June’s crew to change for next season

Joe Ziomek

After a season in which the Northwestern women’s basketball team went 4-24 and extended its Big Ten losing streak to 42 games, it’s no surprise that the coaching staff is going to see some changes in 2002-03.

Two of NU’s three assistant coaches in 2001-02 – but not head coach June Olkowski – will not return to the team next season. Sheila McMillen announced her resignation Tuesday, while Cleve Wright said Wednesday that he has accepted the head coaching job at Gannon in Erie, Pa., a Division II school.

Tricie Johnson is now NU’s only assistant coach remaining from last year.

McMillen was replaced by Sue Darling, former head coach of the Air Force women’s basketball team.

“Sue is very experienced, and she’s extremely easy to get along with,” Wright said. “She’s going to bring a lot to the table.”

As a player, Darling was the Arizona team captain and most valuable player in 1981-82. Later, she was an assistant coach at Arizona State and then at Dartmouth.

Her recruiting and scouting abilities have been widely praised.

“Sue’s strengths fill our need as a staff, and her background of the game will be a huge asset to our program,” Olkowski said in statement.

McMillen left the program because she is no longer interested in coaching, Wright said.

“I can’t say I was shocked,” Wright said. “She was a great player, and like a lot of great players she thought she’d give coaching a shot. It turned out she didn’t care for it.”

Gannon, which calls itself “Northwestern Pennsylvania’s premier Catholic university,” competes in the South division of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Golden Knights went 20-8 last year.

“They’re very committed to winning,” Wright said. “There’s a strong commitment from the administration. I couldn’t ask for a better situation going in as a head coach.”

The Daily’s Andrea Cohen contributed to this report.