Danville, ILL—Waubonsee Community College’s long-time head men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was recently inducted into the NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame at the Division II National Tournament Banquet.
“It’s an honor, but it’s not just my honor. A lot of people have helped me get to this point,” Heiss said. “I didn’t do it by myself. Obviously, my name is on that plaque, but a lot of people at Waubonsee, the administration, athletic director Dave Randall, my assistant coaches and all the players, have helped make this possible.”
Heiss began coaching the Chiefs in 1986 and has built the program into a perennial power over the last 28 seasons. He has led Waubonsee to victory 552 times, an average of nearly 20 wins per season for almost three decades. Heiss currently is 17th among active junior college coaches on the NJCAA’s win list. Under Heiss’ guidance, the Chiefs have won 20 or more games 15 times, and tallied 19 wins on four other occasions. His squads have won 11 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) titles with 63 of his players being named First Team All-Conference, including eight league MVP Awards. In 2008 Heiss became the ISCC’s all-time record holder for career wins with his 191st victory, and currently has 249 wins and counting.
Heiss has led Waubonsee to five Region IV titles and five subsequent berths in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, finishing seventh in 1991. Heiss has been selected as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year five times, while the ISCC has tabbed him with that honor nine times. Previously Heiss has been inducted into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2006), the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame (2009), the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame (2010) and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame (2010).
Heiss was an All-Upstate Eight Conference performer for Aurora West in 1980, when his team finished third in the state. He went on to play at Eastern Wyoming Junior College, leading the NJCAA Region IX in scoring as a sophomore. Heiss then transferred to Bemidji (MN) State University, where he was All-Northern Sun Conference his final two years. Heiss later played for the Utah Jazz rookie team in the Pro-Am League in the summer of 1986.
Off the court, Heiss earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Bemidji (MN) State University and his master’s degree from Chicago State University. Heiss has been a full- time faculty member in Waubonsee’s Physical Education Department since 1992, and was instrumental in the establishment of Waubonsee’s S.T.A.R. program, an academic monitoring and tutoring program for student/athletes. Additionally, Heiss has guided the Chiefs’ golf program for the last 21 years, orchestrating three ISCC titles and a Region IV crown, while helping 32 golfers reach All-Conference status. A life-long resident of Aurora, Heiss has three children, D.J., Danielle and Demi.