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Layer Returns to Liberty to Lead Men's Hoops

April 8, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Dale Layer was announced as the eighth men's basketball head coach in program history on Wednesday.
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Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced today that Dale Layer has been named the program's eighth head men's basketball coach. Layer returns to Liberty Mountain after previously serving as an assistant coach for the Flames during the 2007-08 season.

"We are extremely fortunate to hire Dale Layer as our next head men's basketball coach here at Liberty," said Barber. "Through the search, I thought it was important to find a coach that could build on the success of the past two seasons, which Dale was a part of for the first year. Dale is someone who embraces the mission of Liberty University, and as a basketball coach, brings a great resume at the Division I and II levels. "

"At Dale's two previous head coaching stints, he has experienced the great difficulty of starting a program from scratch at Queens College to cultivating success at Colorado State in the very basketball-rich Mountain West Conference," commented Barber. "Dale is a quality person and a strong Christian and his reputation around this country is held in the highest esteem. He is a hard worker, tenacious recruiter and won't stop until the job gets done."

This will be Layer's third head coaching stint and first since leaving Colorado State in 2007. Layer, 50, comes to Liberty most recently from a successful run as an assistant coach at BIG EAST member and nationally ranked Marquette this past season where he worked with the guards. Layer helped the Eagles to a 25-10 record and a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament despite lacking the full-time services of All-American Dominic James, who injured himself near the end of the season.

Dale Layer first served as an assistant at Liberty during the 2007-08 season, helping the Flames to its best regular season finish since Liberty won the 2004 Big South Championship.
Layer has also demonstrated the ability to develop talent, including former Colorado State center Jason Smith. The seven-footer scored over 1,500 points for Layer's Rams during his three seasons with the program before entering the NBA Draft following his junior campaign. Due to his development under Layer's tutelage, Smith was chosen with the 20th selection of the NBA Draft's first round by the Miami Heat in 2007. His rights were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. When Smith graduated high school he was ranked as the 276th best player in his class and under Layer developed in three seasons to the 20th selection in the NBA Draft. Several of Layer's recruiting classes at Colorado State were ranked among the top 40 nationally by various recruiting publications.

Layer has a career 270-193 record (16 years) as a head coach, including nine seasons at the helm of Queens University (formally Queens College) in Charlotte, N.C. He also served as the athletics director while at the school and started the basketball program in 1989 from scratch at the formerly all women's institution. Layer's student-athletes excel in the classroom too. In Layer's 16 seasons as a head coach, he has accompanied 43 seniors to be honored on senior night and all 43 earned a college degree, marking 100 percent graduation rate of all players who finish their eligibility under Layer.

After graduating from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1980, Layer started his coaching career as an assistant under Jim Harley, his former coach. Before moving on to Queens University, Layer spent seven of the next eight years at Eckerd College except for the 1982-83 season, when he was an assistant at Eastern Kentucky.

Layer made the jump to Division I in 1998 when Ritchie McKay took the head coaching job at Colorado State and named him to his staff. During McKay's two seasons with the Rams, Layer helped lead Colorado State to the NIT Tournament in 1999, where they beat Mississippi State and Colorado before falling to eventual champion, California.

Layer and his wife, the former Brenda Peterson, have three children: Valerie (23), Tim (21) and Ethan (16).