Washburn hires former school legend as new Ichabod Head Coach

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 11:21 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Washburn University has hired a former school legend as the Ichabod’s new head coach.

Washburn University Athletics Director Loren Ferré announced on Wednesday, April 13, that former Lady Blues great Lora Westling has been hired as the sixth head coach of the Washburn women’s basketball program.

An official news conference will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 15, in Washburn’s McPherson Booster Room to announce the move.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead Washburn women’s basketball into the future,” Westling said. “This program was so instrumental in shaping me as a young woman and I do not take that responsibility lightly. Thank you to Dr. Farley, Loren Ferré, and the rest of the search committee for their work during this process and especially for their belief in me. I am ready to get to work immediately with this tremendous group of student-athletes, and look forward to being a part of the Topeka community again.”

Washburn noted that Westling was a standout member of the women’s team from 2001-05 and helped the Lady Blues to the school’s first NCAA Division II national championship in 2005. Her name is found in its record books and she is currently sixth in games played - 132 - sixth in career three-pointers made - 144 - 10th in assists - 299 - and 14th in three-point field goal percentage - .363.

The University also indicated Westling played one season of soccer for the Lady Blues. She is a Casper, Wyo., native and earned her bachelor’s degree in business in 2005 with her MBA in 2007 - both from Washburn.

“We are very excited to welcome Lora back to Washburn as the sixth head coach for the women’s basketball program,” Ferré said. “She was an accomplished student-athlete at Washburn and returns after experiencing success with each of the prior teams she coached. We are excited for the future.”

WU said Westling will return to her alma mater after six seasons at Western Colorado where she amassed a record of 77-78 and led the team to back-to-back NCAA Tournament selections - the first two in the program history. She helped guide the team to three-consecutive RMAC Tournaments after having not made the postseason for seven seasons. Her overall victories are second on the Western all-time list and her 62 RMAC wins are tied for second in program history.

In 2019-20, Washburn noted that the Mountaineers went 20-7 overall, which was the third time the program reached the 20-win mark and the first time since the 80s. Western went 18-4 in RMAC play to finish in second place - the most conference wins in program history. It said the team also earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, only for it to be canceled a day before gameplay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before Western Colorado, Washburn said Westling spent three seasons as the head coach of Illinois College. In her first season, its aid she guided the team to a five-win improvement in both its overall and MWC records. The College then followed with its first trip to the MWC Tournament in five seasons in 2014-15.

Before she accepted the job in Illinois, WU noted that Westling was the top assistant at Truman State from 2010-13 where she was part of staff that built a team that finished the 2012-13 season 20-8 and spent 11 weeks in the national rankings. At Truman State, it said she was the recruiting coordinator and guards/defensive coach.

Washburn said Westling’s first full-time position came at the University of Missouri - St. Louis where she was the top assistant from 2007-10. She was also the recruiting coordinator and position specialist for guards. It said she got her start in coaching at Washburn, however, where she served as a graduate assistant for the women’s basketball and women’s soccer teams.

Westling’s first official day in her new role will be April 26.

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