George Fox coach jumps to D-I

More news about: George Fox
Michael Meek succeeded a coach who took a Division I job, and will be doing the same himself.
Photo by Ronnie Glover,

Michael Meek, head coach for George Fox for the past nine seasons, has been named the new head coach at Division I University of Portland.

Meek, the 2012 Coach of the Year, is the fifth Division III women's basketball head coach to make the leap in a little over 24 months, joining former coaches from Washington U., Puget Sound, FDU-Florham and SUNY Geneseo. He is also the second consecutive George Fox coach to do so. Scott Rueck left George Fox for Oregon State after the 2009-10 season and continues to be highly successful at the Division I level.

In his nine seasons, Meek's charges have compiled a 230-35 overall record, including eight appearances and two runner-up finishes in the Division III NCAA Tournament.

Meek replaces Cheryl Sorenson. The Pilots finished 13-17 this season.

"My family and I are excited to begin this journey at the University of Portland," Meek said. "My vision is to help build a successful program that makes a positive impact for the student-athletes well beyond their four-year experience. Through hard work, positive communication, selflessness, and by investing in one another, I believe we are capable of accomplishing this goal."

“It is bittersweet to close the book on the Mike Meek era at George Fox University,” said George Fox athletic director Adam Puckett. “Mike inherited a national championship-caliber program and did the difficult job of not only sustaining the program at its current level but taking it to new levels.

“It is easy to talk about the winning, conference championships, and (NCAA) tournament runs, but what Mike truly accomplished was building a program that is family and develops young women into fearless leaders. We are grateful for Mike and all he and his family have given to our university and wish him the best in this next chapter.”

During Meek’s tenure, the Bruins recorded their 26th consecutive winning season in 2018-19, won six Northwest Conference Championships (2010-11, 2011-12, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19), was named NWC Coach of the Year three times (2011-12, 2014-15, 2018-19). His teams reached the Sweet 16 four times, the Elite 8 three times, and the Final Four twice. Bruin players earned All-America status under Meek five times.

“As we turn the page, being the head women's basketball coach at George Fox University is a very attractive job and has already drawn interest from top-notch candidates because of the work that Meek and his staff did over the past decade,” said Puckett. “We will hire someone that will continue the legacy of George Fox women's basketball, which will give us the best opportunity to win a conference and national championships, and will embody our culture of a transformative Christ-centered experience.”

A native of Puyallup, Wash., Meek played basketball at Tacoma Community College and Eastern Oregon University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education and health in 1999. He earned his master of arts in teaching from Grand Canyon University in 2004.

From D-III to D-I

The list of coaches to go directly from D-III to D-I head coaching jobs since 2000 is relatively short, although it has gotten longer in the past two-plus offseasons. Click on the links to see stories on each coach's jump.

Coach, D-III school D-I school Year Best year there Current job
Lisa Stone, UW-Eau Claire Drake 2000-01 25-8, 2001-02 D-I St. Louis (26-8 in 15-16)
Candace Crabtree, Rowan Drexel 2000-01 19-10, 2000-01 Out of coaching
Richard Barron, Sewanee Princeton  2000-01 21-7, 2005-06 Maine men's head coach
Tammy Smith, Muhlenberg Lafayette 2001-02 14-16, 2007-08 Out of coaching
Julie Goodenough, Hardin-Simmons Oklahoma St. 2002-03 8-20, 2003-04 D-I Abilene Christian (26-4 in 15-16)
Mary Hegarty, Chapman Long Beach St. 2003-04 19-9, 2004-05 Out of coaching
Kristin Hughes, Case Colgate 2004-05 12-18, 2004-05 Out of coaching
Stefanie Pemper, Bowdoin Navy 2008-09 25-8, 2017-18 Navy
Scott Rueck, George Fox Oregon St. 2010-11 31-4, 2016-17 Oregon State
Aaron Roussell, Chicago Bucknell 2012-13 28-6, 2018-19 Bucknell
Greg Todd, Transylvania Morehead St. 2013-14 24-11, 2018-19 Morehead State
Nancy Fahey, Washington U. Illinois 2016-17 10-20, 2018-19 Illinois
Loree Payne, Puget Sound Northern Arizona 2016-17 13-18, 2018-19 Northern Arizona
Marc Mitchell, FDU-Florham St. Peter's 2017-18 6-24, 2018-19 St. Peter's
Scott Hemer, SUNY Geneseo Canisius 2017-18 11-19, 2018-19 Canisius
Michael Meek, George Fox Portland 2018-19