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Sue Guevara retires as Central Michigan WBB coach, Heather Oesterle to take over

Guevara oversaw the emergence of CMU as a women’s basketball power in her tenure, leading them to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 in 2018.

Kenneth Bailey

“It’s time,” Central Michigan women’s basketball head coach Sue Guevara announced via press release early Friday afternoon. “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.”

Guevara, a Saginaw, Michigan native, will leave Mt. Pleasant as the winningest women’s basketball coach in program history, amassing a record of 231-156 in 12 seasons, which also places her at fifth all-time in the Mid-American Conference. Guevara rebuilt a struggling, but proud women’s basketball program into a national powerhouse in her time at Central, culminating in an incredible Sweet 16 run in 2018, which saw the Chippewas upset the #24 LSU Tigers and #10 Ohio State Buckeyes to gain a Sweet 16 berth and ultimately clinch a #20 ranking in the final Associated Press polls.

”Sue Guevara has not only made a tremendous impact on this university, but also the entire community,” Central Michigan President Robert O. Davies said via press release. “She is a transformational leader whose energy and passion elevates all those around her. We talk about our primary goal being diplomas in one hand and championship rings on the other when student-athletes leave CMU. Sue has certainly accomplished that in her time here and set the standard for us.”

Guevara produced results at the helm, graduating 25 all-conference selections, 14 MAC specialty award winners, 22 academic all-MAC picks, two All-American Academic selections and an All-American selection (Tinara Moore, 2018) through her program. Guevara led the Chippewas to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two back-to-back appearances in 2018 and 2019, a regular-season MAC Championship in 2017 (the first since 1985,) two MAC Tournament Championships back-to-back, and four-straight MAC West Division titles (2016-19.) Guevara also picked up some hardware of her own along the way, collecting two MAC Coach of the Year Awards (2016, 2018) and the Kate Yow National Coach of the Year Award in 2018.

”This is a bittersweet day for me and our entire department,” Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford said via press release. “While I am happy for Sue and I’m excited about this program moving forward, we all will miss having Coach G around every day because of the passion and leadership she brought to this department.”

Long-time assistant coach Heather Oesterle will take over head coaching duties, effective immediately.

This will be Oesterle’s first time as a head coach at the collegiate level, but she does bring a bevy of experience as an associate head coach, having learned under Guevara for nine years as a coach and four years as a player under Guevara in her time as head coach at the University of Michigan. Oesterle has also held assistant coaching jobs at Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Stanford, primarily creating offensive gameplans, and was primarily responsible for recruiting, player development and scouting at CMU.

The changes are expected to be formally announced at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon in a news conference on-campus.