North Central gets coach from UMAC foe

Dan DeWitt head shot Following a national search, North Central (Minn.) has named Dan DeWitt its next head men's basketball coach. DeWitt, who emerged from a field of 160 applicants for the position, succeeds Jon High, who resigned at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season following an 11-year run as head coach.

The Rams were 6-19 this past season, 1-15 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. North Central compiled a record of 120-148 under High's leadership, according to NCAA records.

DeWitt has collected a significant array of coaching experiences at various levels, most recently as an assistant at Bethany Lutheran, a fellow UMAC member institution and the league's regular season and tournament champion in 2017-2018. The Lino Lakes, Minnesota, native, who spent his early childhood as a Minneapolis resident, played for basketball coaching legend Don Meyer at Division II Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. DeWitt then went on to serve on Tubby Smith's staff at Minnesota as a graduate assistant for two years before moving on to another assistant coaching role at St. Cloud State.

DeWitt became a head coach at 26, leading NAIA-Mayville State University (N.D.) for five years from 2012-2017. DeWitt's teams went 44-41 in his final three seasons, including a 2014-2015 record of 18-11. During his time at the helm of the Comets, DeWitt's teams posted national top 10 rankings for defensive field goal percentage, defensive three-point field goal percentage, total rebounds, rebounding margin, and rebounds per game. In the classroom, his program featured an NAIA-best seven academic all-Americans in 2016-2017 and two NAIA Scholar-Team Award selections. While DeWitt was at Bethany Lutheran, the Vikings have won an NCAA Division III Tournament game, collected six UMAC postseason awards, and boast the league's Freshman of the Year award-winner in both years. His St. Cloud State team in 2009-2010 went 20-9, advancing to the second round of the Division II NCAA Tournament. At Minnesota, the Gophers advanced to the Big Ten Tournament championship game and the NCAA Division I national tournament with DeWitt on staff.

From an academic standpoint, DeWitt triple majored in mathematics, finance, and economics at Northern State, earning summa cum laude honors along the way. DeWitt's master's degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and exercise science, which also earned him summa cum laude honors, is from the University of Minnesota.

DeWitt hails from a local Twin Cities basketball family. His father Dave has been the head women's coach at Anoka-Ramsey Community College for 14 years. Sister Katie played at Drake and Northwestern, where she currently is a member of the coaching staff, sister Emily played at St. Mary's (Minn.), and brother Josh played at Mayville State.

DeWitt is married to Laura (Skog), a former collegiate student-athlete herself. Together they have two children, Brynlee and Esther.

"Dan's impressive resume speaks for itself; he has been a part of many quality basketball programs" said NCU athletic director Greg Johnson. "As my administrative team went through this search process, we focused on finding not only the best candidate from a basketball perspective, but also the right individual to meet our student-athletes where they're at and lead them in their personal faith development and academic growth. Coach DeWitt certainly fits that job description. While our current and prospective basketball student-athletes will gain significant basketball knowledge from him, I believe they will grow even more as leaders under his tutelage. I'm proud to welcome Dan, his wife Laura, and their daughters into the North Central family!"

"I would like to extend a huge thank you to athletic director Greg Johnson, president Scott Hagan, and the rest of the search team for having the confidence in me to lead this program," said DeWitt. "I would also like to acknowledge all the time and effort that John High invested into this program for over a decade. I am so excited for the opportunity to be the next head men's basketball coach at North Central University. Laura and I are both from the Twin Cities and we couldn't imagine a better fit as we have hoped to raise our two daughters close to family. I believe in the Christ-centered mission of NCU and I am looking forward to building a basketball program centered on these values. Being familiar with this great UMAC conference, I know that we have a challenge ahead of us, but I am ready to get started!"