In her decade at the helm of the Central Michigan women’s basketball program, Sue Guevara has taken the Chippewas to a level of success not seen in Mount Pleasant in more than a generation.
In 2016-17, Guevara led CMU to one of the very best seasons in program history, as the Chippewas claimed their first regular-season Mid-American Conference championship since 1985, won the second-most games in program history, and made their sixth post-season tournament appearance in the last seven years.
The Chippewas’ 23 victories in 2016-17 rank as the second most in program history, and CMU’s 15 MAC wins (against three losses) tied for the third most by a Chippewa squad.
Guevara became CMU’s all-time winningest women’s basketball coach with a 70-64 victory at Ohio on Feb. 15. It was her 172nd win on the Chippewa bench, as she passed Donita Davenport, who earned 171 wins as the Chippewa mentor from 1984-96. Guevara brings a 176-142 mark as CMU’s coach into the 2017-18 season, and she has 299 career wins.
The Guevara-led 2016-17 Chippewas provided myriad highlights, including program record scoring, blocked shot, and 3-point single-game performances; four games in which they surpassed the 100-point plateau; win streaks of six and then seven games; and a perfect 3-0 mark in overtime games.
Individual accolades followed the team success, as Tinara Moore and Presley Hudson were named to the All-MAC First Team, while Rayna Frost and Jewel Cotton were named to the third team. It marked the first time since 1991 that CMU has had as many as two players named to the All-MAC First Team.
Moore received the MAC Defensive Player of the Year Award after leading the conference in blocked shots. Frost was the conference leader, and ranked sixth nationally, in rebounds per game. Hudson knocked down 92.6 percent of her free throw attempts, also tops in the MAC and an impressive fourth among all Division I players in the nation.
The Chippewas shined just as brightly off the court as they did on, as a record six earned Academic All-MAC honors.
The season was the latest in a string of successes for Guevara, who has built the Chippewas into a perennial contender in the MAC.
Eight times in program history the Chippewas have won at least 20 games in a season; six of those 20-win campaigns have come in the past seven years under Guevara.
Over that span, Guevara has led the Chippewas to a regular-season MAC title, a MAC Tournament title, three MAC West titles, and six post-season bids, including a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2013.
The track record has come not only against stiff in-conference competition, but outside as well as Guevara has consistently put her troops on the floor against the best of the best.
CMU opened the 2016-17 season with a visit to top-ranked Notre Dame. Among the other elite programs the Chippewas have gone head-to-head with during Guevara’s tenure are South Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon, Purdue and Duke.
Of the Chippewas’ nine losses last season, just one came at home, and that was to Elon, a team that won both the Colonial Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships, finished 27-7, and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Chippewas finished 15-1 at McGuirk Arena, a program high for home-court wins.
Elon was one of eight Chippewa opponents who finished the season within the top 100 in RPI. At 43, CMU closed the season with the best RPI ranking among the 12 MAC schools.
The 2016-17 season began with high expectations after Guevara guided the young Chippewas to a surprising 22-11 finish and a MAC West title in 2015-16. Guevara was named the MAC Coach of the Year, becoming the first Chippewa women’s basketball coach to accomplish that feat in more than three decades.
That squad, led by Hudson, the MAC Freshman of the Year Award winner, along with Moore, Frost and Cotton reached the MAC Tournament title game, where it fell in overtime, and went on to earn a berth in the WNIT.
Guevara’s ledger of players who have earned individual league honors during her time at CMU includes three who have been named the league freshman of the year, four who have garnered the Sixth Player of the Year Award, eight who have been named to the all-freshman squad, two who have been named the league defensive player of the year, and two who have captured the MAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Award.
Among those to capture several of those individual honors is Crystal Bradford, who closed a brilliant collegiate career in 2015 as CMU’s career leader in points, rebounds, field goals made and blocked shots.
Bradford, twice named to the All-MAC First Team, was named the MAC Player of the Year and the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. She was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2015 with the seventh pick in the WNBA draft, becoming the first Chippewa drafted by a WNBA team, and, at No. 7, the highest pick in history to come from a MAC institution.
She is also the only player in program history to earn Women’s Basketball Coaches of America Region 4 All-American nominee honors, claiming the honor in both 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Under Guevara, 11 players have joined CMU's 1,000-point club, four of whom rank in the top-10 in career scoring.
Among the other highlights of Guevara's tenure:
• A single-game attendance record, 5,195, for a home game against Georgetown on Nov. 25, 2010.
