UNT hires Wake's Mike Petersen

DENTON, Texas -- Mike Petersen was hired Monday as the women's basketball coach at North Texas after eight successful seasons at Wake Forest.

Petersen's introduction came two weeks after Mean Green coach Karen Aston left to become head coach at Texas and two days before his 54th birthday.

"I'm convinced that this is a place where you can build a great program," Petersen said of North Texas.

This is Petersen's second head coaching job in the area. He was coach at TCU, about 40 miles away, from 1996-99. He was 42-41 there and the Lady Frogs had their first winning season in 17 years his last year before he went to Minnesota as associate men's head coach and then to Wake Forest.

In 19 seasons as a women's head coach at Gonzaga (1985-89), New Mexico State (1992-96), TCU (1996-99) and Wake Forest, his record is 313-250.

Wake Forest was 20-14 last season, only the second 20-win season in school history. That included a first-round WNIT victory, the Demon Deacons' third postseason appearance in four years.

North Texas was 15-16 in its only season for Aston, a former Texas assistant coach.

The Mean Green is still looking for a new men's coach. Johnny Jones left last week after 11 seasons when he became coach at LSU, his alma mater. Jones played on an NCAA Final Four team with the Tigers and on former coach Dale Brown's staff for another Final Four appearance.

Aston took over a women's team coming off a 5-25 season. The Mean Green were 25-67 overall, 13-39 in the Sun Belt Conference, in three seasons under Shanice Stephens before Aston replaced her.

"When we were talking about this opportunity, (my wife) looked right at me and said what you do, you fix programs. You need to go fix you another program," Petersen said. "Karen did a wonderful job. It's not broken. ... I just look at places where I see potential."

Petersen's coaching career began as an assistant men's coach at Northwest Christian College from 1980-82, and he was an assistant women's coach at Oregon for two seasons before getting his first head coaching job at Gonzaga. He was then an assistant men's coach at Oregon for three seasons before going to New Mexico State.