MARQUETTE, Mich. – Dean Ellis, coach of the Northern Michigan University men's basketball team for the past 24 years, has resigned, according to NMU Athletic Director Ken Godfrey.
Godfrey said Ellis, is leaving the position for "a number of reasons, including some health issues." The basketball coaching resignation is effective immediately, but Ellis will continue his current duties as the coach of the Wildcat golf team.
"There are so many moments of my time with NMU basketball that I wouldn't have missed for anything, but right now, it's time for me to make some changes," said Ellis. "I would like to thank all of the players, parents, fans, administrators and colleagues who have been instrumental to me over the years. It has been a privilege for me, and my wife Lois, to have raised our sons during my basketball coaching career at NMU."
Ellis became coach of the team in 1986-87 after serving the three previous seasons as an assistant to Glenn Brown. During his tenure, he posted a 369-303 record. In January 2005, he became the winningest coach in the program's history, surpassing Brown's 300-188 mark. He was also the longest-serving coach with two more years than C.B. Hedgcock's 22 campaigns. Ellis became a dual sport coach in 1993 when he took over the reins of golf team.
Under Ellis' leadership, the basketball Wildcats made 13 appearances in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) post-season tournament and won the 1999-2000 title. His 1993, 1999 and 2000 squads won GLIAC regular-season titles and also qualified for the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament. He had four 20-win seasons (1993, '94, '99, '00). Ellis was selected 1993 GLIAC Coach of the Year.
This past year, Northern went 11-15 and was 8-14 in GLIAC action for fifth place in the North Division.
A native of Negaunee, Ellis played collegiately at Southwest Missouri State University. He transferred to NMU and completed his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1983.
"We wish Dean well as he moves onto a new chapter in his life, and we thank him for his dedication over two and a half decades to Wildcat basketball," said Godfrey.
Godfrey said that a national search will begin immediately to replace Ellis.