Most coaches know that somewhere along the way, they are going to get fired, or resign. Although not as certain as death and taxes, change is likely.
Southern Illinois University head basketball coach Cindy Stein is no exception.
Peoria native, Stein, was a junior college All-American at Illinois Central College, and the University of Illinois team assist leader in the 1981-82 season. Cindy led the Fighting Illini in assists and steals, and as team captain, in 1982-83.
Cindy is in the Emporia State University Hall of Fame. She was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year after taking a sub .500 team to a DII title game in three short seasons. That success led to a head coaching job at the University of Missouri. Her Missouri teams won 185 games across 12 seasons, making three appearances in the NCAA tournament, and accepting four WNIT bids.
Stein resigned at Missouri after the 2009-2010 season as success was replaced by more losses than wins.
Stints as a sports broadcaster were followed by a homecoming: Stein served as head coach at ICC in the 2012-13 season, and took the Lady Cougars to a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division II tournament.
SIU-Carbondale named her as the Salukis 10th head coach in 2013. Left with only 9 available players for the MVC campaign, Cindy’s first SIU team finished well under .500. But the Salukis responded to Stein’s leadership with four consecutive winning seasons.
In recognition of her playing career, Stein was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame class of 2019. For Cindy Stein, moving on has always led to moving ahead.
Until next time, for Stories Beyond the Scores, I’m Chris Reynolds.
Photo: SIU Athletics.