Tim Eatman & Mike Dee Earn Contract Extensions
July 17, 2000
Chicago, Ill. - University of Illinois at Chicago Director of Athletics Jim Schmidt has extended the contracts of head women's basketball coach Tim Eatman and head baseball coach Mike Dee, pending Illinois Board of Trustees approval at their July meetings. The move would keep Eatman at UIC through the 2003 season while locking Dee in until 2004.
Eatman has breathed new life into the UIC women's basketball program since his arrival two seasons ago. The Flames underwent one of the biggest turnarounds in the country last year as they went from 5-22 during the 1998-99 campaign to a 14-15 slate last season, which included winning eight of their last nine games while finishing fourth in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
"I'm pleased Tim Eatman will be with the program in the future to finish a complete rebuilding program," Schmidt remarked. "He has already proved himself as a recruiter and I am looking forward to our first NCAA Tournament appearance in the near future. He has made significant strides in only two years."
More success is on the horizon for Eatman as the 2000-2001 women's team returns all five starters, including MCC Newcomer of the Year Kimberly Henry, and 10 letterwinners to its lineup. The Flames will also have home-court advantage for the league tournament this season as they play host to the 2001 MCC Women's Basketball Championship, March 8-10.
"It's not very often you get a chance to be in on the ground floor and watch something grow," summarized Eatman. "I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's very seldom that someone can see a fire from just a spark and I appreciate Jim Schmidt for seeing that."
Eatman's resurrection of a program may have only been one-upped by Dee, who in his second season guided the baseball program to a share of the MCC regular-season title, a runner-up finish at the league tournament and a UIC single-season record tying 33 victories.
"Through two years under Coach Dee, the baseball program has been completely rebuilt," said Schmidt. "It could be the quickest turnaround, and most thorough job of recruiting a staff has done at UIC. He has proven that extremely hard work pays off and I am delighted that he will be with us in the future. He has a great vision for things in the future and his track record of success speak for itself."
Dee, who has been named MCC Co-Coach of the Year in each of his two seasons at the helm of the Flames, guided a remarkable turnaround as he reversed an 18-30 overall record in 1999 to a 33-26 mark this year. UIC should be the MCC pre-season favorite in 2001 as the Flames' welcome back a bulk of the starting lineup.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity we have been given and am even more excited about the potential of the program today than when I originally accepted the position," commented Dee. "The support we have received from our administration has exceeded my expectations. With that support and the continued cooperation from all of the great high school programs here in Illinois, we believe we are headed in the right direction. We think in the very near future we will be a program that is performing at a high level every year."
UIC is coming off its most successful year ever as an athletic program as it captured their first-ever MCC all-sports award, the James J. McCafferty Trophy, at the end of the 1999-2000 season.