MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University will not renew the contract of head men's basketball coach Doug Lewis after three losing seasons in Marquette.
The Wildcats went backwards in 2012-13, finishing 5-21 overall and 4-18 in the GLIAC. Lewis finished 9-17 overall and 5-14 in the GLIAC last season after going 9-17 overall, 4-14 in the GLIAC in his first season at Northern.
"I wouldn't have changed anything because I thought we were going in the right direction," Lewis said Wednesday after addressing his team inside the PEIF. "It takes 4-5 years to change a program around. First thing you have to do is change the culture. Second thing you have to do is bring in talent. I thought we did both. We had a lot of injuries this year. We didn't win games."
Northern Michigan University head men's basketball coach Doug Lewis addresses his team during a timeout against Hillsdale on Dec. 6, 2012 inside the Berry Events Center in Marquette. After three seasons, NMU announced Wednesday it would not renew Lewis' contract. (Journal photo by Matt Wellens)
Lewis came to Northern after seven seasons at Central State University, where he went 125-61 at the NCAA Division II independent institution.
Lewis said the only difference between Northern and Central State is time. From scholarships to facilities, NMU had everything he needed to succeed, Lewis said.
"Scholarships, they have the max and they have the facilities, a beautiful practice facility," Lewis said. "It's like Division I where you play in an arena. Even though we don't practice in (the Berry Events Center), a lot of Division I (schools) do the same thing that we do. There are no excuses.
"That's what got us talent in this program, the facilities."
NMU athletic director Forrest Karr said the decision not to bring Lewis back came after talking with alumni, former players, corporate sponsors, administrators and other co-workers within the department and with community members.
A national search will begin immediately, Karr said.
"Ultimately I just made a decision that I think the program has a better chance of being successful going forward if we make a change," Karr said.
"As a department, we're responsible to live up to the expectations of a lot of people that have been here in the past and been successful. I just feel like in this program, we're not meeting those expectations."
For more comments from Lewis and Karr, plus how the athletic department plans to conduct its search, stay logged on to www.miningjournal.net and follow Sports Editor Matt Wellens on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens