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Liberty Athletics Directory
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Phone: (434) 582-2100
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Jeff Barber was named the Director of Athletics at Liberty University on Jan. 23, 2006, becoming the 10th Director of Athletics in the history of the University.
The University has charged Barber with the leadership of the athletics department and the building of a strong athletic program which will guide Liberty into the ranks of the elite NCAA Division I programs in the nation at the FBS level.
Barber wasted little time making an impact at Liberty, as in seven years he has been instrumental in guiding Liberty on a path to the next level of collegiate athletics. His efforts were recognized in June 2012, when he was named the FCS Under Armour AD of the Year for the Southeast Region.
Barber has spearheaded facility improvement projects in every athletics venue, highlighted most recently by the new, 2,500-seat Liberty Baseball Stadium, which opened in February 2013. Additionally, a new basketball practice facility was constructed behind the Vines Center and the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex was completely rebuilt.
In addition to Barber’s athletics facility achievements, the Director of Athletics has spurred a dramatic record-setting increase in Flames Club memberships, giving, and season ticket sales for football and basketball. Also under Barber, marketing/sponsorship revenue has increased at 120 percent each of the past six years.
Barber has overseen a significant expansion of the Liberty Academic Affairs for Athletics office, which was granted national academic certification by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A).
Barber has also guided the Flames to success on the athletics field of competition, highlighted by an unprecedented six consecutive Big South Sasser Cup championships.
The Flames’ success has garnered national attention on several levels, earning Barber a four-year appointment to the NCAA’s Leadership Council, beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.
Barber came to Liberty after spending 10 years at South Carolina, including his last three years as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development/Gamecock Club Executive Director. He also worked for four years apiece in both the Furman and East Carolina athletic departments.
Barber graduated cum laude at East Carolina in 1981 with a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education and recreation. In 1997, he continued his education with a degree from the Sports Management Institute, graduating as class spokesman.
Barber, a native of Greenville, N.C., is married to the former Donna Dacus and the couple has three children – Katie (18), Lindsay (16) and Jay (15).
A veteran of the athletics department, Mickey Guridy has over 20 years of service at Liberty and currently serves as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations, a position he was promoted to in July 2007. He also served as the Interim Director of Athletics from November 2005 to February 2006.
As Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations, Guridy oversees the day-to-day business operations of the athletics department, human resources, event management, athletic facilities, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition. He also handles football scheduling and oversees the men’s basketball program. He works closely with the Director of Athletics Facilities to ensure facilities are maintained and upgraded. He has worked closely with the Director of Athletics and University administration in the construction of new athletics facilities, including the Williams Stadium expansion, Vines Center practice facility, Osborne Stadium, Liberty Baseball Stadium, the new Liberty Softball Stadium and Clarkson Clubhouse.
Prior to his current position, Guridy served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Business Operations from July 2005 to November 2005.
During his tenure at Liberty, he has also served three years as Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations (2002-04), five years as Assistant Athletic Director for Budget and Marketing (1997-2001) and four years as the ticket office manager and executive director of the Flames Club (1993-96).
While working with the football program as the Director of Operations, Guridy was responsible for the football budget, scheduling, team travel and training camp organization, while also working closely with the athletics department's marketing department to further the promotion of the Flames' football team.
Also during his tenure at Liberty, Guridy has been the marketing and tournament director for the Big South Basketball Tournament (1995-98), the operations director for the Virginia High School League State Basketball Tournament for five years and has also worked with the Tour DuPont, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament and many high school tournaments in the Lynchburg area.
A native of Mechanicsville, Va., Guridy completed his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 1993 from Liberty and completed his master's degree in business administration at Averett College in September 2000.
Guridy and his wife, Erin, have three sons: Sam (12), Abe (10) and Levi (6), and reside in the Lynchburg area.
Tim East joined the Liberty Athletics administrative staff on July 27, 2015, when he was named the department’s Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations.
East manages all aspects of Liberty’s external operations with direct oversight of communications, sponsorships, tickets, fan experience, promotions, development, broadcasting and video services.
Prior to joining the Liberty athletics department, East was a 20-year member of Virginia Tech’s athletics department, including an eight-year span as Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs (2006-2014).
East joined the athletics department in Blacksburg, Va., as Director of Sports Marketing and Promotions in 1994. He was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing & Promotions in 1996.
In his role as Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs, East served on the athletics director’s executive staff and senior staffs. He also had direct oversight for the Hokies’ men’s and women’s golf programs, spirit squads, sports marketing & promotions, athletics communications, ticketing services, HokieSports.com website and concessionaire.
East also served as Virginia Tech’s athletics departmental liaison to Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, Virginia Tech Licensing and Trademarks Office, XOS Digital Licensing, Virginia Tech Services, Replay Photos, IMG College, IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, Gatorade and Nike.
During his two decades in charge of the external message at Virginia Tech, East assisted with the athletics department’s transition through three different conferences (Metro Conference to Atlantic 10 in 1995, Atlantic 10 to Big East in 2000 and the Big East to ACC in 2004).
East’s aggressive marketing efforts resulted in more than $180 million in ticket sales during his 20 years with the Hokies. His marketing vision helped Virginia Tech have a 93-game home football game sellout streak that spanned 15 years (1998 to 2012).
East cultivated a game day environment at Virginia Tech through the years that helped Blacksburg grow to have one of the best game day atmospheres and team entrance videos in all of college football.
In 2014, East helped complete negotiations with Nike for a multi-year contract for the athletics department to make Virginia Tech one of Nike’s premier college programs, benefitting all of the Hokies’ athletics programs.
East also helped to create Inside Hokie Sports, a four-color magazine that is published 11 times a year and distributed to all Virginia Tech Athletic Fund members.
Additionally, East oversaw the creation of HokieSports Weekly, an online publication recapping the previous week’s athletics results with a heavy photographic emphasis. The page is one of the most visited sites on HokieSports.com.
Prior to his time in Blacksburg, East served as the marketing manager for VP International, the publisher of Golf Illustrated magazine, for three years (1991-94). He also served as the Associate Athletic Development and Marketing Director at Long Beach State from 1988-91 and Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions at the University of Miami from 1986-88.
East, a native of Miami, Fla., received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State in 1985 and completed a Master of Science degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in 1987.
Erin Hagen was promoted to Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator in May 2013, from her previous position as Director of Compliance. She was originally hired as Assistant Director of Compliance at Liberty in the fall of 2008.
In her current position, Hagen oversees nine of Liberty athletic programs, while also serving as the department’s Deputy Title IX Director. She is the sport administrator for women’s basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, swimming & diving, men’s and women’s tennis and volleyball.
Hagen currently holds national memberships with National Association of Collegiate Woman Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Additionally, Hagen serves on the Big South Conference Compliance Committee, Woman of the Year Committee, and is chair of the Big South Conference Men’s Soccer Committee and Volleyball committee.
In addition to her duties as Associate AD/SWA, she is currently in her sixth year as a commentator for Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN). Hagen serves as the color commentator for Lady Flames’ volleyball broadcasts as well as a commentator for the women’s basketball broadcasts.
Hagen, a four-year letterwinner for the Liberty volleyball program form 2000-03, was part of the 2001 squad which won the Big South championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Hagen, who ranks in the program’s top ten in career kills (8th - 1,308), digs (6th - 1,479), blocks (6th - 341), and matches played (3rd - 134), is one of 10 current members of Liberty’s 1,000/1,000 club.
She was named the 2002 Big South Championship MVP and was voted the 2003 Big South Conference Player of the Year. She was a two-time first team All-Big South Conference selection and VaSID first-team selection.
Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in sport management from Liberty University in 2004, Hagen joined the Lady Flames’ coaching staff as a graduate assistant under current head volleyball coach, Shane Pinder. Hagen served in that role for two years and graduated with her master’s degree in business administration in 2006. In July 2006, Hagen accepted a head coaching position at San Diego Christian College.
Hagen made the move to athletics administration and back to Liberty in the fall of 2008 when she accepted the position of Assistant Director of Compliance.
She and her husband Mike currently reside in Lynchburg.
Dr. William Gribbin has provided more than 20 years of service as Liberty’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is responsible for verifying eligibility of the student-athletes and acts as a liaison between the academic and athletic communities.
An ex-officio member of the Faculty Senate Athletic Committee, Gribbin also chaired the steering committee of Liberty’s self-study for NCAA certification. He is a past member of the Big South Conference’s Compliance Committee.
He graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and returned to Edinboro to earn his master’s degree in English Education in 1971. Gribbin earned a Ph.D. in education administration from The Pennsylvania State University in 1977.
Gribbin served as the Dean of Liberty’s School of Communications for more than 25 years, and has taught English since arriving at Liberty in 1980. He currently teaches composition and literature, the English methods course, a graduate course in teaching composition and supervises student teachers. He holds membership with the National Council of Teachers of English and the Virginia Association of Teachers of English. He has served as an NCATE reviewer and also as an outside reader for English Journal.
Gribbin, who has three children and six grandchildren, currently resides in Forest, Va.
Kim Newton serves as the Executive Administration Assistant for Director of Athletics. In her current position, she is resonsible for scheduling appointments and meetings for Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber. Newton also handles the AD's travel arrangements.
Newton first joined the Athletics Department in September 2013, serving in the sports medicine department as the insurance coordinator. Newton facilitated the secondary insurance process for all of Liberty’s NCAA student-athletes. She served as a liaison for Liberty’s secondary insurance company, medical providers and student-athletes. Newton was responsible for filing claims, resolving claim denials and communicating with athletic trainers, student-athletes, parents, insurance companies and medical providers.
She previously served as a creative professional with a successful background in the ownership of various businesses. Newton specialized in product marketing, promotions, sales and property management.
Newton earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics (clothing and textiles) from UNC Greensboro in 1986.
A native of Lynchburg, Newton currently resides in Lynchburg with her husband, Reed, and their two sons, Reed (14) and Remington (13). The Newtons are members of Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Field Hockey, Lacrosse and Women's Soccer
Courtney Hall joined the Liberty Athletics department in the summer of 2013 as a Women’s Olympic Sports Director of Operations. She works specifically with the Lady Flames field hockey, lacrosse and soccer programs.
In her current role, Hall maintains each of the coach’s university purchasing cards. She coordinates travel arrangements for official visits and recruiting trips. Hall prepares all arrangements as they pertain to team travel and pregame meals for home contests.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Hall worked in special events and donor relations at World Help. While there, she helped cultivate relationships with donors and was responsible for event planning and production planning for the president’s council meeting.
Hall is a graduate of Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. She currently resides in Forest, Va.
Softball, Women's Tennis and Volleyball
Keely McMillon serves her alma mater as Women’s Olympic Sports Director of Operations, a title she has held since July 2013.
McMillon focuses her efforts on the volleyball, softball, women’s tennis and swimming & diving teams. Her responsibilities include arranging all travel for her four sports, including hotels, buses and flights. She assists her programs with the scheduling of official visits, including travel arrangements, host money requisitions, itinerary preparation and submission of official visit information via JumpForward. McMillon assists with pre-game meals for home contests, and also aids with travel arrangements pertaining to recruiting trips. She handles purchase card reconciling for her coaches and staffs.
She worked as a graduate assistant in the Liberty Department of Sports Management from 2011-13. During the 2013 season, she served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Lady Flames’ softball team.
In 2012, McMillon coached softball at Heritage High School.
McMillon was a standout catcher for the Lady Flames softball team from 2008-11. A four-year starter, primarily behind the plate, she played a key role as a senior on the Lady Flames' 2011 Big South champion team. During her senior season, McMillon was named to the Big South All-Conference first team and was also a second-team VaSID All-State selection. She also received two straight Big South Softball Player of the Week awards as a senior in 2011. For her efforts in the 2009 Big South Softball Championship, McMillon was voted to the all-tournament team.
McMillon graduated from Liberty with a bachelor's degree in sport management in 2011. She then earned her master’s degree in sport administration from Liberty in 2013.
She currently resides in Lynchburg.
Men's Golf, Men's Soccer, Men's Tennis and Women's Swimming & Diving
Karen Goodwin serves as Athletics Department Receptionist, a title she has held since joining the department in September 2007.
Prior to joining Liberty’s athletics department, Goodwin worked part-time at the Thomas Road Baptist Church bookstore, and afterward, held part-time employment at Celebration Bridal.
She attended Liberty as an undergraduate student from 1985-88.
Goodwin and her husband, Rusty, have one son, RJ, and a daughter, Tyler. The Goodwins currently reside in Forest, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-7393
Ernest Carter joined the Liberty Athletics Department in March of 2014, and currently serves as the department’s Athletics External Events Coordinator.
Carter is responsible for facilitating all external athletics events taking place on Liberty University’s campus as well as bringing new events to the university. Upon joining the department, Carter played a role in attracting and recruiting the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Spring Jubilee and Virginia High School Coaches Association (VHSCA) All-Star games to Liberty for a three-year term (2014-2016). Carter also assists Liberty’s coaches with the coordination of sports camps and recruitment of new on-campus events.
