Mike Heideman, 70, former Phoenix men’s basketball coach, passed away over the weekend, surrounded by his family. The Wisconsin Coaches Basketball Association Hall-of-Famer was the recruitment coordinator and assistant coach for Dick Bennett in UW-Green Bay’s most prolific years. After Bennett’s departure, Heideman took over the program’s helm and guided the Phoenix to a 25-4 mark, a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Family and friends may visit at Resurrection Catholic Church, 333 Hilltop Drive, Allouez, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. with a Mass at noon. Cotter Funeral Home and Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.cotterfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established.
Former players, friends, peers and co-workers have spoken about his integrity, his compassion, his humbleness, his faith, his selflessness and his love for the game of basketball. “Gentleman, it’s a great day to play basketball,” he was fond of telling his players and campers.
Heidemen was a fixture in Northeast Wisconsin basketball for two decades — having successful years with Appleton Xavier High School and St. Norbert College before joining the Phoenix. Both St. Norbert College and UW-Green Bay honored Heideman at games last season. “While I received the credit for our success at Green Bay, the real credit should go to Mike who was a tireless, dedicated and loyal assistant,” Dick Bennett said at the time.
Together, Bennett and Heideman guided the Phoenix to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1991, 1994 and 1995. He eventually followed Bennett to Washington State and was an assistant for both Dick and Dick’s son (now Virginia’s head coach) Tony Bennett. When Tony left for Virginia, Heideman returned to Northeast Wisconsin and became the athletics director at St. Mary’s Central High School in Neenah.
He was inducted into Xavier’s Hall of Fame in 2014 and into the WBCA Hall of Fame in 2016. A full obituary was not available at this writing.
Photos courtesy of University Archives and Area Research Center, UW-Green Bay.