Highlights from the Huskies 60-49 victory over Miami (Ohio). Freshmen Kelly Smith and Renee Sladek each recorded double-doubles as NIU limited the RedHawks to less than 50 points, the fifth different opponent to score in the 40s.
Highlights from NIU's season-opening win over Illinois State, 55-51. Freshman Kelly Smith scored 17-points to lead the Huskies in scoring. It was NIU's first season-opening win since 2009.
Longtime assistant coach Kevin McManaman is in his third season with the Huskies and joined the program in late May of 2012. A veteran in the coaching industry, McManaman has 17 years under his belt as an assistant coach, while also serving as Director of Basketball Operations and Associate Athletic Director during his career. His wide-ranging talents include the ability to recruit the Midwest area, coordinate travel, scout and manage video scouting, handle administrative duties, teach skills, player development, run camps, practice planning, and game planning. McManaman's well-rounded portfolio even includes three years as an assistant softball coach that resulted in a 2000 Division III National Championship with St. Mary's (Minn.).
"I'm very happy to have the opportunity to get Coach Mac to NIU," said Bennett. "His background in recruiting couldn't be a better fit. More importantly than that, his beliefs about how the game should be played and taught mirror ours. Kevin's personality and his energy are definitely huge positives."
"Kathi Bennett`s national name and recognition was a huge eye opener for me," said McManaman, who will serve as recruiting coordinator for NIU. "I've known her for a number of years and seen what she's done. Her success speaks for itself. I'm very excited to learn under her. I'm going to contribute what I can to make the program even better and be a positive influence on the players. The other part about being a Huskie is that it gives me a chance to get back to Illinois," McManaman said. "We have family all around the western suburbs."
This past season, McManaman was in charge of the NIU backcourt, leading the starting trio of guards to an assist/turnover ratio of 1.24. Junior guard Amanda Corral would go on to claim Third Team All-Mid American Conference honors during the season, as well as Academic All-District honors from CoSIDA as she maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for the third-straight year.
His other pupils, Ally Lehman and Danny Pulliam, each had their respective accomplishments as Pulliam returned from two microfracture surgeries in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to lead NIU in assists with 88. Lehman, who completed her freshman season in March 2014, was second on the squad in assists with 73, the most by any freshman in the MAC, as she absorbed point guard duties later in the season.
McManaman came to NIU after spending two seasons as an assistant coach and co-recruiting coordinator with the Milwaukee Panthers of the Horizon League, which features several familiar opponents for the Huskies year in, year out. In those two seasons, McManaman assisted with on-floor coaching, practice planning and skill development of post players. Three of his recruits (Ashley Green, Courtney Lindfors, Angela Rodriguez) were named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team and one was the conference's 2010-11 Newcomer of the Year (Angela Rodriguez). He also helped coach a first team All-Horizon League selection (Lindsay Laur).
Prior to joining the Panthers, McManaman was an assistant at Dominican University (Chicago) in 2009-10 after a short evaluator stint with Blue Star Recruiting Services.
Milwaukee was not McManaman's first stop in the Horizon League as he had an impressive tenure with the Illinois Chicago Flames from 2002-2009. An integral part of the Flames' ascension to the top of the league, McManaman helped UIC find unprecedented success, advancing to the post-season for the first time in school history with a WNIT berth in 2006-07. The season prior, the Flames advanced to the league championship game, where they fell to Milwaukee, 71-63. The 2007 team also set a school record with 19 wins and had a school-record 11-game winning streak.
During his time with the Flames, 13 players earned All-League awards, five were named to the league's All-Newcomer Team and one was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year.
McManaman broke into Division I coaching at another Milwaukee school, Marquette. He joined the Golden Eagle staff in 2001 as a special assistant and was an assistant coach for the 2001-02 season before heading to UIC.
Before Marquette, McManaman spent eight years at St. Mary's University in various capacities. In addition to serving as an assistant women's basketball coach for seven seasons, he spent three seasons as an assistant softball coach, five years as assistant director of admissions, one season as assistant facilities director and sport science instructor, and had a four-month stretch as associate athletic director.
McManaman earned his bachelor's degree in communications from St. Mary's in 1992. He earned his master's in sport administration from UW-La Crosse in 1999. A native of LaGrange, Ill., McManaman has a five-year-old son, Dylan.