Before joining Liberty Athletics, Carter served as the Director of Event Management for Liberty University from Sept. 2006 to Nov. 2013, directing external events and summer camps for the university. Carter was also the general manager for the Liberty Mountain Conference Center from May 2010 to November 2013, managing the day-to-day operations of the facility. Prior to his tenure at Liberty, he worked for Carter Bank & Trust for 18 years.
Carter received an associate’s degree in business administration from Patrick Henry Community College (’92), before earning his bachelors of science from Averett University. He most recently completed his Master of Arts in Religion from Liberty University Theological Seminary in 2006. Carter also received the 2015 Distinquished Alumni Award from Patrick Henry Community College on May 8, 2015.
Carter is married to the former Amber Mastenbrook. They currently reside in Forest, Va., with their three sons Caleb, Micah and Josiah.
Academic Affairs for Athletics
Phone: (434) 582-2105
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Football and Men's Basketball
Kristie Beitz has been a part of the Liberty Athletics Department Senior Staff team since being named Associate Athletics Director - Academic Affairs for Athletics in July 2006. She was promoted to Senior Associate Athletics Director – Academic Affairs for Athletics in 2013.
In her role, Beitz directs the Academic Affairs for the Athletics Department, which oversees each student-athlete’s academic progress, including academic advising and tutoring, while serving as the liaison between the student-athlete and the University’s academic community.
Beitz and her team of academic coordinators work closely with each athletics program in an effort to assure every student-athlete is given the opportunity to earn a degree and secure a meaningful career after graduation.
Since Beitz joined Liberty’s Athletics Affairs for Athletics staff, the student-athletes’ grade-point averages have continued to rise. The athletics department as a whole has maintained an average GPA of 3.0 or better during each of the last seven years, culminating with a 3.1 cumulative student-athletes’ GPA in the Fall of 2013.
During Beitz’ time at Liberty, nine Liberty student-athletes have earned a total of 12 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards. Among these awardees, five (Megan Frazee – 2009, Mike Gelatt – 2007, Clendon Henderon – 2008, Pat Kelly – 2011 and 2012, and Chris Rocco – 2009) were named first team Academic All-Americans.
Since 2006, a total of five Liberty student-athletes have earned the prestigious Christenberry Award from the Big South, for maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA through their careers. These include: Jeremy Anderson (men’s basketball, 2011), Pat Kelly (football, 2013), Panashe Nhekairo (men’s soccer, 2011), Lauren Stell (women’s soccer, 2013) and Patrick Walker (wrestling, 2009).
Under Beitz’ guidance, Liberty Athletics has shown a marked growth in community outreach and professional development for student-athletes. Among the department’s many initiatives is the Keep it Moving with Character Camp and the Give a Dollar Campaign.
Additionally, Liberty’s Academic Affairs for Athletics office was granted national academic certification by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) in May 2011. Liberty became only the 14th NCAA Division I program in the nation to earn this prestigious recognition. Beitz and the entire Academic Affairs for Athletics staff has earned individual certification through the N4A. Additionally, Liberty AAA continues to present current trends at N4A National and Regional Conventions.
Beitz serves as a 21st Century grant partner for R.S. Payne Elementary School and Sandusky Middle School.
Beitz came to Liberty after serving three years as a member of the Office of Academic Affairs for Athletics at Virginia where she was a study skills specialist and academic coordinator. As a member of the Cavaliers’ athletics department, Beitz assisted the student-athletes with time management, study skills and organizational techniques, while also serving as an academic advisor and in the areas of recruiting.
Beitz received her bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Radford in 1996 as she attended the Big South institution on a field hockey scholarship and served as team captain her senior year.
The native of Richmond, Va., later continued her educational pursuits, earning her master’s degree in special education from Radford in 1997 and an education specialist degree in administration and supervision from Virginia in 2003.
Baseball, M. & W. Tennis, W. Soccer and Swimming & Diving
Matt Anthony serves as the Associate Director of the Academic Affairs for Athletics department, a role which he rose to in 2012. Anthony started with the department as an academic coordinator in 2007, before being promoted to assistant director the following year. He served as assistant director for four years before ascending to his current position.
Anthony currently works with and oversees the academic progress of Liberty’s baseball, men’s & women’s tennis, swimming and women’s soccer programs. He is member of the National Academic Advising Association and the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) and is an Individually Certified Professional through N4A as well. Anthony has also been a co-presenter at N4A regional and national conventions.
Anthony graduated from Liberty with his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2004 and his MBA in 2007. Prior to working with the Academic Affairs for Athletics office, Anthony served in resident recruitment as an admissions counselor (2004-05) and in financial aid as the Coordinator of Financial Aid for NCAA Compliance (2005-07).
A resident of Lynchburg, Va., Anthony and his wife Mary have two children, Bailey and Owen.
Football and Men's Basketball
Courtney Huffman has worked as the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs for Athletics since 2011. Huffman began working in the department as a tutor as an undergraduate student at Liberty in 2006. She rose to the position of administrative assistant in 2009, before being promoted to a full-time position as an academic coordinator in May 2010.
Huffman currently helps monitor the academic progress of Liberty’s football and men’s basketball programs. Huffman is certified by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and is also a certified professional through N4A. She has also been a co- presenter at N4A national conventions.
He is member of the National Academic Advising Association and the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) and is an Individually Certified Professional through N4A as well. Anthony has also been a co-presenter at N4A regional and national conventions
Huffman graduated from Liberty in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in professional counseling. Originally from Salem, Va., Huffman now resides in Lynchburg.
Football and Men's Basketball
Softball, Field Hockey, W. Basketball and M. Soccer
Jessica Lloyd currently serves as an Academic Coordinator in Liberty’s Academic Affairs for Athletics office and as the director of the department’s Summer Bridge program. Lloyd helps monitor the academic progress of Liberty’s softball, field hockey, women's basketball and men’s soccer teams.
She is certified by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
Lloyd earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in 2009 and a master’s degree from Liberty in 2013. She is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics organization. Lloyd and her husband, Stevie Ray Lloyd Jr., reside in Lynchburg.
Men's & Women's Track, Golf
Rueben Gaines currently works as a graduate assistant for the Academic Affairs for Athletics department. Gaines serves as an academic coordinator for the Flames’ football program and also helps supervise student workers and the class check program. He earned a FLAMESPY award in 2012 as the Tutor of the Year. He helps monitor the academic progress of Liberty’s men's golf and men's and women's track & field programs
He is certified by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
Gaines earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Liberty. Gaines and his wife, Cassandra Gaines, currently reside in Forest, Va.
Cheerleading, Football, Men's Basketball and Volleyball
Phone: (434) 582-2292
Fax: (434) 582-2076
Media Contact for Football and Golf
Todd Wetmore has been a part of the Office of Athletics Communications for more than two decades and is in his 15th year as head of the department.
Wetmore oversees the distribution of information for Liberty’s 20-sport NCAA Division I athletics program, as well as serving as the athletics department’s liaison with the media. Wetmore serves as the editor of the school’s athletics publications, and specifically coordinates all media efforts for the Flames’ football and golf programs.
Wetmore manages five full-time staff members, a graduate assistant and several student workers.
After four years as a student worker, Wetmore joined the department’s staff full time in August 1997 as an Assistant Sports Information Director. He was promoted to Sports Information Director in December 1999 and Assistant Athletics Director for Communications in July 2005. His most recent promotion came in November 2012 when he was named Associate Athletics Director for Communications.
After joining the sports information staff in 1997, Wetmore was instrumental in the creation of the athletics department's first web page. In February 2004, Wetmore finished a year-long project to completely redesign the site and helped launch LibertyFlames.com, the first official site of the athletics department.
Wetmore’s work at Liberty has not gone unnoticed by his peers. During his tenure, he has played a part in 15 different publications which have received distinctive honors from College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Eight of Wetmore’s publications have received “Best in the Nation” distinctions from CoSIDA, including the 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011 football media guide covers, 2008 football game program cover, 2009 football game program and 2010 and 2011 football media guides.
Wetmore is an active member of CoSIDA and the Virginia State Sports Information Directors (VaSID). As a member of VaSID, Wetmore has served as the coordinator for various all-state teams, including the all-state University Divisional softball team since 2000.
Wetmore joined the CoSIDA Academic All-America ® committee in 2009 and has served as district coordinator for the women’s basketball and track & field teams. He currently serves the committee as one of two publicity coordinators for Division II awards.
Wetmore has also served on various committees at Liberty and with the Big South Conference. He currently is an active member of the Liberty Athletics and Big South Conference Hall of Fame selection committees.
Wetmore received his bachelor's degree in sport management in 1998 from Liberty. The Killingworth, Conn., native resides in Goode, Va., and is married to the former Kristy Marie Henkel of Waynesboro, Va., following the couple’s December 2008 wedding.
Media Contact for Men's Soccer, Football (Secondary) and Baseball
A veteran of the Athletics Communications Office, Ryan Bomberger is in 12th year at Liberty. Bomberger joined the Athletics Communications Staff as an Assistant Sports Information Director in August 2004. In the summer of 2007, he was promoted to his current position of Associate Athletics Communications Director.
Bomberger serves as the primary contact for Flames baseball and men’s soccer and the editor of the Flames Illustrated football program. He contributes regularly to LibertyFlames.com and various athletic department publications.
In addition, Bomberger has been during his time at Liberty, the primary media contact for Liberty men’s and women’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and wrestling.
Bomberger’s Flames Illustrated football programs have received “Best in the Nation” distinction from CoSIDA in 2009 and 2014.
In 2007, Bomberger was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Board of Directors. Two years later, he joined the organization’s officer rotation, serving as the association’s president in 2013.
Besides being one of 40 weekly voters in the NCBWA national poll, Bomberger functions as the coordinator of the NCBWA’s Freshman All-America team. He also assists in the creation and production of the association’s online directory.
In addition, Bomberger assists in the selection of the Dick Howser Trophy (most outstanding player) winner, the Stopper of the Year, Coach of the Year and several All-America teams presented by the NCBWA.
Bomberger is one of 150 voters on the College Baseball Hall of Fame voting committee for the College Baseball Foundation. A member since 2009, he has participated in the selection of the Hall’s last six induction classes.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Bomberger worked in various capacities in the East Coast Hockey League’s offices. Starting at the ECHL as an intern in the Communications Department, he later served as the league’s Executive Administrative Assistant.
Bomberger also has been a member of the sports information offices at Miami (Ohio) and Indiana. While at Miami, Bomberger served one year in the Sports Information Office and was the contact for Miami’s first-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular-season title team in 1993. He spearheaded all media efforts for the Redskins’ first-ever trip to the CCHA Championship game and also oversaw those surrounding the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament selection.
He served as a graduate assistant for two years at Indiana, while obtaining his master’s degree.
He is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID).
In 1989, Bomberger earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University. He received a master’s degree in sports administration from Indiana University in 1992. Bomberger also obtained an associate’s degree in digital media from Full Sail University in Orlando, Fla., in 2002.
The Dillsburg, Pa., native resides in the Lynchburg area.
Media Contact for Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Track & Field and Men's and Women's Cross Country
Paul Carmany joined Liberty’s athletics department in July 2006, and currently holds the title Associate Athletics Communications Director. In this position within the athletics communications department, Carmany serves as the primary media contact for the Liberty women’s basketball, cross country and track & field programs.
Carmany also served as the contact for the Lady Flames volleyball team for the 2006-09 seasons. In January 2008, he was tabbed one of four recipients of Collegiate Volleyball Update’s RESPecting Volleyball award. Carmany earned the honor as a result of his season-long in-depth coverage of the 2007 Liberty volleyball squad, which won its first Big South Conference title since 2001.
An additional honor came in June 2009, when the 2008 Liberty cross country media guide earned second-place honors in the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Publication Contest. The publication trailed only Tennessee’s women’s cross country guide on the national listing.
Carmany assisted with Liberty’s hosting of the 2007 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the 2007 Big South Volleyball Championship, the 2008 Big South Cross Country Championships and the 2013 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He also served as official statistician for the 2007 NCAA Division II Softball World Series in Akron, Ohio.
Carmany has coordinated media efforts for eight Liberty teams which have competed at the NCAA Division I Tournament, including the 2007 and 2008 volleyball squads and the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2014-15 women’s basketball teams. Additionally, he has worked with NCAA Division I national champion distance runners Sam Chelanga and Josh McDougal. In total, Carmany has served as the primary contact for 42 Liberty squads which have captured Big South Conference titles.
A member of CoSIDA and the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID), Carmany came to Liberty from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Carmany spent two years (2005-06) as a graduate assistant in Ashland’s sports information office.
At Ashland, Carmany served as primary media contact for the Eagles’ women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, cross country and track & field programs.
