STILLWATER, Okla. – Jim Littell has been named head coach of the Oklahoma State University women’s basketball team, OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder has announced. Littell’s appointment is pending approval by the Oklahoma State University/A&M Board of Regents.
One of the most successful head coaches in the nation during his 14 seasons at Seward County (Kan.) Community College, Littell spent the past six years as the program’s associate head coach. He was named OSU’s interim head coach following the Nov. 17 plane crash that took the lives of head coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and OSU supporters Paula and Olin Branstetter.
“Kurt Budke laid the foundation for this program,” Littell said. “It is our goal to continue his vision for Oklahoma State women’s basketball. We know that many challenges await us, but we are excited about the future of our program.”
During his time in Stillwater, Littell has been instrumental in helping OSU reach five consecutive postseasons, including three trips to the NCAA tournament.
“Jim has been a great leader for our program,” Holder said. “The circumstances in which he has had to navigate are obviously very trying but he has been a rock over the past month for our women’s team and for the community.”
A 2009 inductee into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Littell compiled an eye-popping set of numbers at his former post as the Lady Saints won 87 percent of their games, tallying a 418-61 ledger and producing nine Jayhawk West Conference titles under his guidance. Overall, Littell owns a 628-117 mark as a head coach.
A nine-time conference coach of the year, Littell was named the WBCA National Coach of the Year in 2001 and was selected as the top coach in the region on four occasions, earning the distinction in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Littell led Seward County to its first Region VI title in 1999 and followed up with regional titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In both 2000 and 2001, Littell led the Lady Saints to a No. 1 ranking in the final NJCAA poll and a combined record of 32-0 against conference opponents.
His 2002 squad produced three All-Americans, a perfect 38-0 mark and the school’s first-ever national championship in any sport. He was named the NJCAA National Tournament Coach of the Year that same season. The 2001-02 season capped a three-year run by the Lady Saints that produced 104 wins against just two losses.
Under his watch, the Lady Saints recorded seven 30-win seasons. After finishing with a 14-16 record during his first season, Littell’s squads never produced less than 25 wins in a season and averaged nearly 32 wins per year against less than four losses over the course of his final 13 seasons.
The most impressive number of all may have come in the form of Seward County’s home record in his 14 seasons. From 1995-2004, the Lady Saints did not lose a home game, posting a 135-game winning streak inside the SCCC Activities Center to set the NJCAA national record. During the course of his final 13 seasons, Littell’s squads won 99 percent of their home contests, producing an astounding record of 189-2.
Prior to his run at Seward County, Littell spent one season at Garden Plains High School, posting a 21-3 mark. As head coach at Friends University from 1983-88, he produced a 95-39 record and a pair of conference championships. He also served as the assistant men’s coach at Cameron (Okla.) University from 1988-89.
Littell began his coaching career at Oxford High School in 1978 where he produced a 94-14 mark and a Kansas Class 2A state championship in 1981.
A 1977 graduate of Southwestern College, Littell and his wife, Barb, are the parents of two sons, Jerame and Jon, and one daughter, Jaci.