Michelle Ferenz: Women's Basketball Coach
Women's Basketball Coach
Sherwood Athletic Center, #216
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash. 99362
Office Phone: 509 527-5261
Office FAX: 509 527-5960
Cell Phone: 509 301-8510
Ferenz Celebrates 100th Collegiate Coaching Victory
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Michelle Ferenz, the head women's basketball coach at Whitman, celebrated her 100th collegiate coaching victory in January of 2009 as her team was marching toward a stellar 18-8 season.
Ferenz, who had led Whitman to winning seasons in five of the last six years, also serves as the senior women's administrator and as an assistant athletics director at Whitman.
Her best year on the Whitman hardwood came during the 2003-04 season, when she was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Missionaries to a 19-6 record and share of the conference championship.
Ferenz came to Whitman in the fall of 2001 after several successful seasons as the girls basketball coach at Okanogan High School in north-central Washington. She averaged 18 victories a year in nine winning seasons. Her overall win-loss record was 162-56, which included a school record 22-4 season in 1997-98. Twice named Coach of the Year in the Caribou Trail League, she led three teams to the Class A state tournament.
A 5-foot-11 forward during her own playing days, Ferenz twice earned all-conference honors at Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University-Billings). She graduated with high honors in 1991. Her education degree includes an English major and history minor.
Ferenz, who taught English classes while coaching at Okanogan, completed a master's degree in educational administration in 1998 through Heritage College (Toppenish, Wash.).
Married and the mother of three children, Ferenz left her Okanogan coaching position after the 1999-2000 season, when her family moved to Anacortes, Wash. Her husband, Chris, was the boys' coach at Okanogan for eight years before accepting the same position at Anacortes.
During her one year at Anacortes, Ferenz taught ninth grade English classes and helped coach the junior high girls' basketball team. When she learned of the coaching opening at Whitman, she applied. "I was thrilled to be chosen," she said. "For me, this is a dream job."
Chris Ferenz, who now teaches math and coaches at Walla Walla High School, also helps his spouse (as time allows) with the Whitman women's program. He played four seasons as a 6-foot-8 forward at the University of California-Davis, graduating in 1988 with a degree in kinesiology and biomechanics. His early coaching career included one season at UC-Davis and two seasons at both Eastern Montana and Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College. He also played two seasons of professional basketball in Australia.
Michelle Ferenz began her competitive basketball career at Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, Wash. She made varsity as a freshman and earned second-team all-league honors as a sophomore. Her team won Metro AA titles both seasons, placing third and fifth in the state tournaments. Midway through her junior year, she moved to Auburn, Wash., with her mother and sister. She quickly slipped into a starter's role at Auburn, helping her team win two straight league titles. Individually, she earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior.
After graduating from Auburn with high honors (17th in a class of 600), Ferenz was accepted at a number of colleges. She opted to start her college career closer to home at Highline Community College (Des Moines, Wash.), where she averaged 18 points a game and led her team to north region titles in each of two seasons. She was a two-time, first-team all-conference selection, and she earned MVP honors at the league's 1988 all-star game.
Ferenz continued her college career at Eastern Montana, attracted by both its academic emphasis on the education field and its basketball program. As a junior, she averaged about 13 points per game and earned honorable mention all-conference recognition.
As a senior, she earned second-team all-conference honors, again averaged in double figures in scoring, and led Eastern Montana to a 25-5 record. She also nabbed a spot on the All-Academic First Team.
Having excelled in academics in high school and college, Ferenz enjoys coaching in Whitman's academic setting. "I understand the balancing act that goes into coaching young people who have strong academic interests and full, busy lives," she says. "The situation was very similar at Okanogan. It was a small school and my players were often pulled in many different directions at once. Many of my players were leaders in other activities, and I coached four or five valedictorians in the time I was there. Those players came to practice ready to apply themselves, and we got a lot done in the time that was available. As a coach, you learn to get your players prepared in a short time."