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Eric Peterson, Published June 17 2013

Valley City State’s women’s basketball coach leaves post after 14 seasons

FARGO – Jill DeVries wants to try something new. She resigned as head women’s basketball coach at Valley City State after 14 seasons, the university announced on Monday.

“Basketball has been such an important part of my life for 30-plus years,” said DeVries, who graduated from Glyndon-Felton High School in 1987. “I’m at the point where I was going to do this forever or try something different.”

DeVries led the Vikings to the NAIA Division II national tournament the past three seasons, including a school-record 24 wins last season.

“She has definitely raised the expectations of the program to new levels,” said VCSU athletic director Jack Denholm.

DeVries – who was a standout basketball player at North Dakota State where she played on the 1991 national championship team – said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave coaching.

“It wasn’t something that happened overnight. I have been considering it,” DeVries said. “College coaching is a lifestyle. It’s something you do every day, all day. I don’t want my life to be my job.”

Denholm said the search for finding a replacement will begin immediately, and he would like to hire a new head coach as quickly as possible.

“I think we will have some good interest,” said Denholm.

In 2011, DeVries guided the women’s basketball program to its first trip to the national tournament. The team followed that up with two more trips.

“I enjoyed my time here,” DeVries said. “I feel good about where the program is at. … I feel good about leaving the program in a good spot.”

Denholm said the players in the program respected DeVries.

“They looked up to her as a role model,” Denholm said. “She wanted to do well on the basketball court, but she also demanded a lot in the classroom.”


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