Jim Lake has his sleeves rolled up and ready to get to work. The UW-Stout athletic department has announced Lake, the top assistant at NCAA Division II Ferris State, as the next Blue Devil men's basketball head coach.
Lake has been the lead assistant men's basketball coach at Ferris State, located in Big Rapids, Mich., for the last five years and was with the Bulldog program for 10 total seasons. Ferris State captured the Division II national title in March.
He replaces Eddie Andrist, who stepped aside in February following a 7-18 season. Andrist coached for 18 seasons.
"I would like to thank athletic director Duey Naatz, vice-chancellor Phil Lyons, and Erin Sullivan and the entire search committee for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this great university," Lake said.
"We are excited to have Jim Lake lead the Blue Devils' men's basketball program," Sullivan, associate athletic director and search committee chair, said. "Jim comes from a program that exudes success, not just on the court, but in all that they do."
"I am fired up and ready to get to work," Lake said. "I have a lot of respect for the level of basketball in the WIAC. This position gives me the opportunity to coach in the best league of Division III at a terrific institution."
"Jim has worked very closely in building a successful program and we look forward to him extending a high level of success across the entire Blue Devils men's basketball program," Naatz said.
Lake would like to instill more than the game of basketball into the players who are part of the Blue Devil program.
"I want our players to have an attitude and frame of mind to move them forward in their lives," Lake said. "Our players will have a positive attitude, a solid work ethic and be servants that are not afraid to work for each other, but still hold each other accountable."
Lake served at Ferris State University for a total of 10 years, the last five years beginning with the 2013-14 season as the program's top assistant men's basketball coach. Lake had served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in two different stints over the previous decade, working as a part-time assistant coach from 2011-13 before moving up to the full-time lead position, and as a volunteer assistant coach from 2003-06.
During five seasons as the Bulldogs' top assistant coach, Lake helped Ferris State to four consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championships and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, culminating in a 38-1 overall record and the 2018 NCAA Division II national title with a 71-69 win over Northern State in March.
During the 2016-17 season, the Bulldogs compiled a then school all-time best 28-5 overall record while winning both the GLIAC's regular season and tournament titles. FSU also advanced to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals. The Bulldogs finished the 2015-16 season with a 24-10 overall record and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen, while finishing its first back-to-back 20-win campaigns since the late 1980's.
Lake began his collegiate coaching career with the Bulldogs as a volunteer assistant under former head coach Bill Sall from 2003-06. During that time, the Bulldogs claimed back-to-back GLIAC North Division championships and made two-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen showing in 2004-05.
After leaving the Bulldog program to serve as a club coach for the Grand Rapids Storm, he returned to FSU in 2011-12 and helped the Bulldogs to a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in his first season back with the program.
As an assistant coach, Lake was heavily involved with nearly every facet of the program such as recruiting, player development, academics and organizing summer camps. He's also played a key role in administrative and fundraising duties as the top assistant.
In addition to his collegiate coaching background with the Bulldogs, Lake also brings nearly 17 years of coaching experience at the high school level, including nine seasons as a varsity basketball coach at both the Class B and D levels in Michigan. During the 1996-97 campaign at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Academy, he was the youngest (21) head coach for a Michigan High School Athletic Association member school.
Besides serving as a coach with the Grand Rapids Storm organization, Lake has also been a teacher in the Chippewa Hills school district and served as the school's varsity basketball coach. During his time with the Storm, as a 16-and-under coach, he compiled a 123-32 mark while coaching 35 players who moved on to collegiate basketball, including 11 NCAA Division I players and several who have played in the GLIAC. Lake has also previously worked basketball camps at Ferris State, Central Michigan and the University of Michigan.
Lake received his bachelor's in education with an emphasis in social studies and a minor in history from Central Michigan in 1999. He later earned a master's in sports and recreation with an emphasis in coaching from Ohio University.
A native of Spokane, Wash., Lake was raised in Michigan and graduated from North Branch (Mich.) High School in 1994, participating in football and basketball, earning all-area and all-conference football accolades.
Lake and his wife, Kara, enjoy family life with their two children, Abigail and Peter.
Lake is the 16th coach of the Blue Devil men's basketball program, a program that began in 1907.