The 2017-18 campaign will be the 14th season for Ric Wesley as the head men’s basketball coach at Grand Valley State. During his time with the Lakers, Wesley has compiled an overall record of 271-116 (.700) and a GLIAC mark of 177-86 (.673). Wesley’s 271 victories are the second-most in program history, while his .700 winning percentage is the best among any Laker men’s basketball coach of more than one season.
Wesley has guided GVSU to a pair of Great Lakes Region championships and subsequent NCAA Elite Eight berths in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Lakers have also won three GLIAC regular season championships, a pair of conference tournament titles, and four GLIAC North Division championships during Wesley's tenure. Grand Valley State has made five NCAA Tournament appearances since Wesley took over the program prior to the 2004-05 campaign.
In his 13 seasons in Allendale, Wesley has coached 26 All-GLIAC honorees (including 13 All-GLIAC First Team selections) and 20 GLIAC All-Defensive Team choices. Eight GVSU players have reached the 1,000 Point Club during his coaching career. Wesley has coached a pair of All-Americans at Grand Valley State, with both players - center Callistus Eziukwu and guard Jason Jamerson - being inducted into the GVSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He was named the GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2007-08 when he also helped Eziukwu earn the GLIAC Player of the Year honor, just the third Laker in program history to be named the league's top player.
In 2016-17, GVSU finished with a 16-13 overall record, which included the 12th GLIAC Tournament appearance in Wesley's 13 seasons as head coach. The Lakers led the GLIAC in points per game allowed (67.4), opponents' field goal percentage (39.2), and rebounding margin per game (+6.1). Seniors Trevin Alexander and Luke Ryskamp were both named to the All-GLIAC Second Team, while Alexander also was voted to the 10-member GLIAC All-Defensive Team.
Grand Valley State posted an 18-11 record in 2015-16, with a 12-10 GLIAC ledger and another berth in the conference tournament. The Lakers earned a 64-53 home victory on Jan. 16 over Michigan Tech; it was the 250th victory for Wesley during his GVSU career. One month later, the Lakers topped #12 Saginaw Valley State 76-73 inside the Fieldhouse Arena for a top-25 upset. After the season, junior Luke Ryskamp was voted to the All-GLIAC Second Team, while senior Chaz Rollins earned GLIAC All-Defensive Team plaudits.
In 2014-15, the Lakers finished the season with a 13-15 record, ending the team's streak of 10 straight trips to the GLIAC Tournament with Wesley at the helm. At the conclusion of the year, both Ricardo Carbajal and Ryan Sabin were named to the All-GLIAC Second Team, while Sabin also garnered All-GLIAC Defensive Team honors.
GVSU went 19-8 during the 2013-14 season, including a 15-7 record in conference games. The Lakers advanced to the GLIAC Tournament for the 10th straight year under Wesley, falling in the quarterfinals to Michigan Tech, the eventual regional runner-up. Following the season, junior Ryan Sabin was named to the All-GLIAC First Team, while senior Rob Woodson earned All-GLIAC Second Team honors.
The 2012-13 Lakers put together a 19-9 overall record, finishing 15-7 in GLIAC play, just one game shy of tying for the conference title. GVSU advanced to the GLIAC Tournament for the ninth straight year, defeating Hillsdale in the quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals to Lake Superior State. On Jan. 24 in Allendale, the Lakers defeated Saginaw Valley State by a 78-62 score, giving Wesley the 200th win of his GVSU career. After the season, senior Breland Hogan and sophomore Ryan Sabin earned All-GLIAC Second Team honors, while Sabin and senior Tyrone Lee were both named to the All-GLIAC Defensive Team.
In 2011-12, Grand Valley State recorded its eighth straight winning season during Wesley's tenure, as the Lakers went 14-13 overall. GVSU was 10-9 in conference play and made the GLIAC Tournament for the eighth consecutive season. In the Lakers' second game of the year, they almost upset #1 Bellarmine - the defending Division II National Champions - in Allendale, falling short by a 70-67 score. Following the year, senior guard James Thomas was named to the All-GLIAC First Team, while junior forward Tyrone Lee earned GLIAC All-Defensive Team honors.
During the 2010-11 season, GVSU finished the year 19-8 overall with a 14-5 record in the GLIAC, which qualified the Lakers for the GLIAC Tournament as the #3 overall seed. Following the season, senior forward Justin Ringler was named to the Daktronics All-Midwest Region Second Team, the GLIAC North Division First Team and the GLIAC North Division All-Defensive Team.
In 2009-10, GVSU finished the year with a 22-9 overall record and a 16-6 mark in the GLIAC, while the Lakers captured the GLIAC North Division championship. Grand Valley State advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year, defeating Findlay (68-56) in the opening round. The Lakers lost in the semifinals of the Midwest Region Tournament to eventual regional champion, Saint Joseph's, in a 78-76 overtime thriller.
After the season, junior forward Justin Ringler was named an All-GLIAC North Division First Team selection, as well as being named to the North Division All-Defensive Team, along with sophomore center Nick West. Ringler also earned recognition from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), as he was chosen as a Midwest Region First Team selection.
