August 2, 2000
Carbondale, Ill. -
Julie Beck, Southern Illinois University Carbondale's women's basketball coach, is resigning effective August 31.
Beck informed new Saluki athletics director Paul Kowalczyk of her intentions to resign recently and the two announced her decision today (Wednesday, August 2) at a press conference in SIU's Lingle Hall.
In addition, Kowalczyk announced that he was appointing assistant coach Lori Opp as the Salukis' head coach. Her annual salary will be $60,000.
"While we will dearly miss Julie, we are delighted and feel fortunate to have an individual of the caliber of Lori available to step in and take over the program. She has outstanding experience, is well respected by her players and is simply a quality person," Kowalczyk said.
Beck, who served 16 years at SIUC as an assistant under Cindy Scott prior to being promoted to the No. 1 position in July of 1998, was elated, although saddened, after making her decision.
"It wasn't necessarily a hard decision for me to make," Beck said, "and I know it was the right one. I like to ask players to give me 100 percent and when I looked in the mirror in the morning and honestly knew that I was unable to give them 100 percent in return, I knew it was time for a change.
"I'm looking forward to a new challenge. It has nothing to do with our new administration here in athletics as I really and truly looked forward to working with Paul and Kathy (associate athletics director Kathy Jones). I do regret leaving my players and my staff and not having competed better in
the Missouri Valley Conference the last two seasons," she added.
In her two seasons as head coach at SIU, the Salukis posted 6-21 and 8-20 records.
Beck's father died suddenly earlier this summer and the fact that she is looking forward to spending more time now with her mother, who is seriously ill, was a factor in her decision.
"I do want to thank Coach Scott and former women's athletics director Charlotte West for hiring me as I've enjoyed being a part of the Saluki program," Beck said. "I love Carbondale. This is my home and I plan on staying here."
SIU's new coach, Lori Opp, is a native of Havana (Ill.) and attended high school there. She earned her bachelor's (elementary education) and master's degree (adaptive physical education) from Western Illinois University.
At WIU, Opp was a member of the basketball team and served as co-captain and tri-captain of teams there in 1986 and 1987, respectively. She also was named the team's most valuable player in 1987.
At WIU she served as a volunteer assistant coach while completing her under-graduate degree in 1988 and as a graduate assistant while completing her master's degree in 1990.
In the fall of 1990, Opp joined Eastern Illinois University's women's basketball staff as the only assistant and served as recruiting coordinator in addition to handling team travel, scouting responsibilities, practice planning and game preparation. Following three years with the Panthers she took a similar position at Indiana State where she was responsible for recruiting, scouting, game preparation, team travel and correspondence.
In the fall of 1994, Opp joined Murray State's staff where she continued handling recruiting and team travel in addition to being involved in game preparation, scheduling, fundraising, promotions, scouting, summer camps, academics and purchasing of equipment.
She accepted her position at SIU in 1998.