Findlay’s Newest Oiler: Michele Durand’s Pursuit of Perfection

Findlay Oilers New Head Women’s Basketball Coach Michele Durand has the experience to lead

By Jacob Flaherty

Of all the recent coaching hires at the University of Findlay, the recent hire for the Women’s Basketball team seemed very important and pivotal for the future success for the Oilers.

Kate Ellis, junior guard from Perrysburg, OH, was a significant part of the success in the Oilers in 2021-22 appearing in 28 games and starting in six. Ellis scored a career-high 16 points against Walsh on Jan. 8. Previous coach, Jim Wiedie the head coaching position shortly after the season ended.

“I would just say overall shock,” Ellis said. “We ended like a week before, and I just don’t think everybody was expecting it to happen as quick as it did, so I would just say overall just shock”

Wiedie had plenty of success with the Oilers in his eight-season long tenure, with a .570-win percentage, and leading over a dozen players to receiving places on the all-conference teams.

“Before Coach Durand you just want somebody who is a leader,” Ellis said. “Somebody who is going to come in and get things rolling from the start. I think that was kind of everybody’s expectation. Leadership to me is doing the little things, and obviously you have to hold everybody accountable, but I would also say leading by example.”

Not soon after the opening at the coaching position occurred, Michele Durand’s interest placed her as the top candidate. Like Wiedie, Durand has a very distinguished history in coaching. Durand served as Ohio Northern University’s head women’s basketball coach from 2002-20. In her 19-season long tenure, Durand became the all-time winningest basketball coach in ONU history recording over 330 wins and ending with a winning percentage of .643. This led to five conference titles, four conference Coach of the Year awards, Regional Coach of the year award three times, and the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year award in 2013. This eminent resume led her to winning the Oilers coaching position in April 2022.

“For me the biggest thing was somebody who was experience, and Coach Durand has that,” Ellis said. (PULL QUOTE)

Like many new coaches, it was a process to gain the team’s trust and get the players to fully buy into the process.

“Coaches have different philosophies,” Durand said. “I believe a lot in playing really great defense, mostly man-to-man.”

As a defense minded coach there is a lot of conditioning, and mental toughness is necessary for any players and the team to be successful. It seemed that the defensive minded coaching style has benefited Durand, and many other coaches. The saying does go “Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.”

The season so far has given Durand faint remembrances of her first year at Ohio Northern University, in 2001-02, where the Polar Bears finished the year with a record of 9-16. The Oilers record is currently 9-16 with three more games left in the regular season.

“A lot of similarities, you know we didn’t win a lot,” Durand said. “It is just taking some time as change does, change takes time, and change isn’t easy.”

Oilers host Cedarville Feb. 18 for the Breast Cancer Awareness Game with tip off at 1 p.m. You can watch the game streaming by PulseTV on Portal Stretch. The last home game is Feb. 25 against Hillsdale College