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Finlandia University Men's Basketball
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Coaching Staff

Mike O'DonnellMike O'Donnell
Men's Head Coach

Mike O’Donnell is in his fourth season as the head coach of men’s basketball at Finlandia University. During his tenure the Lions have produced five All-Association of Division III Independents selection, nine top three additions and two school records.  O’Donnell is 27-46 in three years.

O’Donnell is no stranger to Finlandia as he left his mark on the basketball program.  He was the first player in school history to score 1000 career points finishing with 1320 (4th).  In 2000-01 O’Donnell was named tournament MVP as he led Finlandia to the National Small College Association Division I National Championship.  During the season he set two records that still stand; free throws attempted (170) and rebounds (265).  O’Donnell ranks among the top five in 11 career categories and is the all-time leader in free throws made (351), free throws attempted (497), minutes (3509) and rebounds (815).

In the fall of 2004, O’Donnell began teaching at Lakeview Elementary and coaching the boys varsity at Negaunee High School.  In 10 years, the Miners were 180-48, won six Mid-Peninsula, eight district and six regional championships and went to the state semi-finals three times.  O’Donnell was named UPSSA Class ABC Coach of the Year three times as well as being named Negaunee Schools Teacher of the Year in 2012-13.

O’Donnell was a two-time All-Mid Peninsula Conference selection and All-UP choice in basketball and football at Negaunee High School.  As a sophomore he led the Miners to the Class C State Quarterfinals and as a senior they finished 22-2 and were the UP Class C Team of the Year.

O’Donnell resides in Chassell with his wife Lacey and their two kids, Clare and Paige.


John Motherwell
Women's Head Coach

John Motherwell is in his first season as Finlandia Head Women’s Basketball Coach.  He brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Lions bench and has coached 14 players during his career who have gone on to play professional basketball.  He comes to FinnU after spending one season as an assistant at Division I Valparaiso University.

Prior to his stint at Valpo, Motherwell spent two seasons in the Big Ten as an assistant coach at Minnesota, helping guide the Golden Gophers to 43 victories, and two post-season tournaments including their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2009. In his time at Minnesota, Motherwell helped coach a pair of First Team All-Americans, two Big Ten Player of the Year winners, and three WNBA draft picks, including working directly with post players Amanda Zahui B. and Shae Kelley, both of whom were selected in the 2015 WNBA Draft – Zahui B. second overall to the Tulsa Shock. Motherwell also helped coach national sensation Rachel Banham in 2015-16 as she tied the NCAA single-game scoring record and closed her career sixth in NCAA history in career points scored.

Before that, he spent a season at the University of Detroit, where he tutored the Titans all-time leader in assists, and third all-time leading scorer, Rosanna Reynolds.  He spent the 2012-13 season at West Florida, where he recruited the bulk of the players that has since led the Argonauts to two conference championships and three NCAA Division II Tournaments as well a Gulf South Conference Tournament MVP, and GSC Freshman of the Year.   He spent five seasons (2005-10) as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  During his tenure at Milwaukee, the Panthers won the Horizon League regular season title and won the Horizon League Tournament Championship, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2005-06, and also had another appearance in the league tournament title game in 2009. He also served as position coach all four years for two-time Horizon League Player of the Year Traci Edwards who finished her career as the all-time leading scorer in Horizon League history.

Motherwell, or “Coach Mo” as he is affectionately known by his players, spent five seasons at Minnesota State-Moorhead (2000-05).  During Motherwell’s stint at MSU-Moorhead, the Dragons enjoyed five consecutive winning seasons following a stretch of seven straight losing campaigns prior to his arrival. They also set a new school record with 24 victories during the 2004-05 campaign, a season in which they claimed their first league title in 20 years and appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament.  He recruited and/or coached school’s #2 and 3 all-time leading scorers, career assist leader, career three-point leader, and career blocked shots leader. The Dragons also led all of NCAA Division II in Rebounding Margin twice during his tenure.

His career also includes stints at North Dakota (2010-11), Concordia St. Paul (1999-00), and St. Scholastica (1998-99). He helped UND and CSS to appearances in the respective conference championship games.  While at Concordia, he also coached defensive backs for the Golden Bears football team.  Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, he spent time coaching at Lansing Waverly, Williamston, and Dryden high schools in the Lower Peninsula.

A native of Haslett, Mich., Motherwell was a letterwinner as a wide receiver at Eastern Michigan where he played for Upper Peninsula Sports Hall-of-Famer Jan Quarless. After exhausting his eligibility, he went on and earned a degree in general studies from the University of Michigan in 1995.  He married the former Sherri Bierschbach in 2001. The couple has two children, Annie and Joe.