Lynn Kennedy named McNeese Cowgirls basketball head coach

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LAKE CHARLES – Lynn Kennedy, who in a short amount of time turned 4-win Portland State program into a Big Sky Conference champion and NCAA Tournament qualifier, has been named the ninth McNeese Cowgirls basketball head coach, athletics director Heath Schroyer announced on Tuesday.

Kennedy spent the last six seasons as the head coach at Portland State and has won over 340 games in his career, ranked as high as No. 8 in the ESPN Mid-Major Top 25 poll, coached 20 Big Sky Conference All-Academic selections, set a school record with 25 wins in the 2018-19 season while winning the regular season and conference tournament, qualified for the league tournament the last four years including semifinal appearances in 2016-17 and 2017-18 while winning it in 2018-19, and has coached nine all-conference selections and five players who earned league top awards.

“I can’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kennedy and his wife Amy to McNeese,” said Schroyer. “When we started this search, I was looking for the right fit with college head coach experience and with a history of building programs. Coach Kennedy checked every box and then some.

“Lynn is a proven winner. He’s a sitting Division I head coach with over 20 years of college head coach experience who recently took his team to the NCAA Tournament. He’s built programs wherever he’s been. He plays a style that our girls and fans will love. He’s a man of great integrity who will truly fit in this community.”

“I’m so honored and excited to be here as the next women’s basketball coach for McNeese State University,” said Kennedy. “First I want to thank my wife Amy and my two boys. I also want to thank Dr. Burckel, Heath (Schroyer), Bridget (Martin), Tanner (Stines), and the rest of the committee. I’m also thankful for my time at Portland State and appreciate all of their support.

“This wasn’t an easy decision because we had built something great at Portland State. But the challenge and opportunity here at McNeese was calling my name. From the first phone call, I had a sense of being pulled by the blue and gold.

“I take over programs that are at the bottom of conferences and build them into championship teams. I’m excited about that opportunity here, and to bring a championship back to this passionate fan base. We will be Southland Conference champions and we will get back to the NCAA Tournament.”

Kennedy arrived at Portland State with 14 years of experience as a collegiate head coach and more than 20 years coaching experience overall. In 10 seasons, he led the Southern Oregon women’s basketball program to outstanding success. The Raiders went 27-5 in his final season, ranked in the top 10 in the nation, and reached the NAIA Division II Sweet 16. In all, Kennedy was 208-105 as head coach at Southern Oregon, leading three teams to the NAIA National Tournament.

Kennedy’s Raider program had six 20-win seasons, including each of his last three seasons at the school. Kennedy’s players earned 22 All-Conference honors, four All-American honors, and eight Academic All-American honors.

In 2014-15, Southern Oregon led the Cascade Collegiate Conference in eight statistical categories, including scoring, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and rebounding.

The Southern Oregon Raiders were 4-25 the year before Kennedy took over the women’s basketball program. His first season they won 12 games, followed by 18 in 2006-07, and then a school-record 29-5 mark in 2007-08.

As the head coach at NCAA II New Mexico Highlands from 2002-05, Kennedy took a team that won only four games the season before his arrival and within three seasons led it to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Western Division title.

“What really stood out to me about him in this process is his approach to building a program and being a true partner within our department,” said Schroyer. “For us to be able to get a sitting Division I head coach who recently played in the NCAA Tournament speaks of how attractive our job, University and community are across the country.

“It’s an exciting time for Cowgirl Basketball!”

Kennedy had previous Division I coaching experience in the Big Sky Conference as well. He was an assistant coach at Eastern Washington (1999-2001) and Idaho State (2001-02). Kennedy was named the interim head coach at Idaho State for the final seven games of that season.

His coaching career began as an assistant at Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash. He was the head coach for one season (1998-99) before moving on to Eastern Washington.

Kennedy, a native of Eugene, Ore., prepped at Cascade High School in Everett, Wash., and then played collegiately at Northwest Christian College and Northwest University.