In 2008-09, Wesley led the Lakers to a 21-10 overall record and a 14-8 GLIAC tally. Grand Valley State advanced to the GLIAC Championship game, falling to Findlay for the league title. GVSU also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season, where the Lakers were paired up again with rival Findlay. The Lakers fell in the quarterfinals to Findlay, which went on to win the Division II National Championship.
Senior forward Pete Trammell earned All-GLIAC North Division First Team honors for the second straight year, while sophomore forward Justin Ringler was named to the All-GLIAC North Division Second Team. Both Trammell and Ringler also were tabbed as North Division All-Defensive Team selections.
In 2007-08, Wesley led the Lakers to a 36-1 record, the first No. 1 ranking in school history and a berth in the Elite Eight for the second time in as many years. The Lakers also won a Great Lakes Regional Championship and their third consecutive GLIAC North title. Wesley coached two All-Americans this past season. Seniors Callistus Eziukwu and Jason Jamerson were both named DII Bulletin First Team All-Americans, while Eziukwu also earned National Association of Basketball Coaches and Basketball Times First Team All-American nods.
During the 2007-08 season, Grand Valley State won 36 consecutive games to start the year and ranked first in Division II in scoring defense (54.3 ppg.) and defensive field goal percentage (36.3). The Lakers were second in the country in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 20.2 points per game, while also owning the second-highest win-loss percentage (.973). Defensively, GVSU held 15 consecutive teams under 60 points and allowed 70 or more points just twice throughout the season. The '07-'08 Lakers also ranked seventh in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (40.8), 11th in field goal percentage (50.1), 13th in rebound margin (+6.7), and 14th in fewest turnovers per game (12.5).
In the 2006-07 season, Wesley also took the Lakers to the Division II Elite Eight, capping off a 29-5 season with the No. 7 ranking in Division II. In addition to the team's first ever berth in the Elite Eight, GVSU also claimed the Great Lakes Regional Championship and aonother GLIAC title.
During 2005-06, Wesley led the Lakers to a 27-4 record and their first GLIAC title since 1997 and first postseason berth since 2001. GVSU finished that season ranked fourth in the NABC Division II Coaches' Poll, its highest ranking in school history. Wesley was appointed as Grand Valley State's fifth head coach on April 20, 2004.
Prior to being named head coach at Grand Valley State, Wesley completed five years as associate head coach at Southwest Missouri State. Ric joined the staff when current head coach Barry Hinson took over in 1999.
Wesley served as one of the primary recruiters at Southwest Missouri State, in addition to being active in every facet of the Bears' program. He helped guide the Bears to four winning seasons in his five years in the program, including a 23-win campaign with a trip to the second round of the NIT in his first season at SMS, 1999-00. Southwest Missouri State was 89-68 during Wesley's five years.
Prior to his arrival at SMS, Wesley spent four years as an assistant coach on the staff of head coach Grey Giovanine at Lamar University in Beaumont, Tex. Wesley helped direct the Cardinals' offensive attack as LU punched up the best scoring average in the Sun Belt Conference during the 1996-97 season, and Lamar turned in its best win total and longest stretch of winning seasons in over a decade.
Prior to his stay at Lamar, Wesley worked at Iowa State University during the 14-season tenure of Cyclones' head coach Johnny Orr. Wesley was a graduate assistant one year, a part-time assistant for a season, and a full-time assistant coach for the last twelve seasons he was in Ames, Ia.
He worked in every phase of the Iowa State program, including teaching, camp organization, scouting, preparation of highlight videos, recruiting and on-court game and practice coaching. During that span, Iowa State made six NCAA tournament appearances and went to the National Invitation Tournament on three other occasions. Wesley's tenure saw 10 Cyclones gain All-Big Eight Conference honors while a dozen players were academic all-conference selections during the same period of time.
During Wesley's ISU years, the Cyclones turned in six of the top seven all-time career scorers in school history and had seven National Basketball Association draft picks. Iowa State reached the NCAA tournament in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992 and 1993, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1986. ISU played in the preseason NIT in 1987 and 1992 and the postseason event in 1994.
The Cyclones accounted for 129 individual and team school records during the 14 seasons Orr and Wesley were together at ISU. The list of Iowa State NBA draft selections Wesley recruited and coached includes Robert Estes (Kings), Barry Stevens (Nuggets), Jeff Hornacek (Suns), Tom Schaefer (Nuggets), Sam Hill (Mavericks), Jeff Grayer (Bucks), Victor Alexander (Warriors), Sam Mack (Spurs), Fred Hoiberg (Pacers) and Loren Meyer (Mavericks).
A native of Chesaning, Mich., Wesley is a 1980 graduate of Central Michigan University and got his first coaching experience at CMU as a student assistant coach for the Chippewas during his four years on the Mount Pleasant campus. CMU reached tourney play in both the NCAA and NIT during that span. He also assisted briefly at Newaygo (Mich.) High school during the 1979-80 cage season and was active in camp work.
Wesley and his wife, Pat, are the proud parents of Charlie (27) and Caroline (23).