PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Southern Illinois women’s basketball team is in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings behind head coach Cindy Stein- a Peoria native who is set to retire at the conclusion of the season.

The Salukis’ have a one-game lead in the Valley standings with just two regular season games remaining. It would be SIU’s first MVC championship since 2007 and the fifth in program history.

Stein has been coaching for nearly 40 years, with 25 of those seasons as a head coach. Stein has held head coaching positions as Emporia State, Missouri, Illinois Central College and finally Southern Illinois with over 400 career victories.

“I would love to think that these guys are being successful because they are trying to send me out on a great note, but I’ll tell you this- I decided to retire because I felt God was telling me to do something else, honestly,” Stein said. “I wanted to coach one more year because this is a special group of kids. What I’m going to do from here? I have no idea. I’m just going to kind of leave it up to the universe, right, and we’ll see.”

Stein says she still has family in the Peoria area and hopes to be involved with the game of basketball and the youth once she retires.