Lynn and his wife, Amy, have two sons, Graycen and Parker.

Portland State Highlights:
• Average team GPA 3.40
• Won Big Sky tournament in fourth season as head coach in 2018-19 (only second Big Sky tournament title in program history)
• Led the Vikings to the NCAA tournament in 2018-19, only the program’s second appearance in the tournament
• Set Big Sky era program record with 25 wins in 2018-19
• 8-4 at the Big Sky Tournament (Won tournament in 2018-19, Made semifinals in 2016-17, 2017-18)
• 20 Academic All-Big Sky honorees
• Ranked as high as #8 ESPNW Mid-Major Poll (Dec. 11, 2018)
• Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year (Courtney West in 2018-19)
• Big Sky Co-Top Reserve (Desirae Hansen in 2018-19)
• Big Sky Tournament MVP (Ashley Bolston in 2018-19)
• Big Sky Newcomer of the Year (Ashley Bolston in 2016-17)
• Big Sky Freshman of the Year (Kylie Jimenez in 2017-18)
• 1 All-Big Sky first-team selection (Sidney Rielly in 2018-19)
• 3 All-Big Sky second-team selections
• 6 All-Big Sky third-team selections
• 1 All-Big Sky honorable mention
• 4 Big Sky All-Tournament Team selections
• #1 Catch & Shoot Team in the NCAA (Synergy 2019-20)
• 12-win improvement from 2015-16 to 2016-17
• NCAA Most Improved Field Goal Percentage (.450 in 2016-17 from .358 in 2015-16)
• Set single-season program record for three-pointers made (261 in 2019-20)
• Set Division I-era program records for blocked shots (174 in 2018-19) and rebounds per game (42.5 in 2015-16)
• Set Big Sky-era program records for three-point field goal percentage (.373 in 2019-20), field goal percentage (.450 in 2016-17), assists (569 in 2018-19) and rebounds (1,289 in 2018-19)
• Team completed at least 10 volunteer hours/player – 160 hours after winter term: Pink Game, New Avenues of Youth, PSU WBB Youth Basketball Clinics and Autograph signing, Walk to Defeat ALS, Viking Rally, PSU WBB Kid’s Game Day, PSU Bring Your Kid to Work Day, Campus Clean-Up.
• Set PSU record for home attendance in one game (Tennessee, Dec. 21, 2019)

Southern Oregon Highlights:
• Three NAIA National Tournament appearances
• Team GPA 3.2
• Eight Academic All-Americans
• 208 wins in 10 years at SOU – 2nd in all-time wins (66% winning percentage)
• 25-8 during the 2013-14 season. Broke conference and school records for scoring in a season. CCC Championship game.
• 2012-13 season – 22-10 record
• 2009-10 season – finished with 20 wins and ranked as high as #9 in the nation
• Finished the 2008-09 season ranked #23 in the nation with a 25-7 record
• 2007-08 Cascade Conference Champions, ranked 18th in the final NAIA poll and finished the season 29-5, breaking the school record for most wins
• Received 2007-08 Cascade Conference Coach of the Year
• Completed the 2007-08 home schedule undefeated at 16-0
• Nationally ranked 3rd (2012-13), 5th (2007-08) and 9th (2008-09) in scoring offense; 2nd in FG % (2012-13); 1st (2012-13) in defensive rebounds; 5th (2012-13), 8th (2008-09), 2nd (2009-10) and 9th (2011-12) in overall rebounding
• Four NAIA All-Americans (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012-13)
• Recruited two CCC Players of the Year and fifteen additional CCC All-Conference players

New Mexico Highlands Highlights:
• 2004-05 RMAC West Division Champions
• Ranked #9 in the nation for Most Improved Teams (NCAA II)
• Seeded #2 in the Wells Fargo Shootout and advanced to the RMAC semi-finals
• One game away from the NCAA National Tournament
• Ranked #38 in the nation in scoring offense

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