Carmany also attended Ashland as an undergraduate and served as manager for the women’s basketball team for three years (2002-04). He was additionally a regular sports correspondent and columnist for the Ashland weekly school newspaper, the Collegian.
Some of Carmany’s earliest sportswriting experience came at the New Middletown Postmark, a weekly newspaper which serviced the towns of New Middletown and North Lima, Ohio. Carmany covered high school and youth sports for the publication from 1998 to 2000.
Carmany earned a pair of degrees from Ashland. In 2004, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics, graduating as the university’s top mathematics student. Two years later, Carmany graduated with a Master of Education degree in sport education, maintaining a 4.0 GPA for his graduate studies.
A native of New Middletown, Ohio, Carmany currently resides in Lynchburg with his wife, Katy.
Media Contact for Men's Basketball, Women's Soccer and Web Site
Eric Brown enters his fifth year as a member of the Liberty athletics communications department and serves as the primary media contact for men’s basketball, women’s soccer and the athletics website, LibertyFlames.com.
Brown’s duties as an assistant athletics communications director include coordinating media requests, issuing press releases and maintaining statistics and records for his respective teams. During the Flames’ incredible run to the NCAA Tournament, Brown facilitated interviews with national media outlets, including, CBS, Fox Sports, ESPN Radio, ESPNU, NBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Brown also worked alongside the trio of Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager during the First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, assisting the crew with its game day preparation for the Tru TV broadcast.
In addition to his sports responsibilities, Brown serves as the web manager for LibertyFlames.com, the official website of Liberty Athletics. Brown works to ensure pages are kept updated, while also coordinating with IT on major projects. In 2010, he was responsible for coordinating the website’s redesign.
Prior to joining the Office of Athletics Communications, Brown served as a promotional copywriter for Liberty’s university advancement office, producing content for Liberty Athletics, Ultimate LU club sports, the LaHaye Ice Center, the LaHaye Student Union, and the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, the university’s year-round synthetic ski park. He also served as the main sports news and feature writer for the university’s magazine, the Liberty Journal, and the university’s official website.
Brown is a 2008 graduate of Liberty University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies with a public relations and advertising emphasis. During his time as an undergraduate, he became familiar with Liberty Athletics while serving as the sports editor of the university’s student newspaper, the Liberty Champion, and completing his internship with athletics communications. As an intern, he was the acting sports information contact for the Liberty men’s and women’s tennis teams.
Brown completed his Master of Business Administration at Liberty in 2010, focusing primarily on the study of international business. He resides in his hometown of Rustburg, Va.
Media Contact for Volleyball, Swimming & Diving and Softball
Joe Carmany joined Liberty’s athletics department in June 2011, being hired as assistant athletics communications director. Carmany serves as the primary media contact for the volleyball, women’s swimming & diving and softball programs at Liberty.
While at Liberty, he has covered two Big South champion teams, as the Lady Flames’ volleyball program qualified for the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, he helped spearhead Liberty’s year-long Title IX celebration during the 2012-13 academic year. He is currently supervising the athletics communications department’s digital archiving initiative.
He is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He won the racewalk championship in the CoSIDA 5K Run/Walk at CoSIDA National Conventions in 2012 and 2013.
Carmany brought a familiarity to Liberty and the Big South, having completed a 10-month sports information internship at conference rival Charleston Southern during the 2010-11 academic year. While at CSU, he served as primary contact for the Buccaneers’ volleyball, women’s tennis and softball teams, also aiding as secondary contact for men’s basketball.
Carmany graduated with his M.S. in organizational leadership from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. in May, 2010. While at Mercyhurst, he served as athletic communications graduate assistant, acting as primary contact for six varsity sports (men’s and women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, and softball). During his time in Erie, Pa., he also acted as host SID for conference championship events in men’s and women’s soccer.
Prior to Mercyhurst, Carmany earned a B.A. in sports ministry at Malone University in Canton, Ohio in May, 2007. He served as equipment manager for the men’s basketball team for three seasons and aided the sports information office with game management. He wrote for the campus newspaper, the Aviso, for three years, serving as sports editor as a junior. In addition, Carmany was a three-time NAIA national qualifier in track and field.
A New Middletown, Ohio native, Carmany presently resides in Lynchburg. His older brother, Paul, currently serves as an associate athletics communications director at Liberty.
Media contact for Field Hockey, Lacrosse and Men's and Women's Tennis
David Fox became a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department in August 2014, joining the staff as the graduate assistant for Athletics Communications. Fox serves as the primary media contact for the field hockey, men and women’s tennis and women’s lacrosse programs at Liberty.
Fox graduated from Western Carolina in May of 2014 with a B.S. in Sport Management. Fox is currently pursuing his Master of Business Administration and is expected to complete the degree in May of 2016.
A Pinehurst, N.C. native, Fox and his wife Anne currently reside in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-5719
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Bert Locklin joined the Liberty athletics department in September of 2012, and he currently serves as Associate Athletics Director for Compliance.
Locklin serves as the liaison between the university and NCAA as well as the Big South Conference. He is responsible for supervising the compliance team that is tasked with educating the athletics administration, coaches, student-athletes and our entire Flames Nation on current NCAA rules and regulations. He and his staff are responsible for monitoring recruiting rules, communicating eligibility certifications, monitoring financial aid and awards limits, submitting waivers of NCAA Legislation, and reporting violations to the Big South Conference Office and the NCAA. He also serves as an ex-officio member of the Liberty's Faculty Senate Athletics Committee and sits on the Athletics Compliance Committee.
An active member of the National Association of Athletics Compliance, Locklin has served as a member of the NAAC Communications Committee since 2011. Locklin participated on the Compliance and Social Media Panel at the 2011 NAAC National Convention. He was a facilitator at the 2012 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar for a “Welcome to the World of Compliance” session.
Locklin brought a wealth of experience to Liberty, previously serving in the compliance office at Virginia Tech from 2006 until 2012. He served as the Assistant Director of Compliance and Director of Compliance, before being promoted to become Virginia Tech’s Assistant Athletics Director of Compliance, a title he held until coming to Liberty in 2012. He was appointed to the ACC Committee on Student-Athlete Welfare during his final year on the Virginia Tech staff.
Prior to his time in compliance, Locklin spent four seasons (2002-06) as Head Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach at Virginia Tech. Locklin served on the Advisory Board for the Christiansburg Aquatic Center form 2008-11.
Locklin was an All-American diver at the University of Nebraska, finishing seventh in men’s three-meter diving at the 1998 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. He was also named a team captain and SAAC representative.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Locklin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Nebraska in May 2001, and graduated with distinction with a Master’s of Science in Sports Administration from Liberty in May 2014.
Locklin and his wife, Kellan, currently reside in Lynchburg with two daughters – Dylan (10) and Fiona Bean (3) – and one son, Hagen (6).
All-American placekicker Matt Bevins returned to his alma mater in the fall of 2012, when he was hired as Compliance Coordinator for Athletics. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Compliance in May 2015.
In his current position, Bevins oversees Liberty’s playing and practice sessions. He administers the Jump Forward Compliance Software, while coordinating official and unofficial visits in recruiting. Bevins monitors practice logs, while also serving as a liaison between student-athletes and agents. He facilitates promotional activities, donation requests, awards and benefits, along with the Student Assistance fund. Bevins administers the annual NCAA coaches’ exam in addition to other day-to-day compliance tasks. He is also responsible for Bylaws 13, 16 and 17.
Bevins is currently a member of the National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC).
During his playing career at Liberty (2008-11), Bevins served as the Flames’ placekicker, helping the Flames to Big South titles in his first three seasons. He graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Liberty and Big South history. He was named a consensus first team All-American kicker in both 2009 and 2010. Bevins was also voted an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American as a sophomore and junior.
He graduated from Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in May 2012. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sport administration at Liberty.
Bevins and his wife, Chelsea, currently reside in Lynchburg.
After serving in Liberty Athletics for nearly a year as a director of operations, Tanner Hoyt transitioned to his current role as Assistant Director of Business Operations/Compliance in May of 2015.
Hoyt is the athletics department’s primary liaison in regards to all financial aid and student-athlete benefits, working with the following offices on campus – financial aid, budget and planning, human resources, and procurement. Hoyt is also the administrator of the Student Assistance Fund, National Letter of Intent, along with budget and planning, funding and scholarships for summer school.
In addition, Hoyt is the budget manager for eight of Liberty Division I athletics programs and serves as a P-card approver for 40 athletics coaches and staff members. He also assists the compliance office with required reporting for the NCAA Institutional Performance Program (IPP).
Prior to his current position, Hoyt was Liberty Athletics Men’s Olympic Sports Director of Operations, coordinating team and recruiting travel for the following programs - men’s soccer, men’s golf, men’s tennis and cheerleading. Hoyt also oversaw the reconciliation of P-Card transactions for his respective teams.
Hoyt graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, while minoring in business. He completed his Master of Business Administration with Liberty in 2015.
As a student at Liberty, Hoyt was a two-year letterwinner with the men’s basketball team (2010-2012) and was a two-time Big South Honor Roll member.
Hoyt is married to former Liberty women’s basketball player and current assistant coach Brittany (Campbell) Hoyt. The couple resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-2052
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Chris Dunfee returned to his alma mater in 2012 to take over the position of Head Athletics Equipment Manager. Dunfee oversees the equipment services for all intercollegiate sports and manages the day-to-day equipment operations for the Flames football program.
Dunfee graduated from Liberty in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. During his undergraduate career, Dunfee helped as a student equipment manager. He then served as an equipment manager graduate assistant at Illinois State from 2007-2009. Dunfee graduated from Illinois State with a master’s degree in business administration in 2009. Prior to coming back to Liberty, Dunfee worked at Georgia State as the Assistant Equipment Manager from 2010-2012. While at Georgia State, Dunfee was responsible for the equipment services for all Olympic sports.
A resident of Lynchburg, Va., Dunfee has been a certified member of the Athletic Equipment Managers Association since 2009.
Reese Braband has worked in the Liberty athletics equipment department since being hired in September 2012, and he currently serves as Olympic Sports Equipment Manager.
Braband is responsible for the purchase, inventory, management and maintenance of equipment and apparel for several of Liberty’s Olympic sports, while also helping outfit the Athletics Administration staff. He assists the department in managing equipment budgets, and also aided in the startup of the Athletic Equimpent department within Liberty Athletics.
Prior to joining Liberty’s athletics staff, Braband worked as Business Operations Coordinator with Liberty Club Sports from August 2011 through September 2012.
A native of Waukesha, Wis., Braband earned a Bachelor of Science in sport management from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in December 2008. He completed a master’s degree in sport management from Liberty in May 2013.
Braband and his wife, Jodi, currently reside in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-2549
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Dan Maxam has contributed to Liberty’s athletics facilities department since being hired in 2006. Maxam was promoted to his current position, Assistant Athletics Director for Facilities Management in 2013.
Maxam manages the upkeep, maintenance and day-to-day requirements for all intercollegiate athletic facilities at Liberty. He and his staff manage each facility in order to provide an environment in which athletes, coaches, staff and fans can have a safe, effective and successful experience. Maxam anticipates the future needs and make necessary improvements for all NCAA facilities. He supervises a facilities crew to aid in the setup, tear down and supervision of athletic facilities for intercollegiate contests and practice activities.
He has assisted in the coordination of new facility construction projects over the past five years. These projects include: Osborne Stadium, Williams Stadium expansion, Luurtsema Center, Cook Tennis Center, the field hockey and lacrosse fields and field house, Liberty Baseball Stadium and Vines Center practice facility.
Maxam holds membership with College Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA).
Prior to joining Liberty’s staff full-time, Maxam served as a student worker in athletics facilities. While still a junior at Liberty in 2008, he was promoted to Director of Athletic Facilities.
He graduated from Liberty in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business finance.
Maxam married the former Morgan Gunter in 2011, and the couple currently resides in Lynchburg.
Mike Farris contributes to the Liberty athletics department as Assistant Facilities Director, a title which he has held since being hired in 2009.
Farris, a graduate of Liberty, helps maintain all of the athletics facilities on campus. He is actively involved in setting up and tearing down for each of Liberty’s home athletics events. Farris also manages various daily needs of team and athletics staff members. On game day, he can be seen fulfilling numerous game operations roles.
While at Liberty, Farris has played a role in the enormous growth of the athletics program over the past seven athletics seasons. He served as a student worker with the athletics facilities department as a sophomore and junior, prior to receiving a full-time position during his senior year, 2009.
Farris graduated cum laude from Liberty with a Bachelor of Science in business finance in 2010. He then earned a Master of Science degree from Liberty in 2012, graduating with high distinction.
Mike and his wife, Shannon, were married in 2013 and currently reside in Evington, Va.
