OFFICIAL: Church named Head Basketball Coach at Northwood

I first mentioned this move back on 4/24 (D2 DIRT). It’s now official – Tom Church is the new head men’s basketball coach at Northwood University. Here’s the official press release from the school:

The Northwood University athletic department has announced the hiring of Tom Church as the head men’s basketball coach. 

He becomes the 11th head coach in the 65-year history of the program. Church replaces Lonnie Griffin, who resigned at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.

“We are thrilled to bring in a coach of Tom’s caliber to our men’s basketball program,” said Northwood University Athletic Director Jeff Curtis. “His track record of success at the Division II level made him the best person for the job in a group of outstanding candidates. I am looking forward to seeing him take our program to new heights.”

Church has spent the previous six seasons as head coach at Tiffin University. He led the Dragons to its first postseason appearance in 21-years in 2022-23 and its first Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament win as well as its first conference tournament semifinal win in 25 years in 2023-24. Tiffin posted 18 wins in 2023-24, the most for the Dragons since 1998-99. The 2022-23 G-MAC Coach of the Year, Church finished his time at Tiffin as the winningest coach in the Division II era at Tiffin (66) while standing third overall in program history in wins. 

Prior to his time at Tiffin, Church spent four season as a head coach at two different schools. He began his time as head coach at Saint Joseph’s College from 2013-17, where the Panthers increased their win totals all four years. Church led Saint Joseph’s to the 2017 the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, the Puma’s first appearance in the event since 2011. When Saint Joseph’s closed in the spring of 2017, Church took over as the head coach at IU Kokomo for one season in 2017-18. In that season, the Cougars set a program record for wins in a season (17) and conference wins (12) while winning a River States Conference tournament game and reaching the semifinals of the event for the first time in school history.

In his time as an assistant coach, Church was a part of numerous successful teams. He spent three seasons at Florida Southern from 2010-13, where the team went 70-25 and reached three NCAA Tournaments. The 2013 team won the South Region Tournament to reach the Elite Eight. Church also spent three seasons as an assistant at Saint Joseph’s, where the team went to two NCAA Tournaments and became the first school in NCAA history to go to the Elite Eight as the eighth seed in 2010.

Church was a four-year player at Ashland University, where he was the team captain in 2003. He earned his degree in Education in 2003 as well as his Master’s of Education in Administration from Ashland in 2006.

Church and his wife Jennifer have three children: Harrison, Evelynn and Vincent. 

“I am honored to be named the next Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Northwood University,” said Church. “I want to thank President Dr. Kent MacDonald, Athletic Director Jeff Curtis and all the members of the hiring committee. 

“My family and I are excited to become part of the Midland Community and Northwood Family.  We are going to establish a standard within our program that everyone can be proud of both on and off the court.”  

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