Misty Opat, one of the most successful junior college coaches in the country, is leaving Rock Valley College after nine seasons to be head coach at Div. I Chicago State.
Opat amassed a 229-70 record and won four NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national championships. She also led her teams to runner-up finishes at the national tournament in 2014 and 2018, and compiled a career record of 16-2 in national tournament play. Opat won numerous Coach of the Year awards at the conference, regional, and national level, including Spalding® NJCAA Division III Women’s Coach of the Year two times, Coach of the NJCAA DIII National Tournament four times, and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) NJCAA Division III Women’s Coach of the Year six times.
She has coached 11 NJCAA All-Americans and 34 of her players have gone on to play at four-year schools after RVC.
Opat guided her Golden Eagles to eight consecutive conference championships in the North Central Community College Conference (N4C), a streak in which her teams went 93-6 versus conference opponents. Over her nine-year RVC career, Opat’s teams went 100-13 (.884) in conference play.
Opat has also served as RVC’s Athletic Director since 2011. In her time leading the department, she has been instrumental in transforming RVC into a national powerhouse. Under her leadership, the program won 13 NJCAA national championships in five different sports, while expanding from four full-time coaches to seven. In her tenure, the college also added women’s and men’s soccer and bowling as intercollegiate sports.
“I want to thank Rock Valley College and the greater Rockford area for their amazing support of me and my family over the past nine years,” stated Opat. “Mark Maneval, the Athletic Director when I was hired, gave me the opportunity to lead Rock Valley College women’s basketball as my first head coaching position, and I am eternally grateful to him. This championship ride has surpassed even my wildest dreams of what RVC athletics could become. None of this would have been possible without the amazing coaches and many student-athletes we have had come through RVC who bought into my vision of excellence. I sincerely appreciate the support from the Board of Trustees and, most recently, our president, Dr. Jensen, and his wife, Karen, who truly believe in the student first mission. I also want to thank all of the staff and faculty who helped and supported us throughout this journey. We never could have accomplished what we did without you. I know that RVC athletics will continue to have sustained excellence and top-notch leadership with the current staff, and will continue to serve as the front porch of this amazing institution for a long time to come.”