Athletics Sponsorships and Ticket Sales
Phone: (434) 592-6459
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Phone: (434) 592-6459
Mike Minyard serves as Liberty’s Associate Athletics Director for Sales & Promotions, a title he has held since joining the athletics department in October 2012. He oversees marketing, sponsorships, ticketing, social media and fan experience as well as other sources of revenue generation and strategic initiatives for the Flames. Minyard serves as a member of the athletics department’s senior staff and has assisted with strategic planning for the department. He is also the liaison to the University Marketing department, the University Ticket Office and other units of the Liberty campus.
During his time at Liberty, Minyard has helped the department set school records in revenue, attendance, ticket sales, customer retention and kids club memberships. Total revenue generated from sponsorships and ticket sales surpassed $1.1M in 2014-15 which is a 55% increase from the 2011-12 academic year. Sponsorship revenue surpassed $665,000 in 2014-15, which is a single-year best for LU. Minyard has secured new sponsorship agreements valued at over $900,000 since January 2013.
In 2014, Liberty set school records for total football ticket revenue and season tickets sold for the second consecutive year. Liberty Football average attendance (17,016) finished ranked 5th nationally among NCAA Division I FCS schools in 2014. LU also surpassed the 100,000 single-season attendance mark in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The football single-game attendance record was set on Oct. 4, 2014, with 20,838 spectators for the Homecoming contest against Richmond at Williams Stadium. The school record for student attendance at football games was set with an average of 4,903 per game in 2014. A 4% increase from the 4,695 students averaged per game in 2013.
Men’s basketball average attendance led the Big South Conference in 2013-14, and has ranked among the top three in the league the past three seasons (since 2012-13). The men’s basketball 2013-14 home opener against Randolph College was played in front of 7,043 fans at the Vines Center. That attendance mark is the highest since the Flames squared off with Clemson in front of 8,143 spectators in a nationally televised contest in 2009.
Women’s basketball average attendance has led the Big South for three consecutive seasons since 2012-13. Marketing efforts for the women’s basketball program were recognized in a New York Times article during the 2015 NCAA Tournament that mentioned the strong fan support Liberty received in Chapel Hill.
Baseball average attendance was ranked in the Top 50 nationally in 2014 and 2015. The single-game attendance record for baseball was set with 3,983 fans versus Campbell on April 10, 2015. The Liberty Baseball Stadium was ranked fifth nationally in NCAA ballpark game day experience by Stadium Journey in 2014. LU was ranked only behind South Carolina, Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech and Mississippi State. Minyard has introduced a series of attendance generating promotions, including Friday Night Fireworks since the facility opened in 2013.
Liberty has video boards at five facilities that are utilized for eight sports including football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball and softball. In 2013-14, each of these programs had an intro video produced in-house through University Marketing for the first time with the addition of softball in 2015. Social media integration with video boards allowing fan generated content to be displayed during home events began in 2014.
Prior to joining Liberty’s staff, Minyard served in a variety of roles for 11 years at Oral Roberts University. While at ORU as the Director of Marketing/Ticket Sales for six years, Minyard was part of an external team that generated over $1.5M annually in ticket sales, sponsorships and donations. His primary responsibilities included overseeing ticket sales and operations while creating and implementing marketing plans with goals of increasing revenue, attendance and awareness within a top 50 market. ORU Athletics set a school record for total ticket revenue in 2012. He also negotiated a national television deal with Fox College Sports. The national television agreement made ORU men’s basketball and the weekly magazine show available to nearly 60 million homes including DirecTV customers.
From 2001 through 2006, he served as a student assistant coach for the ORU men’s basketball program. ORU advanced to the 2005 NIT and to the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Minyard was also a student assistant in the ORU Athletics Media Relations department. He served as sports information director for multiple sports while overseeing the athletics department website. Minyard was ranked No. 8 in the Central Region among Women’s Soccer Sports Information Directors in 2004.
Among his awards, he was named to the Tulsa Business Journal’s 2010 Class of 40 Under 40. He served for three years (2010-12) on the March of Dimes Eastern Oklahoma Division Board of Directors. Minyard recently began serving on the YMCA Youth Scholarship Golf Tournament Committee in Lynchburg.
Minyard has been a member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) since 2007. He has served as a member of award winning marketing staffs earning awards for Video Board Segment in 2008, Radio Commercial in 2013, and Promotional Schedule Poster in 2014. Minyard was a NACMA presenter in 2012 on Driving Revenue through Social Media and in 2015 on Student Focused Promotions. He is a regular attendee at professional development opportunities such as Collegiate Athletic Leadership Symposium (CALS) since 2011 and the NACDA Senior Administrators Mentoring Institute since 2013.
Minyard graduated from ORU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2006. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human services with a specialization in business from Liberty.
Minyard currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-5015
Ryan Kindt serves as Liberty’s Director of Ticket Sales, a position he was promoted to in November of 2012. In his role, Kindt assists in developing and implementing sales strategies for Liberty athletics ticket sales. He develops group nights, promotions, activities and identifies and contacts prospective customers in the community. On game days, Kindt provides support for clients and groups.
Kindt graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Liberty in 2008 and is currently working toward a master’s degree in sport administration. The Tampa, Fla., native began working in Liberty’s ticket office as an event assistant in May of 2009 and remained in that position for three years. Kindt then began work as a Ticket Operations graduate assistant in May of 2012, before being promoted to his current position.
Kindt is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Associates as well as the Lynchburg Regional Chamber CHAT member. He is also certified in emergency management through FEMA. Kindt resides in Lynchburg, Va. and is currently engaged to Shelby Leistner. The couple will be getting married during the summer of 2014.
Phone: (434) 582-4453
Micheal Myers began working in his current role as Ticket Sales Assistant for Liberty athletics department in July of 2015.
He aids the department in developing and implementing sales strategies for selling season tickets, mini-plans, group and single-game tickets. Myers also assists in the renewal process for season tickets with an emphasis on client retention. Additionally, he makes contact with new prospects through telephone, e-mail and in-person meetings. He also assists in identifying and researching prospective customers. Myers currently manages all aspects of the Flames Kids Club.
Myers comes to Liberty from Ball State, where he received several valuable athletics experiences. He served as the women’s basketball head manager and video coordinator for four years, and was a marketing and sales volunteer during the 2014-15 academic year.
He was a ticket sales intern with the Richmond Kickers during the summer of 2015. In 2014, he spent the summer as a team operations/video intern with the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. He volunteered at the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, as well as at the 2015 MS Walk in Muncie, Ind.
Myers earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Administration with a minor in Foundations of Management from Ball State, graduating in May of 2015.
Myers currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Athletics Fan Experience and Promotions
Phone: (434) 592-7097
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Phone: (434) 592-7097
Brett Metcalf began as the director of fan experience and promotions in January of 2015. He focuses heavily on marketing plans and strategies to increase department revenue and attendance while continually improving the fan experience. Metcalf is also primarily responsible for sponsorship fulfillment as well as all marketing and advertising for athletic events. He is a co-operator of all Liberty Flames social media accounts and oversees the Student Flames Club membership drives and events. He also coordinates Liberty’s spirit programs, community outreach events, and all on-campus promotions. Metcalf also serves as the on-field talent for in-game promotions at various athletic events. He oversees the assistant director of marketing, athletics marketing graduate assistant positions and the department’s internship program.
Prior to his current stint here at Liberty, Metcalf served as the director of marketing and promotions for Western Carolina University Athletics from January 2014 until January 2015. In his time there he was responsible for developing and executing marketing plans for 14 NCAA Division I athletic programs as well as overseeing the creation of all marketing publications, including schedule cards, posters, and brochures. He was also responsible for all media buying for athletics, including billboards, newspaper, radio, magazine and online advertisements. Metcalf directly oversaw all spirit group activities and performances for football and basketball game days. Most notably he was a part of the marketing campaign that drove increases in football, basketball and baseball ticket revenues by over 30 percent for each sport, which included a Top 10 all-time attendance record at Catamount Football. Metcalf also co-operated all official Catamount Athletics social media pages, seeing increases across multiple platforms by over 40 percent in just 12 months. He served on athletic department and university committees including the revenue committee, external operations strategic planning committee and homecoming committee, while also serving as the athletics department liaison with campus entities such as student government, residential living, Greek Life, and student affairs.
Previously, Metcalf spent two years at Liberty as an athletics marketing graduate assistant. He served as the primary marketing contact for men's and women's soccer and softball, and a secondary contact for football and men's basketball. Under his direction, the department set single-game and season attendance records for men's and women's soccer. He also spearheaded Liberty Athletics’ social media efforts from 2012-2014. Metcalf served as president of the Student Flames Club, growing membership from 475 to over 1,200 members. The membership boost resulted in over $60,000 revenue for the athletics department over two years. He also acted as an athletics department liaison to various on-campus groups and was a voice for the athletics department at many events both on and off campus. Metcalf also worked as an assistant director for the Liberty Athletics Annual Golf Tournament.
Metcalf graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Sport Management in 2011. He also earned his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Liberty in May of 2014. He currently resides in Forest, Va. with his wife Megan, who also graduated from Liberty in May of 2014.
Phone: (434) 592-4698
Katie Spiro began her position as the assistant director of fan experience and promotions in September 2015. In her role at Liberty, Spiro is responsible for creating and executing marketing plans, developing attendance generating promotions and coordinating game day activities for the athletics department. She also assists with all budget and finance elements for athletics marketing and sponsorships.
Prior to her current stint at Liberty, Spiro served as the director of marketing and promotions for Gardner-Webb University Athletics from Nov. 2014 to Aug. 2015. In her time there, Gardner-Webb saw a 94 percent increase in total partnerships, 120 percent increase in trade-in partnerships and a 237 percent increase in sponsorship packages from 2014-2015. Spiro individualized all partnership packages and trade-in opportunities and also created a 2015-16 visiting team guide book with sponsored Runnin’ Bulldogs rates. She developed promotional schedules for all 22 NCAA Division I athletic programs at Gardner-Webb, in addition to composing all game day scripts, video board graphics and social media posts. Spiro was in charge of announcing all promotions, half-time performances and media time-out cheers while assisting with the internal athletics attendance contest, Bulldog Cup Competition. She oversaw the athletic marketing graduate assistants, undergraduate integrated sports management students, and created undergraduate athletic internship programs.
Previously, Spiro served as a marketing and promotions assistant at Gardner-Webb from July 2014 to Nov. 2014. Spiro also served as a Big South marketing and communications intern from Aug. 2011 to May 2014. In the role with the Big South, Spiro operated as student liaison between Gardner-Webb and the Big South Conference while also assisting Big South Conference marketing director with on-campus promotions.
Spiro graduated from Gardner-Webb with a B.A. in Communications: Political Science in 2014. She will earn her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Gardner-Webb in 2016.
Phone: (434) 592-4528
Jake Farkas joined the Liberty athletics department in June of 2015, and currently serves as a Fan Experience & Promotions Assistant.
In his current role, Farkas is the primary athletics marketing contact for Liberty’s women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s tennis, women’s lacrosse and swimming & diving programs. He also oversees the Fan Experience & Promotions intern program.
Prior to his time at Liberty, he served as a marketing & promotions intern for College of Charleston’s athletics department. He assisted with the Cougars’ promotions, fan experience and in-game management for men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball. He also was an intramural supervisor and sports official for Campus Recreation Services while at College of Charleston.
Additionally, Farkas spent the summer of 2014 working as an intern with the Charleston RiverDogs, a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, where he assisted with ticket sales and promotions.
Farkas graduated from College of Charleston in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in sport management at Liberty.
Farkas currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-4450
Lonnie Penner began his time at Liberty in June 2015, and currently serves as a Fan Experience and Promotions Assistant.
Penner is the primary athletics marketing contact for the Liberty men’s soccer, softball and women’s tennis programs while serving as secondary contact for volleyball and women’s basketball. He is also the main point of contact for the Student Flames Club and Gillville.
Prior to joining Liberty, Penner served as a Fan Experience and Sales Intern at Kansas State during the 2014-15 academic year. During his time with Kansas State, he assisted with the preparation and execution of game promotions and recognitions at athletic events. Penner assisted with the marketing efforts for men’s basketball and football. He was responsible for creating the Kansas State Athletics weekly newsletter and promoted Wildcats athletics at area events and university functions.
While attending Manhattan Christian College, Penner was a four-year starter and two-time team captain on the men’s basketball team. He was a four-time all-conference and all-region selection, while twice being named an NCCAA Division II All-American and NCCAA Division II Academic All-American.
Penner graduated from Kansas State with a B.S. in Business Administration, General Management and Human Resource Management in May 2015. He also earned a B.S. in Bible from Manhattan Christian College in 2015. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in sport management at Liberty.
Originally hailing from Whitewater, Kan., Penner currently resides in Lynchburg.
Athletics Ticket Office
Phone: (434) 582-7328
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Seth Mullen joined the Liberty athletics department in August 2012, and currently serves as Assistant Director of Ticket Operations.
