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Basketball Coach Dave Heiss Gets 500th Career Win

The Chiefs basketball team celebrates Coach Heiss' 500th victory.

Waubonsee Community College’s Dave Heiss joined a select group on Thursday evening in Des Plaines. The Chiefs bounced Oakton Community College 71-59 to give Waubonsee’s long-time men’s basketball head coach his 500th career victory. Coach Heiss becomes the 21st active coach at the NJCAA level to reach that milestone, and is the 51st coach with 500 or more wins in the history of NJCAA men’s basketball.

“I’ve been very blessed, very fortunate all around with a good administration at Waubonsee, a good boss in (Waubonsee Athletic Manager) Dave Randall, good assistant coaches and obviously good players. You don’t get to this plateau unless you have a mixture of those things,” said Heiss. 

The Chiefs (17-8, 8-2) knocked off the Raiders (6-20, 1-9) for the second time this season, shooting 61 percent from the floor in the second half and owning a 44-29 rebounding advantage over their Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe. “I’d be lying to you if I said I had not thought about it (500 wins), but at the same time our focus has been more on getting this team ready to go and prepared,” declared Heiss. “Playing more consistent basketball, finishing strong in the conference and being ready when tournament play rolls around.”

Under Heiss’ leadership the last 25 years, the Chiefs have become a perennial NJCAA top-20 program, ranking as high as #2 in the NJCAA’s Division II poll two different seasons. His teams have won 61 percent of their games (500-319) overall, won 20 or more games in a season 12 times, and been under the .500 mark only five seasons. Heiss has guided the Chiefs to the NJCAA Region IV crown and a berth into the NJCAA Division II National Tournament four times. He 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 Athletic Hall of Fame (2010) and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) Hall of Fame (2010). Heiss has also been selected as the IBCA and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year four times, while the ISCC has tabbed him with that honor nine times. In 2008 he became the ISCC’s all-time leader for career wins and currently has 224 league victories, winning more than 68 percent (224-104) of the Chiefs’ conference battles. His squads have won nine ISCC titles with 57 of his players being named All-ISCC First Team, including eight league MVP Awards.  

A 1980 graduate of nearby Aurora West High School, Heiss earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Bemidji (MN) State and a master’s degree from Chicago State (IL) University. He is a full-time faculty member in Waubonsee’s physical education department and was an instrumental player in the establishment of the school’s S.T.A.R. program, the student/athlete academic monitoring system. Heiss has also been Waubonsee’s golf coach the last 19 years, leading his golfers to three ISCC titles and a Region IV Division II title in 2001. A lifelong resident of Aurora, Heiss has three children, D.J., Danielle and Demi.