Craig Fortier begins his third season as the associate head coach of the Eagle Men's Basketball Team.
In the 2012-13 season, despite having one of the youngest teams on the West Coast, the EWU defense, which Fortier helped direct, finished second in the Big Sky Conference in defensive field goal percentage. The team’s mark of .430 was the best for the school since becoming a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season. The Eagles also set a set an EWU record by committing the fewest fouls per game (18.4).
In his first season at Eastern in 2011-12, the Eagles improved by five victories from the year before to finish 15-17 overall and 8-8 in the Big Sky Conference. The EWU defense finished third in the Big Sky in defensive field goal percentage and second in steals.
Fortier spent the previous four seasons as an assistant to Eastern head coach Jim Hayford at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. In the 2010-11 season, the Pirates finished 28-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Sectional Final (Elite Eight) for the first time in school history.
During Craig’s four years at Whitworth, the Pirates won 98 of 116 games for a winning rate of 84.5 percent. He helped recruit and develop 10 all-conference (or future all-conference) performers, three conference player of the year winners and one national player of the year. All four seasons the Pirates advanced to the national tournament and won the Northwest Conference Tournament title.
At the same time, his wife Lisa was on the coaching staff for the Gonzaga women’s team, which advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I Tournament and finished 31-5. The 2012-13 season will be her ninth season on the Lady Zags staff, and in her previous eight seasons she has been a part of eight West Coast Conference championships and five-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
“I’ve had the pleasure of having Craig as my lead assistant,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford when he hired Fortier at EWU in 2011. “He was previously at Colorado State and Gonzaga, so he had NCAA Division I experience even before he joined me at Eastern. He’s an outstanding recruiter and understands everything I want to do in terms of attention to detail and program administration. He’s extremely skilled in opponent preparation and has been on coaching staffs that have developed professional basketball players. He’s a great lead assistant for us.”
Fortier came to Whitworth from Colorado State University, where he served as an administrative assistant for the men’s basketball team. Prior to his time at CSU, Fortier was a graduate assistant for Gonzaga University for two seasons, as he completed his master’s degree in sport and athletic administration.
Fortier was also an assistant coach at his alma mater, Cal State-Monterey Bay, in the 2003-04 season. He was the most inspirational player as a senior for the Otters before graduating from the school in 2003.
Whitworth spent three weeks in the 2010-11 season ranked No. 1 in the D3hoops.com NCAA Division III rankings, including the top ranking at the end of the regular season. The Pirates set a school record for victories and winning percentage in finishing 28-2 (.933), and ended the season ranked fifth nationally after losing at Wooster 76-66 on March 12, 2011. Whitworth advanced to the NCAA Division III Sectional Final (Elite Eight) for the first time in school history, while making its fifth-straight NCAA DIII Tournament appearance. The Pirates also claimed their fifth-straight NWC Tournament title.
In 2009-10, Whitworth put together a school-record 25-game winning streak and finished unbeaten in the Northwest Conference (16-0) en route to a final record of 26-3. The Pirates finished the season ranked seventh in the D3hoops.com poll.
In 2008-09, Whitworth finished 23-6 and was the runner-up in the NWC standings. The Pirates then made their fourth national tournament appearance by virtue of winning the NWC Tournament championship game.
In Fortier’s first season at Whitworth in 2007-08, the Pirates won the Northwest Conference title and advanced to the Sectional Semifinals (third round) of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Whitworth finished 21-7 overall.
Craig and Lisa attended Cal State-Monterey Bay together and were married in 2006. The former Lisa Mispley served as the coordinator of basketball operations at Gonzaga for two seasons from 2004-06 and spent the 2006-07 season at the University of Northern Colorado, while Craig was at nearby CSU. At CSUMB, she earned honorable mention All Cal-Pac Conference honors as a junior and was an NAIA Academic All-American in 2003. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in human communications. She earned her master’s degree in sport and athletic administration from Gonzaga in 2004.
Craig and Lisa have two sons, Marcus (born in 2010) and Calvin (born in 2012).