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College women's basketball: Mulhern leaving UWS

Wisconsin-Superior head basketball coach Don Mulhern celebrates as the Yellowjackets cut down the net after winning the UMAC Tournament championship game last season. (Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram)

After guiding the Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team to new heights, head coach Don Mulhern is leaving for the same job at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

Mulhern’s assistant, Zach Otto-Fisher, becomes the interim head coach. Otto-Fisher is a 2008 UWS graduate and joined Mulhern’s staff last year.

“I realize the timing of this is not ideal, and I also realize that there is never an ideal time to leave a place that you love. The program couldn’t ask for a better person to seamlessly transition than Zach Otto-Fisher, and with his enthusiasm and knowledge, and this team’s strong leadership, the future is very bright for this year’s team,” Mulhern said in a statement. “I will be their biggest fan, and a part of me will always be with them, rooting them on.”

At St. Kate’s, which competes in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Mulhern will replace Sean Pinkerton, who left to take over at Oswego State (N.Y.).

Mulhern arrived at UWS in 2006 and immediately went to work turning around a stagnant program that struggled for relevancy in the WIAC. In 2012, the Yellowjackets ended a nearly decade-long drought by qualifying for the WIAC playoffs. They did the same the following season and, in 2014, UWS reached the conference championship game for the first time in school history.

A year later, Mulhern, star player Sally Linzmeier and the Yellowjackets captured their first WIAC regular-season title, again advancing to the league final.

Greater success followed after UWS bolted the WIAC for the UMAC ahead of 2015-16, including an unblemished 32-0 record in regular-season games, two UMAC championships — regular season and postseason — and, for the first time in program history, back-to-back NCAA tournaments.

Mulhern departs as the school’s all-time wins leader with a mark of 149-142, including 101-37 over the past five seasons.