In his current role at Liberty, Mullen is responsible for all ticket operations for university events, including theater, concerts, men’s club hockey and special events. He also handles ticket operations for men’s basketball, while assisting with game-day ticket operations for football. Mullen oversees student ticketing for all sports, while also conducting day-to-day operations of the ticket office.
He currently holds membership in the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA). He is a member of the Down Syndrome Association, and is FEMA Certified through the Emergency Management Institute.
Mullen holds a pair of degrees from Liberty. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2011, before earning a master’s degree in sport administration in 2013.
Mullen currently resides in Lynchburg.
Athletics Broadcasting and Video Services
Phone: (434) 592-3905
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Kevin Keys has been a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department Senior Staff since rejoining the program in August 2005. At the time of his return, Keys was named Assistant Athletics Director for External Operations. He became Associate Athletics Director for External Operations in August 2007, and was promoted to Director of Athletics Marketing in September 2012.
Keys, who brings a wealth of athletics experience and expertise in the area of external relations, oversees athletics communications, athletics aspects of the Liberty Flames Sports Network television and radio productions, the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, and the annual golf tournament.
Keys is no stranger to Liberty or to the athletics department, as the 40-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics started his career in 1973 as a statistician for the men’s basketball program. He was promoted to assistant sports information director in 1975, also handling coverage for the football and baseball programs. After graduation in 1977, he was named the school’s first-ever sports information director and remained in the position until 1985, which allowed him to see the department grow from the NCCAA level to NCAA Division I status.
During his tenure, Keys produced 44 publications which received CoSIDA honors at the regional and national levels, including 11 “Best in the Nation” awards. Keys also was instrumental in establishing the Flames Sports Network on radio and served as the play-by-play voice for two seasons. He also established and produced the athletics department’s first-ever corporate marketing program.
Keys quickly became active on the regional and national scene as he served as the president of the NAIA-SIDA from 1982-84 and was honored with the 1984 Ike Pearson Award, signifying the top SID in the NAIA ranks. In 1983, Keys played a significant role in the creation of the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VaSID), the first organization of its kind in the nation. In 2002, Keys received the VaSID Distinguished Service Award, honoring individuals with over 20 years of sports information service in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also served as the information director for the Mason-Dixon Athletic Conference for three years.
Upon leaving Liberty in 1985, Keys moved to Morgantown, W.Va., and joined the West Virginia University athletics department staff as the sports publications director, a position he held for 15 years. While under his supervision, 72 publications were recognized by CoSIDA for excellence at the regional and national levels, including six which received “Best in the Nation” distinction.
In his position, Keys administered the production of all printed materials for the athletics department, totaling over 150 publications annually, and worked as a core member of the Communications Group, which handled all external affairs aspects for the BCS athletic program. During his tenure at West Virginia, he co-authored a book chronicling the history of the Mountaineer football program.
The Beltsville, Md., native officiated basketball and softball for more than 30 years and worked at least one state playoff basketball game in West Virginia for 11 straight years, including the high school championship in 2000.
Keys and his wife, Lori, a native of Lynchburg, have two children, Josh, 28, who graduated from Liberty in 2007 and is currently a college women’s basketball coach, and Jamie, 27, who graduated from Liberty in 2009 and serves as Liberty Athletics’ athletics marketing assistant.
Phone: (434) 592-3999
Alan York began serving as the radio “Voice of the Flames” upon his hire in the fall of 2010. York handles the radio play-by-play for the football and men’s basketball games, plus the weekly coaches radio shows throughout the broadcast season. Prior to his arrival in Lynchburg, York served 12 years as an assistant production manager for ISP in Winston-Salem, NC. While at ISP, York was the lead broadcaster for the ACC National Game of the Week in football. He has also gained experience broadcasting various Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Florida State and East Carolina men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games.
York’s vast experience also allowed him to call minor league baseball for the Winston-Salem Warthogs, the class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. York is no stranger to Big South Conference athletics. From June 2001 to March 2006, he served as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for High Point’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. York has also worked with WXII-TV, an NBC affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C., as a production assistant and radio producer for three years, where his duties included hosting the NASCAR Minute show. York is a 1999 graduate of Guilford College and a native of Mount Airy, NC.
Nick Pierce began work as Liberty’s Athletics Audio Coordinator in 2009. Pierce is an integral part of the Liberty Flames Sports Network radio broadcasts, serving as the pre-game show host and sideline reporter for all football games and play-by-play broadcaster for all baseball games on radio and television. On the television side, Pierce handles the play-by-play duties for Liberty men’s basketball. He also assists on soccer and softball broadcasts.
Pierce co-hosted LFSN's SVG award-winning football national signing day show, which also aired on ESPN3. In 2013, Pierce was a National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators award winner for radio production.
On LibertyFlames.com, Pierce conducts regular audio and video interviews with Liberty’s coaches and student-athletes. He also provides the daily Flames Minute, updating fans on the latest happenings in Liberty athletics. Pierce assists the athletics marketing department on production of radio content, promos for events, cultivating relationships with local radio stations and assisting with sponsorships. He also is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Danville Braves, a minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Pierce works as the public address announcer for the Carolina Panthers.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Pierce majored in broadcast journalism at Liberty, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism in 2007. He is currently a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Tim Lavender serves as Athletics Video Coordinator, a position he has held since joining the Liberty staff in June 2013.
In his current position, Lavender directs, films and edits video content for LibertyFlames.com. He also creates graphics, manages and produces content for athletics video boards. Lavender is responsible for operating and scheduling staff for Daktronics video board equipment on game days. He coordinates video content internally for sports and externally for other institutions, conferences and entities. Lavender handles video and still content from other departments, sponsors and the conference to be used on video boards.
Lavender graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications: broadcasting from Liberty in 2012.
Lavender and his wife, Blythe, live in Lynchburg with their son, Daniel.
Phone: (434) 582-2582
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Bob Good is currently in his 11th year as a member of the Liberty University athletics department, having joined the staff as Director of Athletics Development & Flames Club in August 2005. His responsibilities include the growth and management of the Flames Club Annual Fund, coordination of capital campaigns, and cultivation of major gifts. Under Good’s direction, more than $11 million in contributions have been secured for Liberty Athletics.
Included in that total is the $1 million that was raised in 2009 to expand Osborne Stadium at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex and to construct the Luurtsema Center, a 5,000 square-foot operations center for the soccer and track & field programs. In 2010, Good helped to secure the funds to build the Cook Tennis Center, a 3,000 square-foot facility that serves as an operations center for the tennis programs. The most recent Olympic sport facility project was the 2014 construction of the Clarkson Clubhouse, for which $750,000 in funding was generated from private sources to benefit the golf program.
The majority of Good’s time is devoted to the Flames Club, which has seen dramatic growth in Annual Fund support since his arrival. Flames Club membership stood at 89 donors contributing $56,000 in 2004, the year before Good took the reins. In 2014, the Flames Club had 749 members contribute $678,000, representing a 12-fold increase in giving over the past ten years.
Shortly after coming to Liberty, Good restructured the Flames Club annual fund membership benefits, including parking and seating privileges and game-day hospitality. In 2007, he designed the program’s first priority points system in order to more effectively assign seats and parking on an objective basis that recognizes loyalty and dollars contributed. Good is also responsible for the sale of the 18 luxury suites at Williams Stadium for football, and the four luxury suites in the Liberty Baseball Stadium. The luxury suites have had 98% occupancy since the facilities were opened, and together generate $500,000 in annual revenue.
Good brought a wealth of business experience to the Liberty University campus after serving for 17 years in various positions of leadership with CitiFinancial, a Fortune 100 lending company. He started with the organization in 1988 in Norfolk, Va., before advancing to branch manager in Virginia Beach, Va. in 1990. In 1998, Good was promoted to area training director, where he served as a leadership trainer for 60 branches and 250 employees in five states while based out of Wilmington, Del.
Good was elevated to the position of district manager in 1999 and managed nine lending branches throughout northern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee, while headquartered in Atlanta. Under his leadership, annual net operating income improved from $1.1 million to $3.4 million. Good moved closer to the area in 2002, when he accepted an offer to lead the company’s Roanoke, Va. District and rapidly improved net profit from $1.9 million to $3.7 million. He served in this role until joining the Liberty University athletics department in 2005.
Good is no stranger to Liberty or its athletics program, as he received his Bachelor of Science in finance in 1988 and was a four-year member of the wrestling team. He finished his wrestling career with over 30 victories, including 20 wins during his senior season. Good won the 1988 NCAA South Regional and qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships, where he finished the event in a tie for ninth place.
Good also played a role in the 2005 reinstatement of the wrestling program at Liberty, having served as the chairman of the former Liberty Wrestling Foundation from 2002-04. The organization, comprised of alumni and other supporters of Liberty Wrestling, raised funds to help facilitate the return of NCAA wrestling to the university.
Good earned his Masters of Business Administration from Liberty in 2010, graduating with distinction. He is married to the former Tracey Greene, who was a Liberty cheerleader and is also a 1988 graduate. The couple have three children - Patrick (21), Sydney (18) and Conner (16).
Phone: (434) 582-2582
Lauren Thom is currently in her fifth year as a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department, having joined the staff as the Flames Club Membership Coordinator in April of 2008. In her current capacity, she serves as the manager of events and donor relations.
Thom’s responsibilities include management of the donor data base, gift processing, organization of mail campaigns, coordination of home and away game-day hospitality for football and basketball, donor stewardship, and event planning. She has helped to facilitate the growth of the Flames Club from 332 members in 2007, the year before her arrival, to 511 members in 2011; representing a 54% increase.
Thom graduated in 2008 from Liberty with a B.S. in business marketing. She is from Orlando, Florida and is a graduate of The First Academy, the Christian school affiliated with First Baptist Church of Orlando.
Thom married former Liberty football player Richard Thom, who is currently in his third year of his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Lynchburg College. The couple resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-5896
Megan Robinson became a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department in Feb. 2014, joining the staff as Flames Club Director of Donor Relations.
Robinson graduated in 2012 from Liberty with a B.S. in fashion merchandising and interiors with a minor in business. Robinson then received her M.A. in human services, specializing in business, in 2013.
Robinson is from Chesterfield, Va. and now currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-5895
Adam Farrish became a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department in June 2015, joining the staff as Flames Club Associate.
Farrish graduated in 2012 from Mississippi State University with a B.S. in mass communication. Farrish then received his M.S. in sport management, specializing in athletic administration, in May 2015.
Adam is from Vicksburg, Miss. and currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-3925
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Matt Staton currently serves Liberty as Assistant Athletics Director for Event Management at Liberty, being promoted to that title in July 2013. He had previously held the position of Assistant Athletics Business Manager/Game Operations since 2011. In October 2009, Staton officially joined the athletics department as Game Operations Graduate Assistant.
In his current role, Staton facilitates game-day operations for Liberty’s athletics teams, working directly with coaches, visiting teams and officials. Staton assembles and supervises a group of practicum students, interns and student volunteers to assist at events and gain valuable work experience. He coordinates with on-campus groups for operation of events and supervises the events on game day.
He served as the assistant tournament director when Liberty hosted the 2013 Big South Baseball Championship, and was the tournament director for the 2013 NorPac Field Hockey Championship.
During his time as a graduate assistant, Staton coordinated game-day operations for soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, lacrosse, swimming, softball and baseball. Staton coordinated with visiting teams and officials for their trip to campus, and worked directly with the ticket office and marketing staff to assist with game-day needs.
Staton holds membership with the College Event and Facilities Management Association (CEFMA).
While completing his undergraduate studies at Liberty, Staton spent four seasons assisting the Flames’ football staff as a student manager.
He graduated from Liberty in May 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and a business minor. He then earned his master’s degree in management and leadership, also from Liberty, in May 2011.
Staton and his wife, Kalea, currently reside in Lynchburg.
Clint Lowe became the graduate assistant for Event Management in July 2015.
Lowe graduated from Liberty in May of 2015 with a B.S. in sport management. Lowe was named the 2014-15 Sport Management Student of the Year after serving as a General Manager at Poplar Forest Gold Course and as an intern for the Liberty golf team.
Lowe currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-2407
Fax: (434) 582-4620
Jason Porter was named the Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Medicine on February 1, 2012. His duties include administrating and overseeing the daily needs of the athletic training staff, graduate assistants, and working to coordinate the overall operations of Liberty University Sports Medicine. In addition, Porter is an adjunct professor in Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) and an instructor for the ACES Board of Certification (BOC) workshops.
