Winstel announces retirement


After 636 wins and two national championships in 29 seasons at Northern Kentucky University, Nancy Winstel announced her retirement on March 28 as the head coach for the women’s basketball team.
“I have been an extremely fortunate person to have been a part of Northern Kentucky University all these years,” Winstel said.
Winstel said it was a combination of reasons for her decision and that it was all good.

“I just think it’s time for me to maybe do something else with my life,” Winstel said. “There’s really not one reason. I think it’s just time for me to move on.”
In addition to NKU, she also coached Midway College for three seasons. Winstel retires with an overall record of 675-255 in 32 seasons, finishing 18th all time in coaching wins in women’s basketball and the third winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

“I would probably say my best memories,” Winstel said, “are of all of the players and young ladies that have come through this program and just the tremendous relationships that I’ve been able to have with them, all of our staff, assistant coaches that I’ve been so fortunate to coach and all of the people that I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the athletic department.”
During her career, Winstel was named Great Lake Valley Conference Coach of the Year six times and was named the Division II National Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 1999-2000, after winning the first national title in school history. In 2008, Winstel led the team to another national title.

Under Winstel’s leadership, the women’s team won the NCAA Regional tournament six times and the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament nine times.
NKU athletic director Scott Eaton said there was obviously mixed emotions, but Winstel has been in the business for a long time and knows when the time is right to retire.
“We have had some previous conversations so it wasn’t a complete surprise to me,” Eaton said. “I’m happy for her because she is going out the time that she wants to go out and how she would like to go out, but I’m also sad because there is going to be a missing piece to the university.”

Eaton said Winstel has basically been the foundation of the program and had great mentors in Marily Moore and Jane Meier before she took over.
“She has just taken this program and made it one of the most elite programs in the country, if not the best,” Eaton said. “It was named the best program of the decade by Basketball Bulletin and she was named coach of the decade. Those things didn’t happen for no reason at all. Year in and year out, she puts out a great team, she plays by the rules and she just represents this university in the best way possible.”

Senior forward Stephanie Hodges said she was surprised by Winstel’s decision to retire.
“Twenty-nine years is a long time,” Hodges said. “It becomes your life. I was in shock, and I really didn’t have anything to say. I was in absolute shock.”
Hodges said the thing she will remember most about Winstel is that she would do anything and everything for her team.

“If you need her, she will fight tooth and nail and do anything for you if it’s on the court or off,” Hodges said. “She always says, ‘once a Lady Norse, always a Lady Norse.’”
Eaton said NKU has posted the position and will start reviewing applications on April 16, and that there has been a number of contacts from people that are interested in the position.
“Not that we will ever fill Nancy Winstel’s shoes, but with the reclassification to Division I, combined with the fact that we have an outstanding women’s basketball program and athletic program, I think we will attract some quality candidates to try and take over the position for her,” Eaton said.

Winstel said that this time of the year makes it a good time to bring in a new coach, because the new coach will have a fresh start in the transition to Division I.
“I think they will bring in someone who will continue to move the program forward,” Winstel said.
Winstel is unsure what the future has in store for her.

“I really don’t have any plans right now,” Winstel said. “I think my family is a little concerned about that because I get bored very easily. But I think I just want to take a step back. I haven’t had a two-week vacation in I can’t tell you how long. So in a month from now I might be tremendously bored, but I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what is in store for me at this point. I may never work again, I may never coach again and I might. Who knows?”