3 Louisville, who went to the Elite 8, to the wire in McGuirk Arena just before Christmas.
Oesterle served on Guevara's coaching staff for nine seasons, most recently as the associate head coach. She will become the 12th head coach In program history.
"Having the opportunity to see Heather in action the past couple of years, once Sue let me know her plans, it was clear to me that Heather was the right person for this job," Alford said. "She has helped build this program and understands the responsibility of this position. During our discussions the past few days, she presented a thorough plan on how she will lead us through this transition and continue to push this program forward. Replacing a legend is never easy but I feel Heather is definitely up to the task."
Oesterle played basketball at Michigan during Guevara's tenure as the head coach of the Wolverines.