L’Anse alum in prominent post
L’ANSE – One could say that Kurt Godlevske has completed a significant cycle in his life.
The former L’Anse High basketball standout player and coach was recently named as the head coach of the Butler University women’s basketball team – fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“Coming from Indiana, it was a great honor for me to get the chance to coach at Butler,” Godleveske said this week. “Things have really gone really well for me … and I’m very thankful.”
Born and raised in Bedford, Ind., he transferred to L’Anse in 1987, and played on some outstanding Purple Hornet teams.
In the 1987-88 season, LHS had to contend with a very talented Houghton squad.
“Houghton had great players like Tom Romps, Hans Gappy and Peter Myrvik. They were deep and well-coached and we had some real battles with them,” he recalled.
A last-second three-pointer by Godlevske handed the Gremlins their only defeat of the regular season.
The two rivals met in the district finals at the Michigan Tech SDC, Houghton emerging with a hard-fought 73-70 win.
HHS went on to win the Class C regional title that season with wins over Iron Mountain and Ishpeming.
But Godlevske and most of his teammates were juniors, and the following season saw them compile a stellar record and win a district tournament championship.
“We had a good team with guys like Brian Stiebe, Paul Sirard, Jim Delene and Mark Mattson,” Godlevske recalled. “But we lost in the regionals.”
Godlevske, who scored more than 1,000 points in his two seasons in L’Anse, gained all-state honors. His accurate outside shooting and deft ballhandling attracted the attention of college scouts.
He signed on with Michigan Tech and spent two seasons with the Huskies before transferring to Northern Michigan. He ended up scoring 1,282 points in his collegiate career.
After gaining his degree in physical education and health from NMU in 1994, he took a coaching job at Lake Superior State and led the Lakers to a 35-19 mark.
When the opportunity to return to L’Anse in 2002 to coach the Hornets boys’ team, he jumped on it.
“That was really a great honor to come back to my alma mater and coach,” he said. “It also opened my eyes to what I wanted to do in the future.”
Led by such standouts as Tyler Lloyd, Derek Danner and Jerry Fish, the Hornets lost just two games. Both defeats were inflicted by Westwood.
“We lost to them (Patriots) in the regional finals,” Godlevske noted. “It was a game that came down to which team made the last big play. Unfortunately for us, Westwood made it.”
After two years and a 40-9 mark at L’Anse, he put in another two years coaching at Newberry High before moving back to Indiana.
As a volunteer boys assistant basketball coach at Bedford North Lawrence High, Godlevske was part of a state championship team in 2004.
In the 2012-13 campaign, he led the Bedford North girls team to a 28-0 record and a state championship. That success led to him being hired as an assistant at Butler, which was playing its first season in the Big East Conference.
When head coach Beth Couture was dismissed late in the season, the label of interim coach was added to his resume. Just two weeks later, the title was changed to head coach.
While he knows that competing in the rugged Big East won’t be easy, the former L’Anse product looks forward to the challenge.
“We’ll do it the Butler way: Play sound fundamental, team basketball.”
Newly renovated — and legendary — Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus will open this coming November with the Bulldogs hosting Northern Michigan in an exhibition game.
“(NMU coach) Troy Mattson is one of my best friends,” Godlevske said. “I promised I would give his team the chance to play a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”
Godlevske, who resides in Bedford with his wife and three children, still has roots in the Upper Peninsula. His parents live in Aura.