TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn welcomed its newest women’s basketball coach Friday.
Lora Westling returned to her alma mater to be Washburn’s sixth women’s basketball coach. Westling was an essential player in the 2005 team that got the University’s first NCAA Division II national championship.
“It’s incredible to have been selected as the new head coach at Washburn,” Westling said. “Obviously, huge shoes to fill, if that’s even possible. I’m looking forward to the challenge and just really thrilled to be here.”
She spent the past six seasons at the University of Western Colorado, where she led the team to its first NCAA Tournament selections back-to-back. Westling had her first practice with her new team Friday morning, and even talked to some of the incoming freshman. The team trusts her already, sophomore guard Maddy Hultey said.
“I’m looking forward to the new opportunities that Coach West will bring to our program,” Hutley said. “We’re really excited for change and to get some new experiences from her. I think that she brings a passion to the game that is really exciting for us.”
Westling’s energy makes Hutley believe Washburn women’s basketball can be the best it’s been in a while.
“Even in the two days I’ve been here, I’ve been reminded why this place is one of the best places to be in the country,” Westling said. “You just feel like you’re around family all the time.”
Westling has already thought about her coaching staff. She will be getting to know all current coaches and checking where holes need to be filled.
“I’m a big believer in hiring my gaps,” she said. “So, figuring out where we need different skillsets is what the price of the process is now. Trying to move quickly and get the right people in so that we can move forward.”