Former Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach Ishee lands job with D-I program

Friday, August 17, 2012
John Ishee

Former Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach John Ishee is back in the Division I ranks.

Ishee's hiring as an assistant women's basketball coach at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, was announced Thursday.

That comes only a couple months after Ishee took over the struggling women's basketball program at Ranger (Texas) Junior College.

Ishee left Ranger without coaching a game there. He said he had no choice because this latest opportunity was too good to pass up.

"You can't control the timing of when you get an opportunity," said Ishee, who spent five seasons in charge of Southeast's program before the university decided not to renew his contract in March of 2011. "I go a whole year and can't get a sniff of a job and then I get offered two jobs in a couple of months.

"I was very appreciative of the opportunity Ranger gave me. I had every intention of staying there until this came up."

The 51-year-old Ishee, who spent the year after he left Southeast working for several recruiting services, is hooking up with a longtime friend in Lamar coach Larry Tidwell.

"I've known Larry for 20 years," Ishee said. "We've talked weekly for probably the last 15, 20 years. It's five hours from home [Ishee grew up in Mississippi, where his parents still live]. It's Division I. They have a good program. Financially it's better for me.

"It was a no-brainer for me. I couldn't pass this up."

Tidwell has a five-year record of 106-55 at Lamar, which competes in the Southland Conference and had not posted a winning record in 13 years before Tidwell arrived. He has led the Cardinals to five straight winning seasons and took them to their first NCAA tournament since 1991 in 2009-10.

"John brings a wealth of experience as a head coach, as an assistant coach and as a recruiting coordinator," Tidwell said in a release. "He brings a lot of positive things to our program that will help us win and help us win immediately."

Ishee posted a 77-74 record at Southeast, including 47-17 during his first two campaigns when the Redhawks won consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championships and earned an NCAA tournament berth along with a WNIT berth.

Ishee's contract was not renewed after his final two Southeast teams went a combined 15-42 overall and 8-28 in OVC play.

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