Stan Heath named Head Basketball Coach at Eastern Michigan

An Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball alumnus is coming home. A three-year letterwinner from 1985-87 and 17-year head coaching veteran, Stan Heath is returning to the Ypsilanti campus to become the program’s 30th head coach. Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee made the announcement today, April 12.

Heath will be formally introduced to the EMU community Tuesday, April 13, at 10:30 a.m. with a press conference inside the Convocation Center. While the event is not open to the general public, the press conference will be streamed live at

 “We are so thrilled to welcome back Stan Heath as our new head men’s basketball coach,” said Wetherbee. “One of the key messages I heard throughout the search process was the desire to find someone with Eastern Michigan connections as well as someone with a strong head coaching pedigree. In hiring Coach Heath, we absolutely have that person. He is a proven winner in both the collegiate and professional ranks, and his focus on positively impacting the lives of our student-athlete is infectious. We cannot wait to have him and his family back on campus and reintroducing them to the Eastern Michigan family.”

The 56-year old Heath has accumulated 13 years of collegiate head coaching experience with four NCAA tournament appearances and one NIT appearance. Highlighted by an Elite Eight appearance in 2002 at Mid-American Conference foe Kent State University, Heath has also guided the University of Arkansas (2006 and 2007) and the University of South Florida (2010 and 2012) to the postseason.

Furthermore, Heath is a three-time Coach of the Year winner (MAC – 2003; Big East – 2012; NBA G League – 2021).

“I’m thrilled to return to my alma mater as the head men’s basketball coach,” Heath remarked. “I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by President Smith and our Athletic Director Scott Wetherbee to lead this program. Eastern Michigan is a special place for me and my family. I look forward to working with our student-athletes and implementing a style and systems that excites our students, community, and alumni. Our goal is to win Mid-American Conference championships and be a perennial NCAA team.”

An outstanding recruiter throughout his career, Heath’s signing classes have garnered national recognition. National media outlets ranked his efforts among the top 15 in the country in 2003, 2004, and 2006. In his tenure as a head coach, he has directed a total of nine players to all-league accolades and his rosters have featured a pair of freshman All-Americans, two conference defensive players of the year, and one sixth man of the year.

Most recently, Heath guided Orlando Magic’s NBA G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, to a regular-season record of 9-6 (.600), including five victories in its final six games. The 5-1 finish earned Lakeland the sixth seed in the NBA G League Playoffs, where it went on to win the franchise’s first NBA G League championship. For his efforts, he was named the 2020-21 NBA G League Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year.

Hired in 2017 as Lakeland’s first head coach, Heath led the Magic to a record of 94-63 (.599) in four seasons. Lakeland posted a winning record each season under Heath, including a franchise-best 32-18 (.640) in 2018-19.

In 2020-21, the Magic sparkled on defense under Heath, leading the NBA G League in points allowed (101.5) and defensive rating (101.0). Lakeland also held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage (42.5) and three-point field goal percentage (29.1).

Before making the transition to the professional ranks, Heath worked three years as an assistant coach for Boston College under then Head Coach Jim Christian. Christian previously worked as an assistant coach with Heath at Kent State in 2001-02.

Heath previously coached South Florida from 2008-14. While he was at USF, the Bulls recorded a pair of 20-win seasons and made an appearance in both the NIT (2009-10) and NCAA Tournament (2011-12).

No season was more special than the 2011-12 campaign, when Heath led the Bulls to their first NCAA Tournament in 20 years, tied the school record for wins in a season (22), and set the school record for conference wins in a season (12). He was named the Big East Conference Coach of the Year and helped USF get its first ever-wins in the NCAA Championship, as the Bulls advanced to the third round and fell one game shy of advancing to the “Sweet 16”.

The Bulls also set the school record for scoring defense, holding opponents to a stifling 56.6 points per game. USF’s scoring defense during 18 league contests (56.9 points per game) was a Big East record as well. Overall, Heath’s team won five conference road games, their most ever, including a signature win at No. 18 Louisville.

In his third season in Tampa, Heath led the Bulls to USF’s third 20-win season ever with a 20-13 record, and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2002 as the Bulls hosted NC State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Bulls also earned their first win in the Big East Championship and registered the school’s best regular season Big East record with nine wins, more than doubling the previous season’s four.

During the 2010-11 campaign Heath and the Bulls battled a pair of NCAA Final Four teams to overtime, defeating Virginia Commonwealth, 60-59 in Tampa and coming up short, 66-61, to eventual National Champion UConn in Hartford. The Bulls also took Sweet 16 team, BYU, to double overtime (77-75) and just lost by one point, 59-58, to Sweet 16 qualifier Marquette. USF ended the season with the 17th strongest schedule in the country, according to

The season was highlighted in the first round of the Big East Championship, when No. 15-seed USF overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to upset No. 10-seed Villanova, 70-69. The Bulls trailed 49-33 at halftime, making the 16-point comeback the largest halftime deficit overcome in Big East Championship history. It was also USF’s first victory over Villanova and USF’s second-straight first-round win in the tournament.

USF led the conference in free throw shooting in 2010-11, hitting 74.3 percent (248-334) in league play. The Bulls’ best night was an 88.9 percent (8-of-9) night against No. 9 Georgetown. Against DePaul on Jan. 27, the Bulls hit 12-of-12 in the first half and finished the night 17-of-21. The Bulls shot better than 70 percent in all but four league games that year.

