Ullom, Waialae Appointed Interim ADs at West Liberty

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West Liberty University President Stephen Greiner announced today the selection of long-time WLU head coaches Lynn Ullom and Roger Waialae as co-interim Athletic Directors.

“We have two very experienced and longstanding employees now ready to lead our athletic department and our student athletes to continued success in the arena and in the classroom. I appreciate their willingness to step forward into this role,” Greiner said in announcing the selection at an Athletic Department meeting in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC).

The announcement followed the decision by current Athletic Director Aaron Huffman to step down from the AD position on July 1, 2016. Huffman is returning to his faculty position in the College of Education.

The winningest women’s basketball coach in West Virginia collegiate history and the reigning MEC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, Ullom is set to embark on his 26th season at the helm of the Lady Hilltopper program. The veteran head man has averaged more than 20 wins a season throughout his career and is coming off a spectacular 2016 campaign.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and looking forward to working with Coach Waialae,” Ullom said. “We’ve had a great working relationship for a number of years. West Liberty has had great athletic leadership for decades and my goal is to continue to build on that tradition and help the department move forward.”

Last year’s Lady Hilltoppers rolled to their second straight Mountain East Conference title and made a lengthy postseason run that carried all the way to the NCAA Division II “Sweet 16.” The Black and Gold capped their storybook year with a school-record 29 wins and a Top 25 national ranking.

Ullom joined a select club during the season when he picked up his 500th career win. That achievement was recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), which honored him as a 2016 Victory Award Club recipient at the annual WBCA Convention in Indianapolis. With a career record of 525-232 (.694), Ullom ranks among the top 15 NCAA Division II coaches in the nation in both wins and winning percentage.

In addition to the on-court success, every Lady Hilltopper who finished her career at West Liberty has earned her degree. A native of Cameron, W.Va., Ullom is a West Liberty graduate who has served for years as associate athletic director at WLU. Lynn has two children, Jared and Tessa, and resides in Wheeling with his wife, Karen.

Waialae joined the WLU football staff as an assistant coach in 1992 and was handed the head coaching reins in 2005. Heading into his 12th year as head coach, Waialae has compiled a 67-55 (.549) record in all games and is 53-39 (.576) in conference play during his time at the helm. The 53 league wins are second in school history, trailing only WLU Hall of Famer Joe Bartell.

“West Liberty has always been focused on providing a positive environment that best enables our student-athletes to enjoy academic and athletic success,” Waialae said. “My goal is to do everything we can as a department to enhance that support and continue to provide positive experiences for our student-athletes.”

Waialae’s Hilltopper teams have put up some impressive offensive numbers over the years. Last year’s Hilltopper squad averaged nearly 31 points a game, the most since Waialae’s 2010 team entered the record books as the only NCAA Division II team ever to lead the nation in scoring and total offense in consecutive seasons. That group just missed an NCAA Division II playoff bid with a 7-3 mark and tied for second in the West Virginia Conference with a 6-2 league mark – the fifth straight year Waialae’s Hilltoppers had finished first or second in the league.

The 2010 team followed on the heels of the record-setting 2009 squad which won a school-record 11 games, picked up West Liberty’s first WVIAC title since 2000 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The 2009 Hilltoppers cracked the AFCA Top 25 for the first time in school history, finishing the year ranked No. 9 in the national poll.

The team success during the Waialae Era has been matched at the individual level. Ben Staggs won the 2009 Gene Upshaw Award as the nation’s top NCAA Division II lineman while Zach Amedro shattered several NCAA Division II passing records and was runner-up for the Harlon Hill Trophy as National Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Waialae has coached 17 NCAA Division II All-Americans and 51 first-team All-Conference selections.

A native of Hawaii, Waialae is one of only three Pacific Islanders working as an NCAA head football coach. A Small College All-America quarterback during his playing days at the University of Dubuque (Iowa), Waialae was inducted into the Dubuque Hall of Fame in 2008.

Roger and his wife, Karen, are the parents of three children – Ryan, Laura and Kayla.

A search for a full-time Athletic Director will be announced in the future.

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