TOPEKA (KSNT) — Washburn welcomed its new women’s basketball coach on Friday.
Lora Westling returned to her alma mater to be Washburn’s sixth women’s basketball coach. Westling was a key player on the 2005 team that won the University’s first NCAA Division II National Championship.
“It’s amazing to be chosen 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 I’m really excited to be here.
She has spent the past six seasons at the University of Western Colorado, where she led the team to its first consecutive NCAA Tournament selections. Westling had his first practice with his new team on Friday morning and even spoke to some of the incoming freshmen. The team already trusts him, said second-year goaltender Maddy Hultey.
“I look forward to the new opportunities Coach West will bring to our program,” said Hutley. “We are really excited about the change and having new experiences with her. I think she brings a passion to the game that is really exciting for us.
Westling’s energy makes Hutley believe Washburn’s women’s basketball may 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 family all the time.”
Westling has already thought about his coaching staff. She will get to know all the current coaches and check where the holes need to be filled.
“I’m a big proponent of hiring my shortcomings,” she said. “So figuring out where we need different skills is the price of the process now. Trying to move quickly and hire the right people so we can move forward.