Big Rapids, Mich. - A familiar face will serve as Ferris State University men's basketball head coach Andy Bronkema's top assistant coach for his first campaign at the Bulldog helm in 2013-14 as he announced today (Aug. 21) the appointment of Jim Lake to FSU's full-time assistant coaching post.
The 37-year old Lake has served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in two different stints over the last decade. He'll fill the void created when Bronkema was elevated to head coach in July. Lake was chosen following a search process that yielded more than 50 applicants.
"I'm pleased to announce that Jim Lake will take over the role as our head assistant coach in the men's basketball program," said Bronkema. "He's a tireless recruiter and has a great basketball mind. In addition, his previous experience within the program will allow for a smooth transition."
Lake began his collegiate coaching career with the Bulldogs as a volunteer assistant under former head coach Bill Sall from 2003 to 2006. During that time, the Bulldogs claimed back-to-back Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championships and made two-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen showing in 2004-05.
After leaving the Bulldog program to serve as a club coach for the Grand Rapids Storm, he returned to FSU in 2011-12 and helped the Bulldogs to a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in his first season back with the program.
"I'm extremely excited and have worked a long time for this opportunity," said Lake. "I'm appreciative of the faith Coach Bronkema has put in me moving forward as he begins his head coaching career and owe a great deal of thanks to Bill Sall as well for allowing me to be part of his staff.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for me with a special group of young men both coming back and coming into the program," he added. "I've been involved in the recruiting process for many of them and I believe they have great confidence in me as I do in them."
As a volunteer assistant coach, Lake has been heavily involved with many phases of the program in the past such as recruiting, player development, game management and organizing summer camps. He'll also play a key role in administrative and fundraising duties as the top assistant.
"Jim will be very active in every area of the program and we'll work hard to continue the strong tradition of Ferris State Basketball," Bronkema said. "His teaching background and attention to detail are strong points that are needed in this role and he's someone that's extremely loyal, which is important to have on your staff."
In addition to his collegiate coaching background with the Bulldogs, Lake also brings nearly 17 years of coaching experience at the high school level, including nine seasons as a varsity basketball coach at both the Class B and D levels in Michigan. During the 1996-97 campaign at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Academy, he was the youngest (21) head coach for a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) member school.
Besides serving as a coach with the Grand Rapids Storm organization, Lake has also been employed as a teacher in the Chippewa Hills school district and served as the school's varsity basketball coach. During his time with the Storm, as a 16 and under coach, he compiled a 123-32 mark while coaching 35 players who moved on to collegiate basketball, including 11 NCAA Division I players and several who have played in the GLIAC. Lake has also previously worked basketball camps at Ferris, CMU, and the University of Michigan.
A native of Spokane, Wash., Lake graduated from North Branch (Mich.) High School in 1994. As a prepster, he participated in both football and basketball. He also attained all-area and all-conference accolades on the gridiron for the Broncos.
The son of Thomas and Suzanne Hunter of North Branch, Mich., Lake graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education with an emphasis in social studies and a minor in history from Central Michigan University in 1999. He later earned a master's degree in sports and recreation with an emphasis in coaching from Ohio University. Jim and his wife, Kara, reside in Canadian Lakes, Mich., with their two children, Abigail and Peter.
Bronkema takes over a Ferris State program with a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Ferris State wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 14-13 overall record and the Bulldogs reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade.
Overall, Ferris State has won four league championships and twice reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen in the past decade. FSU also posted an impressive 10-1 mark at home in league regular-season action during the 2012-13 season at Jim Wink Arena.
A strong nucleus is expected back for the Bulldogs this fall in Bronkema's debut season as 11 of the Bulldogs' 13 team members from this past campaign are eligible to return.