Julie Heisey Steps Down As SPU Women's Basketball Coach
Julie Heisey amassed 271 wins in 13 years at Seattle Pacific and has 433 total wins as a collegiate head coach. Photo by Skip Hickey.
Julie Heisey amassed 271 wins in 13 years at Seattle Pacific and has 433 total wins as a collegiate head coach. Photo by Skip Hickey.

Monday, June 25, 2018
by Seattle Pacific Athletic Communications

SEATTLE – Julie Heisey is hanging up her whistle and her clipboard.
Heisey, who guided Seattle Pacific to eight NCAA Division II National Tournaments, an Elite Eight appearance, and four Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships, has stepped down as head women's basketball coach of the Falcons.
"The biggest thing is, life is short. Coaching is really demanding, and it's understanding that there is only so much time," Heisey said. "When you look at the calendar from October through March, you don't get two days off in a row. My parents are in their 90s, and my husband's parents are in their 80s. It's just knowing that I don't want to sell my players short, and I don't want to have any regrets with family."
SPU athletic director Jackson Stava said the team will miss having Heisey at the helm, but he was understanding of her decision and her reasons for it.
"We are extremely grateful for the impact that Coach Heisey has had on this program for the last 13 years," Stava said. "While we are greatly saddened by Julie moving on from SPU, we are also very supportive of her decision as it is yet another reflection of the character that has defined Julie's tenure as coach.
"There are not words to express the level of thanks we have for her time here at SPU and wish her nothing but the best in this next chapter of her life."
Last season, Heisey's 13th in Seattle, was one of the program's best. The team put together a 23-8 record, its first 20-win season since going 22-7 in 2014-15. Included were a two-game season sweep of arch-rival Western Washington, and two victories against nationally ranked Alaska Anchorage.
The second win versus the Seawolves was 74-65 in the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament, which was played on Anchorage's home court. That gave the Falcons their first-ever appearance in the GNAC title game, which ultimately was won by Montana State Billings, 71-61.
"This past year was amazing. We had a lot of great moments," Heisey said. "We were in the conference championship game, and obviously that was really fun. And I just loved our team."
Arriving at Seattle Pacific in the summer of 2005 as Julie van Beek, she took over the program from Gordy Presnell, who had a highly successful 18-year tenure before moving on to the head coaching job at Boise State.
In her 13 seasons, Heisey's teams went 271-105. When added to the nine years she spent at Trevecca Nazarene in Nashville, Tennessee – a program she started from scratch and ultimately took to six NAIA national tournaments – her overall mark as a head coach is 433-224. Her 200th, 300th, and 400th career victories all came with the Falcons.
Heisey's teams went 167-67 in the GNAC, winning the crown in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and sharing the title (with Alaska Anchorage) in 2009.
Seattle Pacific advanced to the NCAA West Regional title game in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. The 2010 squad made it all the way to the Elite Eight in St. Joseph, Missouri.
For all of the success her teams enjoyed on the court, Heisey also emphasized success in the classroom and recruited players who could handle both. During her tenure, the Falcons had 79 GNAC All-Academic selections, 11 players voted to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, and three who earned CoSIDA Academic All-America acclaim. This past season's group achieved a combined cumulative grade-point average of 3.52.
Heisey and husband Randy, who live in the Greenwood neighborhood not far from campus, plan to remain in the Seattle area. She will stay at SPU for the next few weeks to conduct already-scheduled basketball camps.
"The program is in a good place, and I want to help our kids transition and find their own identity," she said, "and hopefully just make sure that whoever comes in is able to step into a situation that is good, because our kids deserve that."
The process of searching for and selecting the next coach will begin immediately.
"While this closes a great chapter of SPU basketball, there is no doubt that this program can continue to cultivate excellence and character, and will continue pushing forward to set the standard for excellence within NCAA Division II athletics," Stava said.