• Defeating the highest-ranked team in program history, No. 12/14 Purdue, on Dec. 11, 2011, which was also the first victory in McGuirk Arena.
• An upset of No. 23 Louisville on Dec. 2, 2010, which was the final win in Rose Center.
Guevara was named to head the Chippewa program in April, 2007, bringing three decades of collegiate coaching experience, including seven (1996-2003) as the head coach at Michigan.
Guevara compiled a 123-82 record at U-M and her 123 victories are more than any coach in Wolverine women’s basketball history. U-M had finished a combined 20-88 in the four seasons prior to Guevara’s arrival in Ann Arbor.
Guevara took Michigan into the national spotlight, leading it to five postseason appearances including NCAA Tournament berths in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The Wolverines were ranked as high at 12th nationally during the 2001-02 season and again in 2002-03. She was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in both 1998 and in 2000.
In 1999-2000, Guevara’s Wolverines posted 22 victories and finished second in the Big Ten regular-season standings, which remains U-M best finish in conference play. The 22 victories are tied for the most in program history. Four Wolverines were drafted by WNBA teams during Guevara’s tenure.
Guevara served as an assistant at Michigan State under Karen Langeland for nine seasons (1987-1995) before being promoted to associate head coach for her 10th season with MSU. The Spartans posted a record of 149-131 during Guevara's time in East Lansing.
Before MSU, Guevara spent a season as an assistant coach at Ball State after serving as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1984-85. She helped the Buckeyes to the Big Ten championship and a trip to the regional final of the NCAA Tournament.
Guevara led the Big Ten All-Star team on a European tour through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary in 2000. She also was an assistant coach for the 1993 Big Ten tour team that recorded a perfect 6-0 record while playing in England and Scotland.
Guevara's coaching career began on the softball diamond as the head coach at Saginaw Valley State from 1979-84. She also served simultaneously as an assistant coach in the women’s basketball program. She was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Coach of the Year in 1984.
Before coming to CMU, Guevara worked as an assistant for three seasons at Auburn under Nell Fortner, who coached the United States to the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics and 1998 World Championships.
Guevara is a native of Saginaw, Mich., where she attended Saginaw St. Stephens High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in physical education from Saginaw Valley State in 1982 and her master's degree in athletic administration from Ohio State in 1985.
Sue Guevara coaching resumé
|1979-84||Saginaw Valley State||assistant coach|
|1984-85||Ohio State||graduate assistant|
|1985-86||Ball State||assistant coach|
|1986-95||Michigan State||assistant coach|
|1995-96||Michigan State||associate head coach|
|2008-current||Central Michigan||head coach|
|Sue Guevara year-by-year record|
|Season||School||Record||League record||League finish||League
|1996-97||Michigan||15-11||7-9||8th Big Ten||9th|
|1997-98||Michigan||19-10||10-6||3rd Big Ten||3rd||NCAA first round|
|1998-99||Michigan||18-12||8-8||6th Big Ten||5th||WNIT second round|
|1999-2000||Michigan||22-8||13-3||2nd Big Ten||3rd||NCAA first round|
|2000-01||Michigan||19-12||10-6||5th Big Ten||3rd||NCAA second round|
|2001-02||Michigan||17-13||6-10||9th Big Ten||5th||WNIT first round|
|2002-03||Michigan||13-16||3-13||10th Big Ten||5th|
|Total (7 seasons)
|2007-08||CMU||7-22||2-13||6th MAC West||Lost in first round|
|2008-09||CMU||18-14||9-7||4th MAC West||Lost in second round|
|2009-10||CMU||12-18||8-8||3rd MAC West||Lost in second round|
|2010-11||CMU||20-11||8-8||2nd MAC West||Lost in second round||WNIT first round|
|2011-12||CMU||20-16||8-8||3rd MAC West||Lost in championship game||WNIT first round|
|2012-13||CMU||21-11||12-4||3rd MAC West||Wonchampionship||NCAA first round|
|2013-14||CMU||20-12||16-2||1st MAC West||Lost in semifinal||WNIT first round|
|2014-15||CMU||13-18||7-11||6th MAC West||Lost in second round|
|2015-16||CMU||22-11||14-4||1st MAC West||Runner-up||WNIT first round|
|2016-17||CMU||23-9||15-3||1st MAC West, 1st overall||Lost in first round||WNIT first round|
|Total (10 seasons)||176-142||99-68|