College women’s basketball: St. Scholastica’s Stacy Deadrick reflects on 27 years leading her alma mater

Esko native, who won 324 games, will remain on campus in an administrative role.

St. Scholastica women’s basketball coach Stacy Deadrick is resigning after 27 years and 324 wins for the Saints. (Photo courtesy CSS Athletics)

It’s pretty easy to estimate the number of young women impacted during St. Scholastica women’s basketball coach Stacy Deadrick’s nearly three decades leading the program.

All it takes is simple math: 27 (years) x 15 (players per season) = 405.

And that’s just as a coach. Deadrick has also had an impact in an administrative role, and now, she is resigning as coach to assume an administrative role, the school announced Thursday.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Deadrick said. “It’s bittersweet sometimes to let go of something you’ve loved to do for so long, but at the same time, I think it’s time to hang up the whistle and let somebody else take the helm.”

Deadrick, an Esko native and CSS alum, is one of the deans of Northland college coaches. She earned 324 coaching victories in 27 years leading the Saints. She coached the Saints to their first NCAA Division III tournament appearance in 2012-13. The following season, Deadrick earned Upper Midwest Athletic Conference coach of the year honors after leading the Saints to a program-record 11 conference victories while tying for the second-most overall wins (16) in her St. Scholastica tenure.


In her new role, Deadrick, 53, will serve as Assistant Director of Athletics of Facilities and Event Management, Senior Women’s Administrator and Title IX Deputy.

“We are fortunate to be keeping Stacy’s knowledge and history within our department,” interim athletic director Merissa Edwards said in a release. “She has been a valuable asset to Saints’ athletics for multiple decades. Stacy will forever be connected to the women’s basketball program, not only as a player, but also as a legendary coach in women’s athletics.”

The move coincides with St. Scholastica’s transition from the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference into the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Saints’ first official day in the MIAC was July 1.

“There was an opportunity that came my way moving into the MIAC, with consideration to our administrative structure,” Deadrick said. “A full-time job was basically presented to me, and I made a decision to jump into the administrative role full time. As sad as it is to give up coaching, I had a lot on my plate, so I think it was the direction I needed to go to help the process and the transition into the MIAC.”

Deadrick said most people don’t realize how much she has done on the administrative front. She has served the past few years as assistant athletic director and has served at least the past 15 years as the Saints’ Senior Women’s Administrator. She has helped with coaching hires and searches and could often be seen helping out at Reif Gymnasium for men’s basketball games.

“Sometimes it basically felt like there were two jobs I was doing, so when they created the opportunity to make the one job full time, I felt this was the right thing to do,” Deadrick said. “I think it was fair to the team to have a head coach who would be coaching, and then me in an administrative role.”

That’s not to say it has been easy. Late July probably isn’t ideal in terms of losing your head basketball coach and finding a quality replacement.

The MIAC is a more competitive league than the UMAC, and the Saints are entering it not having had a winning season since going 14-12 and 9-7 in UMAC play in 2017-18. That stretch of three straight losing seasons includes an uncharacteristic 0-9 mark and 0-6 this past season, but what has been characteristic about the past year?


Deadrick said the fact she isn’t going anywhere will help get everyone acclimated. But while she isn’t even changing offices, she said this sure feels different.

“I’ve never had to do this in 27 years. It’s like you’re moving to a different job, so you have to talk everyone through the process,” Deadrick said. “That was the tough part, talking to staff who have been dedicated to the program and trying to explain the transition ... that’s been tough, but the players’ responses have been nothing but understanding. They know we’re all in this transition together, and because I’m still here, I can help with that transition, and they know that they’ll be taken care of.”

Deadrick, then Pelletier, played at St. Scholastica from 1987-1991. She was a starter on the Saints’ 1987-88 National Little College Athletic Association national championship team and finished her playing career at CSS as the program leader in steals (436) and currently ranks fifth in assists (265) and 11th in scoring (1,036 points).

Only three years after graduating from St. Scholastica in 1991, she was back as the Saints’ women’s basketball coach. She’s been there every year since.

Deadrick said she has received nothing but support and kindness from the St. Scholastica community, in particular, her former players. She said they vowed to still gather every year for the alumni game, and they’re more than willing and eager to meet the new coach and be supportive.

“That just makes me so excited and proud to know that we did things the right way,” Deadrick said when reached by phone Thursday night. “There have been a lot of smiles and tears today with the outreach of texts and emails I’ve received from former players and coaches.

“I can’t express the unbelievable gratitude and gratefulness for all the kind words that have been sent to me. It’s been one of those things, where you’re not sure about the response, but after today, it reinforced why I enjoyed coaching for 27 years, because the people I coached are just amazing human beings.”

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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