Porter graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1997 with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and a concentration in Sports Medicine. During his undergraduate career, Porter obtained summer positions at both the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY and the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. In 1999, Porter completed his master’s degree in sports administration at Texas Tech University while serving as a Graduate Assistant with football and track and field. Porter was the Head Athletic Trainer at Southwest Baptist University from 1999-2001 and the Head Football Athletic Trainer at Liberty during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
From 2003 – 2008, Porter moved into full time ministry fulfilling positions as church administrator, college pastor and senior pastor in the St. Louis, MO area. While in the ministry, Porter kept his athletic training skills sharp by working as an adjunct professor at Logan College of Chiropractic, teaching in the Masters’ Program in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. Porter additionally taught Biomechanics in the Health and Sport Science department at Missouri Baptist University. Porter’s passion for both teaching and athletics, has allowed him the privilege of preaching at team chapels for the St. Louis Rams, NCAA Women’s Final Four Coaches’ Chapel, numerous FCA and AIA events, and pregame devotions for Liberty baseball and women’s basketball programs respectively.
Porter is a member of the Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (VATA) and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Porter also serves as an ACES BOC workshop instructor.
In 2009, Porter returned to Liberty University when he joined the Athletic Training Education Program faculty as the Clinical Coordinator and assistant professor teaching the practicum courses, Upper and Lower Evaluation, Medical Aspects, Community Health, and Introduction to Exercise Science. Porter is an adjunct professor in Health Science and is currently pursuing his doctorate in Educational Leadership through Liberty University.
Porter is married to Rachael and the couple has one daughter, Eden (9). The Porters currently reside in Forest, Va.
Barry Finke is in his 10th year as a member of the Liberty University Athletic Training staff and once again will be working with the football program. Prior to the start of the 2012 football season, Finke was promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Trainer.
During his time on staff, Finke has been part of a program that has won seven of the last eight Big South titles and saw the program make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Before joining the staff at Liberty in August 2005, Finke served as assistant athletic trainer at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., from 2002-05. He was responsible for initial medical assessment of sport-related injuries during middle school and high school athletic events and practices, while also providing treatment and rehabilitation of injuries which occurred during athletic events.
Finke got his start at The McCallie School in 2001 as a graduate assistant athletic trainer and served in the role for one year before receiving a full-time position.
Finke graduated from UT-Chattanooga in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, fitness and wellness. While pursuing a master’s degree in advanced athletic training, he served as a graduate assistant at UT-Chattanooga, working closely with the football program and supervising several student athletic trainers within the program.
Upon completing his undergraduate degree at UT-Chattanooga in 2000, Finke served a three-month internship in sports medicine at the Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla., performing various types of rehabilitation including athletic training, cardiac, pulmonary and hand therapy.
Finke, a native of Boaz, Ala., is married to the former Mary Jett. The couple, who currently resides in the Lynchburg area, has three children; Noah, Ella and Emerson.
Volleyball, Men's and Women's Tennis
Tuesday Hunt joined the Liberty Sports Medicine staff in July 2014 as Senior Associate Athletic Trainer for Women’s Sport. In her current position, Hunt is responsible for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for volleyball and men’s and women’s tennis teams.
She is certified through the Board of Certification (BOC) and holds memberships with National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) and Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (VATA).
Previous to Liberty, Hunt served as assistant athletic trainer at the University of Louisville for Women’s Basketball. While at Louisville she had the privilege of working with the 2012-2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champion Runner-Up.
Before her stint at Louisville, Hunt was named Associate Athletic Trainer at Charleston Southern University after serving as Assistant Athletic Trainer for four years. During her time at CSU, she worked with Women’s Basketball, Volleyball and Cheerleading.
Hunt served two years as the Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at Charleston Southern University where she worked with Track and Field, Cross Country, Football and Women’s Basketball.
Hunt graduated from Erskine College with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2006. In 2008 she graduated from Charleston Southern University with a Master’s in Business Administration.
She is married to Blake Hunt and the couple currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Men's Basketball, Golf and Rehab Coordinator
Aaron Schreiner enters his 11th year as a member of the Sports Medicine staff after being hired in August 2005. Currently, Schreiner serves as the Senior Associate Athletic Trainer for Men’s Sports principally caring for the men’s basketball program. In addition, Schreiner also oversees athletic training for the men’s golf program and is responsible for coordinating rehab and insurance for all Liberty Athletics programs.
Schreiner came to Liberty from Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio, where he served as a graduate assistant from August of 2003 until May of 2005, while pursuing his master’s degree at Toledo. At Tiffin, Schreiner served primarily as an athletic trainer for the Dragon’s football program, while assisting with men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, and baseball teams.
Prior to his days at Tiffin, Schreiner worked with the Chillicothe Paints Baseball Club of the Frontier League in Chillicothe, Ohio. He served as a certified athletic trainer during the 2003 season and as a first aid responder and medical assistant during the 2002 season.
A National Athletic Trainers’ Associate member since 2002, Schreiner is a 2002 graduate of Taylor University in Upland, Ind., where he received his bachelor’s degree in athletic training. He received his master of science in exercise science with an emphasis in clinical kinesiology from Toledo in May 2005, finishing the program with magna cum laude honors.
Schreiner, a native of Continental, Ohio, and his wife, Chelsea, who is from Chillicothe, Ohio, were married in November 2005. The couple resides in Bedford, Va., with their daughters, Abigail and Aubrey.
Women's Soccer, Softball, Swimming
Hugh Blocker is the assistant athletic trainer responsible for providing care and coverage for Women’s Soccer, Women’s Swimming and Diving, and Softball. Blocker returned to Liberty in September 2014 after spending the previous two years at The College of William and Mary.
Blocker is certified through the Board of Certification (BOC) and holds memberships with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) and the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA).
Blocker had previously served as a graduate assistant at Liberty from 2009-2012, where he completed his M.S. in sports management and administration. Blocker completed his undergraduate work at Cedarville University (OH), earning a B.S. in athletic training.
He has been involved with the international sports ministry Athletes in Action since his time at Cedarville, having travelled on summer tours to Mexico and Guatemala with a multitude of teams. Blocker has also been member of the National Ski Patrol since 2003, currently volunteering on weekends at Wintergreen Resort when he is able.
Blocker currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Women's Basketball, Cheerleading
Ben Galley is the assistant athletic trainer in charge of women’s basketball and cheerleading. Galley is in his fourth season with the Liberty Sports Medicine Program.
Galley graduated from Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in 2009.
The following year, he earned a master’s of science in athletic training from California University of Pennsylvania. He also owns a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification as a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES).
Galley and his wife Katie currently reside in Lynchburg, Va.
Track & Field, Cross Country
Mary Green joined the Liberty Athletics Department in July 2013, and currently serves as Assistant Athletic Trainer.
Green is tasked with prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries for Liberty’s men’s and women’s track & field and cross country teams.
She is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).
Prior to joining Liberty’s staff in 2013, Green spent two years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at South Carolina. While at South Carolina, she served women’s tennis, golf, and track & field. She completed a research paper entitled Diagnostic ultrasound imaging to measure the thickness of the transversus abdominis muscle during a supine abdominal bridge.
Green has served as an athletic trainer with the international sports ministries of Athletes in Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes on a number of summer tours traveling to the Caribbean, Guatemala and in the states with the Xenia Scouts baseball team in Ohio. During the summer of 2007, she went on a tour of Russia as a volleyball player for Athletes in Action.
Green earned a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from Wingate in 2011. She then completed her master’s degree in physical education with a concentration in athletic training in 2013 from South Carolina.
Green currently resides in Forest, Va.
Maggie Carr joined the Liberty Sports Medicine staff in December 2013, currently holding the position of Assistant Athletic Trainer.
In her current position, Carr assists the head football athletic trainer in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.
She is certified through the Board of Certification (BOC), and holds memberships with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA).
Carr previously served as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at Liberty, assisting with football, swimming & diving, women’s soccer and softball, before being promoted to a full-time position.
Prior to her time at Liberty, Carr was an Intern Athletic Trainer at Miami (Ohio), specializing with men’s and women’s swimming & diving.
She also spent time as an Athletes in Action Sports Performance Intern with the Xenia Scouts baseball team.
Carr graduated from Gardner-Webb with a Bachelor of Science in athletic training in 2011. She then received her M.S. in sports administration in May of 2014 from Liberty.
Carr and her husband Ryan, Assistant Equipment Manager, currently reside in Lynchburg, Va.
Men's soccer, baseball
Dan Preusser has been an assistant athletic trainer at Liberty University since 2009. He is in charge of medical care for the men’s soccer and baseball teams.
Preusser completed his Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training at Liberty University in 2006 and received his MSEd degree from Virginia Tech in 2008.
Prior to his position at Liberty University, Preusser filled internship positions with the University of Michigan and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also has volunteer experience with the USOC at the USA Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and is a Licensed Athletic Trainer in the state of Virginia. Pruesser's additional qualifications include a CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) certification, FMS (Functional Movement Systems) certification, and Graston Technique level 1 training.
Preusser currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Lacrosse, Field Hockey
Jen Tapken is the assistant athletic trainer responsible for women’s lacrosse and field hockey.
She completed her undergraduate degree at Liberty in 2010 and received her master’s in sports science at Florida State University in 2012 where she was a graduate assistant with the women’s tennis and sand volleyball teams.
Tapken currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Rhonda Becker first joined the Liberty University Athletics Department in August 2014, where she serves in the sports medicine department as the Athletic Insurance Coordinator. In her current position, Becker is responsible for facilitating the secondary insurance process for all of Liberty’s NCAA student-athletes. She serves as a liaison for Liberty’s secondary insurance company, medical providers and student-athletes. Becker is responsible for filing claims, resolving claim denials and communicating with athletic trainers, student-athletes, parents, insurance companies and medical providers.
She previously worked as a marketing and move-in coordinator for The Village at Orchard Ridge, a National Lutheran Retirement Community in Winchester, VA. Becker specialized in office management, product marketing, event planning, promotions, and property management.
Becker earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems from UNC Greensboro in 1984.
A native of Fairfax, VA, Becker currently resides in Forest with her husband, Brian, and their son, Bryce (14). They also have 3 daughters, Morgan (23) a 2014 Liberty University graduate and former member of the women’s lacrosse team, Olivia (20), a junior at Liberty and current member of the women’s lacrosse team and Savannah (18), currently a freshman at Liberty. The Becker’s are members of Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Phone: (434) 582-2100
Fax: (434) 582-2076
Phone: (434) 582-2100
Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber named Lauren Jones the Director of Sports Nutrition on July 10, 2015.
Jones is responsible for all nutrition and performance-related concerns for Liberty’s student-athletes including individual and team counseling, body composition analysis, recovery nutrition plans, grocery store tours, training table menu planning, travel meal arrangements, managing the fueling station and supplement education.
Jones came to Liberty after having served as a sports nutrition intern at Tennessee since January.
During her time with the Volunteers, Jones was responsible for all the nutrition needs for men’s and women’s tennis, track & field, volleyball, swimming & diving, rowing and men’s and women’s golf.
She also has assisted with the day-to-day nutrition needs of Tennessee’s football program, including pre-lift/practice fueling, post-lift/practice recovery, preparing individualized protein shakes based on body composition goals, training table attendance and meal choice guidance.
Prior to her internship at Tennessee, Jones served one year as a contract dietitian at the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio.
Jones graduated from Kent State with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics in 2011 with magna cum laude honors.
Jones was a four-year starter on the Golden Flashes’ volleyball team, earning Academic All-MAC Team honors in 2008 and 2010 and All-MAC Freshman Team honors in 2007.
Jones finished her playing career at Kent State ranked fourth in program history in service aces per set (0.41), sixth in career digs (1,150) and 10th in career service aces (124). She was a high school All-American at East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, Mich., and was named Michigan’s “Miss Volleyball” in 2007.
Jones received her Master of Science degree in Sports Nutrition from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs in 2013. She worked with both Olympic and collegiate athletes, which included team talks, hydration testing and nutrition education events and workshops. Her graduate study, Weight Management Practices of the 2012 Olympians in Combat Sports, was published in the International Journal of Wrestling Science in March of 2012.
The Michigan native also completed a 1,200-plus hour dietetic internship at Ohio State in 2014. During her internship, Jones assisted with Ohio State’s football game day nutrition and the team’s freshman breakfast club. She also assisted with grocery store tours and individual nutrition consults with several others sports.
Jones is a Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians association member, while as well as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics member.
Strength and Conditioning
Phone: (434) 582-2106
Fax: (434) 582-2076
Bill Gillespie returned to the Liberty University campus during the winter of 2005 and serves the athletic department as the director of the strength and conditioning program, including the oversight of the weightlifting and conditioning efforts for the football program.
Gillespie has more than 20 years of experience in collegiate strength and conditioning and two years of experience at the professional level after serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks from 2003 until just prior to his return to Liberty.
During his time in staff, Gillespie has been part of a program that has won seven of the last eight Big South titles and saw the program make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Gillespie got his coaching start at the collegiate level here at Liberty. He served as assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1983-91, while also serving the university as assistant track and field coach in 1983-85 and 1987-91 and head track and field coach in 1986.
After leaving Liberty in 1991, Gillespie spent 11 years as a member of the strength and conditioning staff at Washington. Gillespie joined the staff as assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1991 and was promoted to Director of Strength and Conditioning in 1999.
