INA – Rend Lake College women’s basketball coach Glenn Box has found a new place to call home. After three seasons with the Lady Warriors in Ina, he has accepted an assistant coaching position at Western Michigan University.
Box, 33, of Mt. Vernon is part of a major overhaul to Lady Broncos basketball. His appointement, along with the hiring of two other assistant coaches and a new director of basketball, comes right on the heels of the April 19 announcement that WMU named Tasha McDowell its head women’s coach. Including her former role as defensive coordinator for the Wisconsin Badgers, McDowell brings 11 years of coaching experience to a Broncos program that finished 13-19 last season.
Box started coaching at RLC as an assistant under men’s head coach Tim Wills. He took the helm of women’s basketball in 2005 and coached three seasons with the Lady Warriors, building a record of 64-31 and taking his team to the Region XXIV championship game in his second season. The Lady Warriors were nationally ranked the past two years.
Monday was the first day in his new office at WMU in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“It’s fantastic,” Box said. “The opportunity to just coach basketball is unbelieveable. Any time you have the chance to do what you truly love, you feel fortunate and blessed.”
The promotion means a pay raise and the ability to focus solely on basketball while at work. At RLC, Box was a full-time counselor in the Student Transfer and Retention Support program, in addition to his role as a basketball coach. He said his wife and children will join him soon in their new setting.
“It’s exciting when you have an opportunity to achieve a goal,” he said of coaching at NCAA Division I. “It is an exciting feeling.”
The news of Box’s departure means a homecoming for Julie Sweetin.
Sweetin, one of Box’s former Lady Warriors (2006) and Benton High School standout from the Class of 2004, will call Southern Illinois home once again after accepting the position as head women’s basketball coach at RLC.
“I’m really excited to be back at Rend Lake College,” Sweetin said. “I hope to keep building on the solid program here.”
Before transferring from RLC to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, she played a year at Southeast Missouri State. Before that, Sweetin was her high school class Valedictorian and active in basketball, and track and field. In high school, she was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association First-Team All-State, shattered the 1,000-point mark with 1,584 and was a four-time selection for Southern Illinois Coaches Association All-South honors.
“I think Julie is going to do an incredible job at Rend Lake College, “ Box said. “In the nine years I have been a coach, she is probably the hardest working player I have ever been around – men or women. I think she will take that work ethic and do fantastic things. She is going to lead those players ... in the right direction.”
Sweetin’s basketball career has been anything but smooth sailing after high school. Adversity for her has come in the form of knee surgery after knee surgery – seven, in the past three years, to be exact.
“Even though I have had a lot of trying times with this injury, I am still enthusiastic about the game,” she said. “
The 22-year-old daughter of Vernon and Karole Sweetin recently graduated from SIUE with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Although some might deem her age a weakness in the world of coaching college basketball, Sweetin sees it as a strength. She is energetic, enthusiastic and can relate to the players, she explained.
She will have a returning sophomore cast of All-Region and All-Conference player Kemmy Dominique (Miami), Natasha Bonner (Memphis, Tenn.), Dominique Cox (Miami), Morgan Wheat (Fairfield), Christin Wiegel (Mt. Vernon), Jaleesa Octalien (Atlanta) and Sky Greenwood (Cleveland, Ohio).
Box put in some recruiting miles before leaving. In preparation for next season, he signed Ebony Wilson and Kujuania Walker of Shabaz High in New Jersey, Megan Clark of Olive Branch, Miss., Candyce Flynn of Cleveland Central High School, Michel’le Houston of Cairo, Ill., and Natasha Thomas of Toronto. With the returning sophomores, Sweetin has 13 players to start things off. Box said the target is 12 and a team can have as many as 15.
Box said his new boss is “fantastic!
“She is great. I really feel like she is going to do some special things here at Western Michigan. I think great things are in store.”
Sweetin said her experiences playing for three different college programs – and three coaches with varying styles – will be a tool, she said.
“I have seen the pros and cons of different coaches. If I put those together, there can be a lot of positive things to come out of this. I will be very demanding on the basketball court. But, at the same time, I will be good at helping my players balance their academic and athletic schedules.”
According to Sweetin, with assistant coach Tommy Hayes not able to help out in the upcoming season and assistant coach Alex Wellmaker moving out of the area, she has asked someone to help and is waiting for his or her answer.
For all things athletic at RLC, visit online at www.rlc.edu.