Former Swede wins national coaching honor

By Steve Sell
April 15, 2015
Rock Valley College

One-time Bethany College basketball player Misty Opat has been named the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year by Spalding.

Opat just completed her sixth year at Rock Valley (Ill.) College. She recently led the Golden Eagles to their third NJCAA Division III national title in the last four years, with a second-place national finish in 2014. She has a record of 153-47 at the school, 66-10 in conference play.

“I am very humbled by the Coach of the Year award, this is certainly a group award, all of the success we have had would not have been possible without being surrounded by awesome assistant coaches, great players and amazing administrators," Opat said in a press release. “I also want to thank everyone for my time at Bethany College. It was the best thing that ever happened to me in regards to college, the support I received there allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a successful college coach."

Before Rock Valley, Opat was an assistant coach at Fresno State in 1998-99, Kansas from 1995-98 and Illinois-Chicago from 1999-2002. Opat was a two-year team captain at Garden City Community College. She moved on to Bethany where she earned NAIA D-II All-America honors. 

She also serves as the school’s athletic director.