La Crosse chooses Middleton to lead program

More news about: UW-La Crosse
Karen Middleton has extensive coaching experience in Division I, including six seasons as the head coach at Western Carolina.
Western Carolina athletics file photo 

UW-La Crosse went outside Wisconsin and Division III to select former Division I player and coach Karen Middleton as its next head women’s basketball coach.

The University announced Middleton as the 15th head coach in program history, replacing Lois Heeren who stepped down in March after 17 years with the Eagles. Middleton most recently was the associate head coach at Division I Cal State Fullerton. Previously she was the head coach at Division I Western Carolina for six seasons.

"I am very excited to welcome Karen to our department," said UW-La Crosse Director of Athletics Kim Blum in a release.  "She brings a wealth of impressive experience to the program.  Karen's Division I competitiveness, combined with her commitment to the Division III ideals of developing the whole student, are a winning combination.  I look forward to watching Karen take our program to new levels of success." 

Middleton has extensive experience as a player, assistant coach and head coach at the Division I level. She played four years at the University of South Carolina, scoring 1,700 points for the Gamecocks. After working as an assistant at her alma mater from 1992 - 1994, she moved to Eastern Washington for three seasons and the University of Illinois for two seasons and then worked for 10 years as an assistant under Tara VanDerveer at Stanford.

Middleton took the head coaching post at Western Carolina in 2009-2010 and went 63-121 in six seasons with the Catamounts.

"I am ecstatic to be named the head coach at UWL," said Middleton in a release.  "I heavily researched the school, the team, and the conference before applying, and I know what an incredible opportunity this position at UW-La Crosse presents.  I truly look forward to working in an athletic department driven by excellence on and off the court.  Additionally, I can't wait to begin working with a group of young women motivated to be the best."

Middleton replaces Lois Heeren who went 210-227 in 17 seasons in La Crosse. Heeren ranks ninth in the WIAC in career victories and was named the conference co-coach of the year in 2005-2006. She led the Eagles to a 20-8 record and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2010-2011. She also coached three seasons at St. Mary's (Minn.) and three seasons at her alma mater Division II Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State). Heeren will continue to teach in the University’s Exercise and Sport Science Department.

UW-La Crosse finished last season 7-18, 1-13 in the WIAC.