The nationwide search for a new head women’s basketball coach at Northwestern has ended. Athletic director Andy Carter has announced former Southern Arkansas head men’s basketball coach Eric Bozeman will take over the women’s basketball program.
“We are very fortunate to have coach Eric Bozeman commit to leading our women’s basketball program,” Carter said. “His character, leadership and vision set him apart in the search process”
“The search process took about a week longer than I had planned, but the importance in finding someone who had years of basketball experience and the character to develop young people was paramount,” Carter added. “Coach Bozeman is not only a great fit for the vision of Ranger athletics, but his family will be a great addition to the Alva community”
Bozeman will jump right into the fold here at Northwestern looking to add signees to next season’s recruiting class.
“I’m extremely excited. It’s like a re-birth to me,” Bozeman said. “It’s something different. I’m really excited about the community and university and appreciative to be given the opportunity”
Bozeman comes to Alva from Southern Arkansas University where he was the head men’s basketball coach from 2005-12. While there, Bozeman had an overall record of 73-116 and led the Muleriders to the Great American Conference Tournament last season, the school’s first postseason tournament berth in 10 years.
Experience in the GAC is important for the Lady Rangers as they make the transition into that conference beginning next season.
Bozeman’s experience with the GAC schools is enhanced by the time he spent at Henderson State. He was the assistant coach of the Reddies from 1991-93 before taking over as head coach. He was the face of the Henderson State program from 1993-98 and led the squad to a 71-67 record during his tenure as head coach.
After leading the school to consecutive 20-win seasons, Bozeman took the job as assistant men’s head coach at Ole Miss. He worked under head coach Rod Barnes from 1998-2005. Bozeman helped lead the Rebels to three 20-win seasons, three NCAA Tournament berths and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000-01.
Bozeman replaces former head coach Stephanie Shaw, who led the Lady Rangers to a 13-15 clip and a Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament berth in the team’s final season in the league.
He has no prior experience coaching women’s basketball but believes he will be successful coaching females.
“I don’t think there will be much of an adjustment. People are people. I’m going to coach just as hard with women,” Bozeman said. “I’ll be just as loving, just as disciplined and expect just as much. I don’t think the women would want it any other way.”
Carter also believes Bozeman will make a smooth transition into women’s basketball.
“There was some initial concern that Eric has not coached on the women’s side, but, once I met him and completed the necessary research, I have no hesitation at all,” Carter said. “I feel his basketball experience, character, and desire to develop and educate young people make him a great fit for our women’s basketball program. Eric owns the unique qualities to be a great women’s basketball coach.”