Gillespie helped the football program make nine bowl appearances during his tenure, including three-consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl. The Huskies earned a 34-14 victory over Michigan on January 1, 1991, to cap off an undefeated 12-0 season and earn a number two national ranking in the polls.
Gillespie was named Pac-10 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2001, while finishing as a finalist for National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2001.
Before joining the Seattle Seahawks’ strength and conditioning staff, Gillespie served as the defensive line and strength coach at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash., in 2002.
Gillespie is a world-renowned weightlifter, as he is a 45-time world record holder in the bench press after a lift of 804.5 lbs. at the WABDL World Cup Bench Press and Deadlift Championships in April of 2009. He is also a 23-time world champion in the bench press.
Gillespie, a member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) Master Strength and Conditioning Coach program, received his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Liberty in 1983. Gillespie and associate strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams give Liberty the first pair of CSCCA Master Strength Coaches at the same institution at the NCAA Division I FCS level.
While at Liberty, Gillespie was a four-time All-American and a two-time small college national champion in the shot put and a two-year letterwinner on the football team. Gillespie is the former school record in the shot put with an outdoor mark of 55’ 8 ½”, a mark which stood for 24 years. He was also Liberty’s 1983 recipient of the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera award, given annual to Liberty’s top graduating student-athlete.
The native of Tacoma, Wash., and his wife, Anita, have two children – Cameron, who is a former member of the football team, and Rachel. Gillespie and Cameron are the strongest father/son combo in the bench press of all-time in the world.
Considered one of the top strength coaches in the country, Dave Williams enters his 33rd year as a member of the strength and conditioning coaching staff for the Flames’ 20-sport athletics program. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (C.S.C.S.).
During the 1992-93 school year, Williams was one of five finalists nominated for national Strength Coach of the Year. This included strength coaches from the professional sports ranks, along with colleagues at the collegiate level.
Prior to accepting his current position at Liberty, Williams served three years as the head strength coach at Texas A&M. He also spent a year as an assistant strength coach at Alabama.
Before entering the strength and conditioning profession, Williams spent six years as a teacher and coach. He coached for two years at Liberty High School in Bedford, Va., and spent four seasons at Timberlake Christian School in Lynchburg, Va.
Williams earned Associated Press Little All-America honors while playing collegiately at Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.Va. He played both offensive and defensive line and was a two-year co-captain at Fairmont State, who was NAIA National Champions in 1967. In 2003, the school honored Williams as he was inducted into the Fairmont State College Athletic Department Hall of Fame.
Williams also was an All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection. He played high school football at South Charleston High School in South Charleston, W.Va., where he lettered all four years.
Williams graduated from Fairmont State in 1968 with a degree in biology and physical education. He also holds a master’s degree from Alabama in physical education.
Williams was recently honored by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association as the veteran coach was named a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Williams, along with head strength and conditioning coach Bill Gillespie, were the first pair of honored coaches at the same institution at the NCAA Division I FCS level with this distinction.
He and his wife, Lee, have two daughters, Shelley and Mandy. They also have three grandchildren.
Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber has announced the hiring of Eric Overland as the athletics department’s Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports.
“As we now add the new position of Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports, we could not have found a better coach to lead this charge than Eric,” stated Barber.
“He has great experience in many sports and will bring tremendous value to our Olympic teams and understands the culture of the student-athlete as much as I’ve ever seen,” continued Barber. “Eric, Marcia and their children will be a wonderful addition to the Flames family.”
Overland’s addition to Liberty’s athletics department staff is the third new administrative hire for Barber this summer. Earlier this summer, Barber named Tim East as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations and Lauren Jones as Director of Sports Nutrition. All three hires are new positions within Liberty’s athletics department.
“My wife, children and I are excited about joining the Liberty family,” Overland stated. “Having the opportunity to work at an institution that competes for Christ with such passion and purpose is awesome!”
Overland recently completed his fourth year as the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.
During his time with the Wildcats which started in July 2011, Overland oversaw all aspects of strength and conditioning for each of Abilene Christian’s 16 NCAA Division I athletics programs.
Overland worked closely with Abilene Christian’s athletic training staff and athletics department physicians in the areas of pre and rehabilitation purposes.
Overland was in the process of helping to design and renovate Abilene Christian’s Powell Fitness Center, a 9,000-square foot workout center.
In his new role at Liberty, Overland will play a part in helping to design Liberty’s new Athletics Performance Center (APC). Nearly a third of the 60,000-square foot facility will house a new centralized weight room for Liberty’s Olympic sport student-athletes.
Prior to his position at Abilene Christian, Overland served as the Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning at Winona State during the 2010-11 athletics season.
While working at his alma mater, Overland directed an internship program where he helped place future professionals in roles at local high schools. He also served as an adjunct professor in advanced strength and conditioning courses.
Overland got his start in collegiate athletics at Notre Dame where he began as a volunteer strength and conditioning intern. Following a one year paid internship with the Fighting Irish, Overland spent his last two years (2008-10) as an assistant strength and conditioning coach, working with the men’s and women’s tennis, volleyball and cheerleading programs.
During his time at Notre Dame, Overland also worked with the Fighting Irish football program for three seasons. Responsible for overseeing technology for the strength and conditioning program, Overland kept track of the team’s polar heart rate, while instructing players and coaches on how to use polar heart monitors.
Overland also instructed Notre Dame student-athletes with the help of Dartfish video analysis, insuring proper execution of workout techniques. In his final six months with the Fighting Irish, Overland worked with the softball, fencing and track & field programs.
Prior to entering the collegiate strength and condition profession, Overland worked three years with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as the organization’s Southeast Minnesota Area Director.
Overland is a 2002 graduate of Winona State in Winona, Minn., where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He was a four-year member of the Warriors’ football team as a defensive end (1998-01).
Overland recently completed his Master of Science degree from Winona State in Sport Management in May 2015.
Overland is a certified strength and conditioning coach with the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa). He is also certified as a Sport Performance Coach with United States of America Weightlifting.
Overland, who is a native of Waseca, Minn., and his wife, Marcia, have four children – Abigail, Micah, Caitlyn and Jessica.
Shelton Stevens currently serves as Liberty’s Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports, a position he has held since joining the staff Sept. 7, 2015.
In his current role, Stevens directs the strength and conditioning programs for Liberty’s baseball, men’s golf and swimming & diving programs. He also oversees the development of the department’s sports science strategies while assisting with the internship development and continuing education programs.
Prior to joining the Flames’ staff, Stevens had served as Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning at Arkansas State beginning in January 2014. While at Arkansas State, he directed and designed the strength and conditioning programs for the baseball and volleyball teams, while also assisting with strength program for the football team.
Stevens earned experience at Mercer, where he was Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning from June 2013 through January 2014. His main responsibilities were with the baseball, softball and lacrosse programs, while he also assisted with football and men’s basketball.
While at Southern Miss from January 2011 through November 2012, Stevens served as Head Assistant of Strength & Conditioning. He designed and implemented strength and conditioning programs for the baseball, soccer, volleyball and golf teams.
Stevens led Nova Southeastern’s department from June 2009 through January 2011, when he served as an assistant strength coach for five months before being promoted to Head Strength & Conditioning Coach. He built a strength and conditioning program from the ground up, while overseeing 17 athletic teams.
Prior to working at Nova Southeastern, Stevens completed strength and conditioning internships at Florida State, Wofford and LSU. While at LSU, he was mentored by renowned strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt. He also assisted with LSU’s football team and 2009 national champion baseball team.
Stevens is a member of the Certified Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa), where he holds his Strength & Conditioning Coaches Certification (SCCC). He is also certified through the United States of America Weightlifting association (USAW), the national governing body for weightlifting in the United States.
Additionally, Stevens is a member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), where he is a Registered Strength & Conditioning Coach (RSCC).
Stevens graduated with his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Palm Beach Atlantic in May, 2007. He earned a Master of Education degree, with an emphasis in athletic administration from Nova Southeastern in August 2010.
A native of Waynesboro, Va., Stevens, and his wife, Macie, were married on May 16, 2015. The couple resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Former Liberty volleyball standout Karyl Wiese returned to her alma mater in December 2012, and currently serves as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Wiese currently focuses on directing the strength and conditioning programs for Liberty’s women’s soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and men’s and women’s tennis.
She is Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), of which she is also a member. She holds membership in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is certified as a Health Fitness Specialist (HFS).
Following her graduation from Liberty, Wiese completed a pair of internships in her home state of California. She was an intern at UCLA and at UC Irvine, prior to her return to Liberty as a graduate assistant in 2012.
Wiese was a four-year letterwinner (2007-10) on Liberty’s volleyball team, helping the Lady Flames win four straight Big South regular-season titles and Big South postseason championships in 2007 and 2008. She was a two-time Big South All-Conference selection, garnering first team mention in 2010. Wiese was twice a member of the Big South All-Tournament team, and was voted to the VaSID All-State first team as a senior. She was named the 2011 Big South Woman of the Year, the third Liberty student-athlete to receive the award. Wiese is one of 10 members of Liberty’s 1,000/1,000 club, currently ranking seventh in program history in digs (1,472) and 12th in kills (1,155).
Wiese earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Liberty in 2011. Wiese completed her master’s degree in public health: nutrition in March of 2015.
Wiese and her husband Matt currently reside in Lynchburg, Va.
Solomon Tat became a member of the Liberty University Athletics Department in Aug. 2012, joining the men’s basketball team as a graduate assistant. In May 2014, Tat was named Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for both men’s basketball and men’s soccer.
Prior to his arrival at Liberty, Tat was two-time captain for the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team. Tat competed in 65 games over four years of competition.
Tat received his Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign affairs from Virginia in 2012. Tat later completed his Master of Arts and Human Services degree with a concentration in business from Liberty in May 2014.
In 2010 Tat founded The Process Basketball Foundation in Nigeria. Tat is still a manager for the foundation where he develops basketball camps for under-privileged kids. Tat also works directly with the Nigeria Basketball Federation to help build youth programs while assisting the Nigeria National Team.
While a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball squad, Tat assisted in postgame team breakdown clips, individual game improvement clips and player breakdowns.
Tat currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Donna Barber currently serves as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Liberty, serving in the strength and conditioning department since 2008.
In her current role, she has aided hundreds of student-athletes in Liberty’s weight rooms, helping them become more functional while increasing their explosiveness and mobility. She has helped many of Liberty’s conference championship teams reach their full potential.
In 2012, Barber created, developed and directed Liberty’s newly-formed Sports Nutrition department. From 2012 through 2015, she developed policies and procedures, implemented sports nutrition guidelines, and was responsible for purchasing and delivering all supplements and nutritional snacks. She was instrumental in providing team education, body compositing testing, one-on-one consultations, grocery store tours and supervising sports nutrition interns.
Barber has led group fitness workouts for women, as a certified fitness instructor for Body & Soul Fitness International. Many of her clients achieved and surpassed their fitness and weight loss goals, with some becoming instructors.
She currently holds a Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) certification, while also being certified through APEC. Barber is certified by the American Academy of Sports Dietitians and Nutritionists (AASDN). Her ACE certification ran from 2002 through 2014.
During the 2015-16 academic year, Barber serves on Liberty’s Exercise Science Advisory Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians (CPSDA).
She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Furman in 1990.
Barber is married to Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber. The couple has three children – Katie, Lindsay and Jay.
Phone: (434) 582-2103
Fax: (434) 582-2912
The 2014 Big South Coach of the Year, Jim Toman has overseen the rise of the Liberty Flames baseball program to national prominence during his tenure.
Toman enters his eighth year at Liberty, having posted the highest NCAA Division I winning percentage (.631) and compiled the best Big South Conference winning percentage (.676) during his first seven years in Lynchburg of any head baseball coach in program history.
This past season, he became the first coach in school history to lead the Flames to back-to-back NCAA berths. After claiming an automatic bid by winning the 2013 Big South Championship, Toman’s 2014 team received the program’s first at-large selection to an NCAA Regional.
During his tenure, Liberty has posted the school’s three top single-season win totals in program history. The 2010 Flames set the school record with 43 wins, while Liberty posted 41-win seasons in 2012 and 2014. In addition, three of the four teams with 40-plus victory seasons all-time have been under Toman’s leadership.
The Flames have won 35 or more games in six of his seven seasons at Liberty and have averaged 37 wins per season, the most of any head coach in program history. The Flames have notched a 264-155-1 overall record during his seven seasons on Liberty Mountain and have also posted a 119-57 Big South mark over the span.
During his coaching career, Toman has been a part of 16 NCAA Regional teams, seven NCAA Super Regional teams and three College World Series teams.
After capturing the Big South regular season title with a 23-3 record, Toman’s Liberty squad garnered the program’s first ever at-large selection to a NCAA Regional, this past season. In addition, the Flames, who finished the year at 41-18, were ranked among one of the four major baseball polls during the regular season for the first time in program history, reaching as high as No. 21 in the Baseball America weekly poll on March 21.
