SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University women’s basketball head coach Lisa Fortier has rounded out her coaching staff with the hiring of Craig Fortier. Craig joins Jordan Green and Stacy Clinesmith as assistant coaches on the new staff.
“With the addition of Craig, I think we have really solidified an excellent staff,” explained Lisa. “They can all coach, they can all recruit, and they all have a winner’s mentality. I could not be more excited to get this group together and get to work!”
Fortier, Lisa’s husband, brings 10-plus years of coaching experience with him to Gonzaga, including spending the last three seasons as the associate head coach of the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team.
He also isn’t a stranger to Gonzaga having served as a graduate assistant for the Bulldog men’s basketball team from 2004-06, while Lisa was the coordinator of basketball operations for the Zag women’s squad.
“Craig is one of the best I have ever seen at breaking down and teaching the game of basketball,” stated the Bulldogs new head coach. “He has a passion for defense and for player development, especially with post players. He has experience recruiting at a variety of different levels, including internationally. Coming off of 11 years of coaching men’s basketball, he will bring a fresh perspective to our staff. He is familiar with our team and with Gonzaga Basketball in general, and has a firm understanding of where our program is currently, and where we are going to go over the next few years.”
Fortier helped direct the Eastern Washington defense, who, this past year, finished in the top three in the Big Sky in three different categories; blocked shots (1st; 4.3), field goal percentage defense (2nd; 44.6) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (3rd; 34.5). The Eagles also had the top three seasons in school history in lowest turnovers per game; averaging 12.0 this past season, 13.4 in 2012-13 and a school-best 11.8 in 2011-12.
He also coached three Big Sky All-Conference players while at Eastern Washington, including the 2011-12 Newcomer of the Year.
Prior to his time at EWU, Fortier spent four seasons as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Whitworth University. During his four years with Whitworth, the Pirates won 98 of 116 games for a winning rate of 84.5 percent. He helped develop 10 all-conference performers, three conference Player of the Year winners and one National Player of the Year. All four seasons the Pirates advanced to the NCAA Tournament and won the Northwest Conference Tournament title.
The same year the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time in school history (2010-11), Fortier and Whitworth advanced to the NCAA Division III Sectional Final (Elite Eight) for the first time in program history. Whitworth ended that season with an impressive, and school record, 28-2 record.
“This is an incredible opportunity to make a move that is good for our family and at the same time jump on board with a program and a coaching staff that I not only believe in but am incredibly invested in,” explained Craig.
Fortier’s vast experience also includes a one-year stint as an administrative assistant for the men’s basketball team at Colorado State University and a one-year stint at the assistant men’s basketball coach for his alma mater, Cal State Monterey Bay.
He graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay in 2003 with a degree in human communication. He earned his master’s degree in sport and athletic administration from Gonzaga in 2006.
Fortier has been married to Lisa since 2006 and they have two sons, Marcus (2010) and Calvin (2012).