Northern Colorado Trustees approve head coaches' contracts
GREELEY -- The University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees today approved a two-year contract extension for head football coach Earnest Collins Jr., a new five-year contract for head women's volleyball coach Lindsey Oates and a five-year contract for Kamie Ethridge, who was named head women's basketball coach April 28.
Ethridge spent the past 18 seasons as associate head coach at Kansas State, where she helped take the team to nine NCAA postseason tournaments in 12 years, four WNIT postseason berths, including a championship in 2006, and two Big 12 Championship titles.
Before her stellar stint with the Wildcats, she was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt and Northern Illinois.
Her history of success goes beyond her more than 500 wins during her coaching career. As a player, the two-time Kodak All-American earned a gold medal with the United States at the 1988 Olympics and helped the University of Texas win an NCAA National Championship in 1996. She was inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Since being named head coach of Northern Colorado's women's volleyball program in 2005, Oates has led the Bears' transition from a NCAA Division II power to the same status in Division I, with her teams winning three Big Sky championships and making three NCAA tournament appearances.
Oates, whose teams have posted winning seasons six of the past seven seasons, was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2011 and enters the 2014 season with an overall record of 159-118.
She was an assistant with the Bears for two seasons before moving into the head position.
Oates, a three-time all-state player at Eaton (Colo.) High School, played collegiate volleyball at LSU.
Collins, a standout player for the Bears in the early 1990s, was named the team's head coach in December 2010, becoming the 16th football coach in school history and the first to return to his alma mater as head coach.
The Bears saw their most success under Collins in 2012, when they posted a 5-6 record and ranked fifth in the nation in punt returns in 2012, averaging 17.20 yards per return. They were also 24th in passing offense (259.09).
Collins previously served as secondary and special teams coach at Northern Colorado from 2000-03. Prior to re-joining the Bears, he was at Alcorn State, where he served as associate head coach in 2008 and head coach in 2009.
"I am extremely appreciative for the Board of Trustees to approve Coach Oates, Collins and Ethridge's contracts and I want to thank President Norton and UNC General Counsel Dan Satriana for their leadership and support during this process," said Athletics Director Darren Dunn. "I really look forward to working with each of these coaches and our other coaching staff to continue to build UNC Athletics and to provide a great experience for our student-athletes."