The excitement of the 2009-10 season began to hit new heights when USF registered back-to-back victories over ranked teams against No. 17 Pittsburgh (Jan. 31) and at No. 7 Georgetown (Feb. 3). The win over the Hoyas was USF’s first-ever road win over a Top 10 team.

On Jan. 23 in Rhode Island, Heath and the Bulls defeated Providence 109-105 in overtime for the first road victory of the season, which sparked a four-game Big East winning streak: at Providence, Seton Hall, No. 17 Pittsburgh, and at No. 7 Georgetown. During the four-game winning streak, USF earned national recognition, receiving votes in the Feb. 8 Associated Press Poll. USF had feature stories in national media as well, including Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Sporting News, to name a few.

USF finished with three straight wins to end the regular season, including a road win at DePaul and a 75-68 win over UConn, which was an NCAA bubble team at the time.

USF won nine games away from the Sun Dome in 2009-10 (9-8), an enormous improvement over the previous season (2-15). The Bulls won three league games on the road in 2009-10, and only one in 2008-09.

Under Heath’s tutelage, USF was led by an explosive junior guard named Dominique Jones, who ended the year as the only player in the country averaging at least 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. At Providence, he had 46 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. He was a first team All-Big East player, won the Big East scoring title and was named to the AP Honorable Mention All-America Team.

In his second season at USF, Heath led the Bulls to their most Big East wins (at the time) in 2008-09 and engineered the school’s first victory against a top-10 ranked team. The Bulls posted a 7-7 record at home, highlighted by a 57-56 win on Feb. 6, 2009 against No. 8 Marquette, ending a 32-game losing streak to teams ranked in the top 10.

In his seven seasons in Tampa, Heath guided two players to All-Big East honors, including first-team selection Kentrell Gransberry in 2007-08 and record-setting guard Dominique Jones, who captured first team honors his junior season and honorable mention laurels as a freshman and sophomore after being a unanimous pick on the All-Rookie Team.

Heath arrived at USF after serving as head coach at the University of Arkansas for five seasons. While with the Razorbacks, Heath guided the program to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances (2006, 2007) and an overall record of 82-71. UA posted 20-win campaigns in each of his final two seasons, and 2006-07 was highlighted by a run to the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and subsequent participation in the NCAAs.

Heath got his first collegiate head coach job at Kent State in 2002. Under his guidance, the Golden Flashes finished with a 30–6 record that year and won the MAC regular-season and tournament titles. KSU came within a victory of reaching the Final Four before falling to Indiana at the South Regional finals of the NCAA Tournament.

Along the way, the Golden Flashes set school and MAC records for wins (30) and became the first MAC team to reach the Elite Eight since Ohio in 1964. KSU recorded a league-record 21-game winning streak, including a 17–1 mark in conference play. Overall, the Flashes beat three ranked teams in the NCAA Tournament, including No. 20 Oklahoma State, 69–61, No. 8 University of Alabama, 71–58, and No. 9 University of Pittsburgh, 78–73 in overtime.

KSU led the MAC in scoring defense (64.0 ppg), scoring margin (+11.9 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.418), rebounding margin (+5.0 rpg), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24), while also ranking second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.326), and turnover margin (+2.78). Of note, Kent State suffered its five regular season losses by a total of 15 points.

Individually, Heath’s 30 wins are tied for the third-most by a first-year head coach in NCAA Division I history with John Warren of Oregon (1945). Only Bill Guthridge of North Carolina (34 in 1998) and Bill Hodges of Indiana State (33 in 1979) won more. Heath was also voted the MAC Coach of the Year and named the national Rookie Coach of the Year by both and

Heath began his collegiate career at Hillsdale College in 1989 as an assistant. After one season, he moved to Albion College where he was an assistant and the junior varsity head coach for two years. He worked at Wayne State University in Detroit the following three years, including serving as associate head coach in 1994 when WSU set a school record for victories (25–5), helping the Tartars win two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) titles with a trip to the NCAA Division II Final Four in 1993.

After two seasons as an assistant at Bowling Green State University, he joined Tom Izzo at Michigan State University where he was an assistant for five years. During his tenure, MSU advanced to the Final Four on three occasions (1999, 2000 and 2001), highlighted by the national championship in 2000. The Spartans compiled an overall record of 132-37 during his stay in East Lansing and also made one more Sweet 16 (1998) trip and participated in the National Invitation Tournament (1997).

On March 19, 2001, Sports Illustrated featured “five college coaches waiting in the wings.” Heath was on that list, along with assistant Leonard Perry of Iowa State, Florida assistant John Pelphrey, head coach Jeff Ruland of Iona and Hofstra head coach Jay Wright. A month after that, he was named the head coach at Kent State.

Heath began his coaching career at the prep level, working for one season (1987-88) at Ypsilanti’s Lincoln High School.

The 6-foot-1 former backup point guard played collegiate basketball at Eastern Michigan from 1983-87, earning varsity letters each of his last three seasons. Overall, Heath played in 65 contests in his career in the Green and White uniform.

Before arriving at EMU, Heath received all-state honors as a prep at Catholic Central High School in Detroit.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in social science form Eastern Michigan in 1988 and went on to receive a master’s degree in sports administration from Wayne State in 1993.

Heath earned his bachelor’s degree in social science in 1988. He went on to complete his master’s work in sports administration in 1993 at Wayne State University.

His family includes his wife, Ramona, and two sons, Jordan and Joshua.

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