SUGAR GROVEâ€”Waubonsee Community College’s long-time head men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was recently honored by his alma mater, West Aurora High School.
Heiss was inducted into the Blackhawks’ Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony prior to their varsity boys’ basketball game against Glenbard East on Saturday, Feb. 20. Heiss, currently in his 24th season leading the Chiefs’ basketball program, was one of five people selected to the 2010 class of inductees. Among those joining Heiss was Carol Bell, wife of Waubonsee cross country and men’s tennis coach, John Bell.
In 1980, Heiss was an All-Upstate Eight Conference performer for the Blackhawks when his team finished third in the state. He went on to play at Eastern Wyoming Junior College, where he led the NJCAA Region IX in scoring as a sophomore. Heiss then transferred to Bemidji State University in Minnesota, where he was All-Northern Sun Conference his final two years. Heiss was invited to the Utah Jazz rookie and free agent camp in 1986 and played for the Jazz’ rookie team in the Pro-Am League that summer.
Heiss began coaching the Chiefs in 1986 and has built the program into a perennial power. He led Waubonsee to 480 victories in his coaching career, including this season’s squad, which is currently 21-8 overall heading into the post-season. Under his guidance, the Chiefs have won 20 or more games a dozen times, and tallied 19 wins on four other occasions. His squads have won nine Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) titles with 55 of his players being named All-Conference, including eight league MVP Awards. Heiss is also the ISCC’s all-time record holder for career wins with 216 and counting.
Off the court, Heiss earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Bemidji State and his master’s degree from Chicago State University in 1992. Heiss has been a full-time faculty member in Waubonsee’s Physical Education Department since 1992. He was instrumental in the establishment of Waubonsee’s S.T.A.R. program, an academic monitoring and tutoring program for student/athletes. The S.T.A.R. program was the first of its kind in Illinois at the community college level when it was begun in 1991, and has since served as the model for similar programs at colleges around the country. Additionally, Heiss has guided the Chiefs’ golf program for the last 18 years, orchestrating two Skyway Conference title winners and a Region IV crown, while helping 31 golfers reach All-Conference status. A life-long resident of Aurora, Heiss has three children, D.J., Danielle and Demi.