MAC’s winningest coach of 23 years denied contract renewal


Head coach Bob Lindsay talks to the women’s team during a time out at the game against the Miami Redhawks on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Miami defeated Kent State in over time, with a final score of 65-69. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Matt Lofgren

An era ended at Kent State with the news that women’s basketball coach Bob Lindsay would not get a contract extension after 23 years as coach of the Flashes.

Recording a Mid-American Conference record of 418 wins as a coach, Lindsay was the winningest coach in conference history. Lindsay put Kent State’s women’s basketball program “on the map,” Joel Nielson, athletic director, said.

“Coach Lindsay has been a dedicated employee for 20 plus years,” Nielsen said. “I would say his record stands for itself. Really, in a lot of ways, he put Kent State women’s basketball on the map, not just in Ohio, but regionally and nationally and really did a nice job with the program.”

Taking over the head coaching job in 1989, Lindsay was only the fourth coach of the women’s basketball team. Kent State first got a women’s team back in 1975. In those 14 years, the program boasted three 20-win seasons and one NCAA Tournament appearance.

In his 23 years as coach, Lindsay set a school record with 13 20-win seasons and made four NCAA Tournament appearances — including a 1996 upset of Texas A&M to advance to the round of 32 teams.

Miami University’s Charlie Coles is the closest to Lindsay’s 418 mark with 355 wins between Miami and Central Michigan. Coles announced his retirement earlier this year after 16 years in the MAC.

Nielsen said one of Lindsay’s greatest achievements was his ability to graduate student athletes.

“He was also known for recruiting student athletes with high character both on and off the court,” Nielson said. “His young ladies have gone on to do outstanding things after they got done playing at Kent State. But while they were at Kent State, they always represented the university — the program — with a class act, and I think that’s one of the things that you’ll hear a lot around the league that student-athletes were always first class and went on to do some great things.”

Recently, Lindsay enjoyed back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2009-10 through the 2010-11 season with the likes of Taisja Jones and Jamilah Humes, who are both on the all-time points total for Kent State.

Understanding the importance of rivalries, Lindsay made one of the biggest contributions to Kent State’s efforts to always beat Akron. Lindsay boasted a 31-4 record against the Zips and never once was swept by Akron in a season.

This past 2011-12 season, Lindsay’s dominance came to a halt. This five-win season tied with Lindsay’s first season as head coach in 1989.

Lindsay ran into some recruiting trouble over the past few seasons when he graduated all of his starters in 2011 and lost all five freshmen he brought in. His newest recruiting class of six freshmen is currently set to return to the team.

A national search is still underway to find Lindsay’s replacement, Nielsen said.

“We’re looking to bring back the winning tradition of competing for conference championships year in and year out,” Nielson said. “We’re in the process right now of reviewing applicants and searching for that replacement to carry on that great tradition of women’s basketball at Kent State and build upon what coach Lindsay built over the last few years.”

Personally, Lindsay was twice named MAC Coach of the Year in 1996, 1998. In 2000, Lindsay was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association District IV Coach of the Year.

After multiple phone calls, Lindsay could not be reached for a comment. In an interview on March 15 with Stephanie Storm from the Akron Beacon Journal, the 58-year-old Lindsay said about continuing to coach “Why would I want to stop now? I love what I’m doing and have plenty of energy to do it.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected] or @MLofgrenDKS