Dawgs welcome a winner in Stein

Dawgs welcome a winner in Stein

By Matt Ferguson

After a disappointing stint from their previous head coaching hire, the university’s chancellor and athletics director introduced Cindy Stein as its new women’s basketball head coach.

Stein will take over for ex-interim coach Adrianne Harlow, who grabbed the reigns after previous head coach Missy Tiber resigned in January. Harlow and Tiber combined for a 20-100 (9-63 Missouri Valley Conference) record over the last four years.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said she is excited about Stein’s potential.


“I’m a huge supporter of women’s athletics in general, and particularly women’s basketball,” she said. “We have high expectations for this program, and we definitely want to improve attendance (and) improve the excitement around women’s basketball. I think you will find that we’ve got a coach that can help turn the program around and help fill the seats and help with enthusiasm.”

Stein has a deep background with Illinois basketball. She was a college player for the University of Illinois from 1981-83 and Illinois Central College from 1979-81.

The Peoria native comes to SIU with experience turning basketball programs into winners. Stein made an immediate impact in her former head coach position for the Illinois Central College Cougars. In her only season with the Cougars, she turned a previously 16-16 team into a 32-4 team that placed third at the NCJAA Division II national tournament. Like this year’s Saluki roster, her ICC Cougar roster featured a young team with no grade level older than a sophomore.

The Salukis have no player higher than a junior.

Coach Stein said the Saluki team has been through a lot, but she likes what she sees.

“The rumor in the league is that they have talent,” she said, “That’s exciting to me. We plan on helping to develop that talent by putting them in pressure situations in practices which make the game situations look easy.”

Her longest stint as head coach came during her 1998-2010 stretch with the Mizzou Tigers. In her 12 years with the team, Stein led the team to three NCAA appearances, one Sweet 16 run and had five players selected in the WNBA draft.


Stein said her plan for success starts by developing players as individuals and then as ballplayers. Learning to communicate with new people helps with team chemistry, she said, but their play on the court comes in practice.

“Success isn’t built on laughter,” she said, “It’s built on hard work and sometimes tears. You’ve got to work at a certain pitch to get your kids to understand what it takes in pressure situations to be successful. We will try to create that in practice.”

Her time at Mizzou is also where she met Athletic Director Mario Moccia. He was Mizzou’s senior associate athletic director during the time. Despite their previous experience, Moccia said Stein was the final selection of an extensive search.

“We had over 110 applicants for the position and we looked at over 700 bios of coaches at all levels and we came up with four outstanding finalists,” Moccia said. “When we reviewed the finalists and the qualities we believe were the ingredients to our future’s success, we think we found the right person in coach Cindy Stein.”

She will begin her new campaign as head coach in early November, later this year.