A former Northfield high school basketball player is taking his next step up the coaching rung, as Zach Filzen was announced as the new men’s basketball head coach Friday for Lawrence University, which is located in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Filzen, 29, was previously at Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania and will now become the 26th head coach for the Lawrence program. The move keeps Filzen in Division III but now with a bigger program.
“I am extremely excited and honored to be selected as the next men’s basketball coach at Lawrence University,” Filzen said in a press release. “I want to thank Athletic Director Christyn Abaray and the search committee for the confidence they have placed in me to lead this outstanding program into the future. Through the search process, it became very apparent that Lawrence is a very special place with a commitment to excellence in the classroom and on the court. In addition, I was impressed by the many folks I met who share my passion to challenge and encourage student-athletes toward a life of excellence.”
Filzen graduated from Northfield in 2007 after capping off a high-school career in which he was named All-Missota Conference three times and was named honorable mention for the Associated Press All-State team his senior year. Filzen is the all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,488 total points, and still holds Northfield records for single-season points (591) and career 3-pointers with 232 makes.
He then played at Northern Arizona University before finishing his collegiate career at the University of Buffalo.
His mother, Tammy, is still an assistant coach for the Northfield girls basketball team after a combined 15 seasons of head coaching experience at both St. Olaf and Carleton.
While at Lancaster, a Division-III school, Filzen posted a 64-21 record and was twice chosen as the North Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
“I am excited to have Zach join our Lawrence family as our head men’s basketball coach,” Abaray said in a press release. “Zach’s confidence, intensity, skillset and excitement were palpable. He is a rising star in the men’s basketball coaching world who also highly values the influence institutions like Lawrence make on the holistic development of our student-athletes. We are looking forward to our men’s basketball program and Lawrence benefitting from Zach at the helm.”
He now takes over a Lawrence program coming off an 11-16 finish. Lawrence advanced to the Elite 8 of the D-III NCAA Tournament in 2004 and was ranked No. 1 in the country by D3hoops.com in 2006 with a 25-1 regular-season record.
“Our coaching staff and players will work hard to return this program to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 levels that our alumni worked hard to achieve,” Filzen said in a press release. “It is my desire to lead a program that will make our alumni, the Lawrence community and the Appleton community proud of and excited to get behind. I can’t wait to get started.”