Liberty’s 23 Big South victories were also the most in school history. The Flames won 20 consecutive conference games during the season.
At year’s end, Liberty became the first team in Big South history to sweep the major conference awards. Toman was an unanimous selection as the conference’s Coach of the Year, while second baseman Ryan Seiz was named the Big South Player of the Year. Trey Lambert was selected the Big South Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first Liberty pitcher ever to garner the award and also was named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Pitcher Parker Bean was voted the conference’s Freshman of the Year.
Nationally, Seiz became the first player in Liberty history to be named to three postseason All-American teams. Meanwhile, Bean was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and VaSID All-State Rookie of the Year.
In addition, first baseman Alex Close and Lambert became the first two players to be named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America team.
One of the key elements of the Flames’ success in 2014 was its mound corps. Liberty led the Big South Conference with a 2.62 ERA and finished the year ranked 14th nationally in the category. The Flames’ ERA set the mark for the lowest in program history for a season. Liberty also topped the Big South with nine shutouts.
The relief corps also enjoyed a strong season in 2014, recording 16 saves, tying for the second most in program history with Toman’s 2010 team.
In 2013,Toman guided the Flames to their first NCAA Regional final appearance in program history and their first Big South Championship since 2000. Toman’s Flames won five straight games to capture the 2013 Big South Championship and gain a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Columbia, S.C. Regional, the highest seed for a Liberty team in school history, The Flames then defeated Clemson twice to make their first appearance in a regional final in the 40-year history of the program.
Liberty became only the second fifth seed in Big South history to win the conference title. The Flames posted a 36-29 overall record and a 13-11 mark in Big South play, finishing in third place in the conference’s North Division and fifth overall.
Liberty posted a fielding percentage of .972 while playing the most games in a season in program history. Led by Johnny Bench Watch list member Trey Wimmer, Flames’ opponents had only 51 percent stolen base success rate in 2013 and swiped 27 bases, the fewest stolen bases allowed by Liberty in the past nine years.
In 2012, the Flames posted their second 40-plus win season in a three-year span under Toman and set school records for team ERA, shutouts and fielding percentage. Liberty pitchers recorded a 3.04 team ERA, ranking 15th nationally. In addition, the Flames set a Big South and school record with 11 shutouts.
Defensively, Liberty finished the year with a school record .975 fielding percentage and gave up 217 runs, the fewest by a Flames team since allowing 209 in 1991. Liberty finished the season tied for 12th in the country in runs allowed per game (3.4 runs/games).
Toman saw first baseman Alex Close named a Freshman All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.
The year before, Toman saw seven players from his Flames squad selected during the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, the most players chosen in a single draft in the 40-year history of the program. The number tied the 2007 and 2010 Coastal Carolina squads for the Big South Conference record for players picked in a single draft.
Liberty had its best season under Toman in 2010, posting a school record for wins in a single season with a 43-18 record. At the time, it was only the second 40-win campaign in the history of the program. The team's ledger was boosted by a 21-8 road mark, the nation's 10th best road record in 2010.
On May 2 of that year, Toman recorded his 100th career victory, as the Flames defeated Gardner-Webb, 10-7, at Worthington Stadium. Toman became the fastest Liberty baseball head coach to amass the milestone, doing so in 160 games.
The Flames had their best year at the plate during Toman's tenure in 2010. Liberty hit .318 and scored 691 runs, the second-best total in each category over the previous 16 years. Third baseman Tyler Bream set a school record with 96 hits in a single campaign, while second baseman P.J. Jimenez and outfielder Curran Redal also recorded 90 hits during the year.
The Liberty relief corps also enjoyed a strong season, recording 16 saves, the second most in program history. Only the 2000 Flames team had more, posting 18 saves.
In 2009, the Liberty pitching staff set a new season strikeout record, fanning 508 opposing batters. The Flames' strikeout total led the Big South Conference and their 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings ranked 22nd nationally at season's end.
Also, Liberty set a new fielding standard, committing the fewest errors, 53, in team history. The 2009 team's fielding percentage ranked 16th in the country. From that infield, third baseman Tyler Bream was named a Freshman All-American by the Collegiate Baseball News.
After 11 seasons as the senior member of Ray Tanner's coaching staff at South Carolina, Toman was named the sixth head coach in the history of the Liberty Baseball program in June 2007. Toman worked a total of 18 years alongside Tanner, dating back to the 1990 season at N.C. State.
During his time at South Carolina, Toman served as recruiting coordinator and coached the team’s catchers. Known as one of the top recruiters in college baseball, the 26-year college coaching veteran was named the 2002 Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. Before joining the Gamecock staff in 1996, Toman served under Tanner for seven years at N.C. State.
Toman has recruited 15 top 25 classes, including all 11 of his seasons at South Carolina. During his final years with the Gamecocks, he recruited many of the players who were members of the 2010 and 2011 South Carolina National Championship teams. Toman's 2003, 2005 and 2006 Gamecock recruiting classes were ranked first in the nation by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
During his time on the staff in Columbia, S.C., Toman and the Gamecocks made nine NCAA Regional trips, including eight straight appearances between 2000 and 2007, and three consecutive visits to the College World Series (2002-04). N.C. State made seven NCAA appearances during his time there.
In addition, South Carolina posted eight straight seasons of 40 or more wins with Toman on the Gamecock coaching staff. During his 11 seasons at South Carolina, he helped the Gamecocks to a combined 500-220 record (.694).
A catcher, Toman was a four-year letterwinner at N.C. State from 1981-84, and served as team captain of the Wolfpack his junior and senior seasons. The highlight of his career as a player came in the 1984 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, when he set tournament records for home runs (4), doubles (4) and total bases (25) and was named to the all-tournament team.
Toman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in vocational industrial education from N.C. State in 1985 and graduated as the top student in the vocational industrial education curriculum. He received a Master of Science degree in sport management from N.C. State in 1995 with a 4.0 grade-point average.
Upon graduation, Toman entered the coaching profession as an assistant at Richmond County High School in Rockingham, N.C. While working with one of the top high school baseball programs in North Carolina for two years, he also served as head wrestling coach and as an assistant football coach. He then moved to Atlantic Community High School in Del Ray Beach, Fla., where he spent a year as an assistant for baseball.
Toman moved into the collegiate coaching ranks in 1989 as an assistant at Florida International for one year. At Florida International, he was responsible for the weight program, worked with the squad's catchers and coached first base. Toman joined the N.C. State staff before the 1990 season.
Toman also spent three summers as an assistant coach with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League.
A native of Monroeville, Pa., Toman lives in Forest, Va. He has three children - Caroline (17), Charlie Mac (14), and Tucker (11). He is a member of the Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Entering his sixth year at Liberty, Jason Murray serves as an assistant coach and the team's recruiting coordinator. He provides infield instruction, assists with hitting instruction and serves as the team's third base coach during games.
Murray is no stranger in Big South Conference baseball circles, having also served two assistant coaching stints at Winthrop and leading the Charleston Southern program as its head coach for four years from 2005-08.
This past season, Murray helped the Flames capture the Big South regular season title with a 23-3 record and garner the program’s first ever at-large selection to a NCAA Regional. The Flames finished the year at 41-18, their third 40-plus win season during Murray’s six years at Liberty.
In addition, the Flames were ranked in one of the four major baseball polls during the regular season for the first time in program history, reaching as high as No. 21 in the Baseball America weekly poll on March 21. Liberty’s 23 Big South victories were also the most in school history. The Flames won 20 consecutive conference games during the season.
At year’s end, Liberty became the first team in Big South history to sweep the major conference awards. Second baseman Ryan Seiz, who was selected the Big South Player of the Year and first baseman Alex Close, shortstop Dalton Britt and catcher Danny Grauer, who all earned all-conference honors, received instruction from Murray.
Also, Seiz became the first Liberty player to be named to three All-American teams. Close and pitcher Trey Lambert became the first two Liberty players to be selected to the Capital One Academic All-American first team.
In June, Murray saw Seiz and Close drafted in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. Seiz was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 17th round, while Close was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the 23rd round.
In 2013, Murray helped guide the Flames to their first NCAA Regional final appearance in program history and their first Big South Championship since 2000. Liberty won five straight games to capture the 2013 Big South Championship and gain a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Columbia, S.C. Regional, the highest seed for a Liberty team in school history.
The Flames posted a .972 fielding percentage in 2013, three points lower than the school record set the year before. Murray had a hand in that production, tutoring freshmen infielders Jake Kimble at third base and Dalton Britt at shortstop.
In addition, Murray helped in the development of two-way standout Ashton Perritt in 2013. Perritt hit .343, scored 34 runs and stole 18 bases after taking over the leadoff position in the Liberty batting order a quarter of the way through the season. The sophomore outfielder proved to be one of the key catalysts in the Flames’ Big South title run, earning tournament MVP honors.
Big South first team catcher Trey Wimmer and outfielder Ryan Cordell were two of Liberty’s four 2013 Major Baseball Draft selections, who received direction from Murray.
In two of his first three years on the Flames staff, Liberty won 40 or more games in season. In 2012, the Flames posted a 41-19 record, as Murray’s fielders set a program record with a .975 fielding percentage. Liberty committed 53 errors and turned 60 double plays in 60 games.
Meanwhile, under Murray’s guidance first baseman Alex Close was named a 2012 Freshman All-America and the Big South Freshman of the Year, while setting a new conference freshman season record with 14 home runs.
During the 2011 season, Murray assisted in helping Liberty hitters make an adjustment to the new BBCOR bats. Infielders Tyler Bream and Matt Williams and catcher Casey Rasmus were three of the program and conference record seven Flames selected in the 2011 Major League Draft, who received guidance from Murray.
Liberty hitters and infielders put together strong campaigns with Murray's assistance in his first year on the Flames staff. Liberty posted a school-record 43 wins, hitting .318 and scoring 691 runs, the second-best total in each category over the past 16 years. Third baseman Tyler Bream set the school record with 96 hits during the season, while second baseman P.J. Jimenez and outfielder Curran Redal, also recorded at 90 hits each during the year.
In addition, the Flames recorded a .971 fielding percentage, the best in the Big South Conference, and turned 62 double plays, finishing the year 19th nationally in the category.
Before coming to Liberty, Murray served as an assistant coach for the second time under Joe Hudak at Winthrop in 2009. He assisted with positional player development for the Eagles, who recorded a 35-25 overall mark and finished in second place in the Big South standings with an 18-9 mark. He saw two players under his guidance, John Murrian (Detrioit Tigers) and Kevin Nolan (Toronto Blue Jays), chosen in the 2009 MLB Draft and sign professional contracts. Murray also assisted with on-campus recruiting, player academic progress and field maintenance and was director of the team's youth hitting school.
From 2005-08, Murray was the head coach at Charleston Southern, where he recorded the fourth highest win total in school history with an 82-136 mark. In his four years at the school, Murray led the Buccaneers to several accomplishments both on and off the field. On the field, three players were selected Freshmen All-Americans, six were named all-conference players and one received conference academic team honors. Off the field, he saw his team record a 3.0 GPA for the first time in eight years in 2006 and receive the athletic department's 2007 and 2008 Athletic Team Community Service Award.
During the 2008 season, Murray's Buccaneers hit .297, the highest batting average by a Charleston Southern team in 13 years. In addition, pitcher Payton Tweddale became the program's career and single season saves leader and outfielder Justin Fyle became the school's single season hits leader.
In his first season with the Buccaneers in 2005, the pitching staff had its lowest ERA in five years. The staff included pitcher Bobby Parnell, who currently plays for the New York Mets.
Murray was an assistant coach at Michigan under head coach Rich Maloney from 2003-04, serving as the program's recruiting coordinator and coaching the outfielders. In each of his two seasons in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines posted 30 or more wins. Three players under his guidance, Jake Fox (Chicago Cubs), J.D. Roberts (Cincinnati Reds) and Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) were selected in the MLB Draft. Fox, an All-American in 2004, played in the majors for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles. Getz currently plays second base for the Kansas City Royals.
In 2002, Murray was a volunteer assistant coach on head coach Pat McMahon's staff at Florida. The Gators went 46-19 and hosted a NCAA Regional, breaking 45 school records. Murray served as the team's first base coach and assisted in on-campus recruiting. A record eight players from that team were taken in the MLB Draft. Three players from the squad were named All-Americans.
Murray served as an assistant coach at Winthrop in 2001, as the Eagles posted a 48-16-1 record and participated in the East Carolina NCAA Regional. Murray coached first base, directed weight training, oversaw field maintenance and assisted in recruiting. Three players from that squad were named to the Big South all-conference team, with one being drafted in the MLB Draft.
Murray got his start in coaching, as a student assistant coach for his alma mater Ball State in 1998. He served as a bench coach for the 39-18 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Western Division Champions.
Murray graduated from Ball State in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. In 1997, he was named the shortstop for the American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region team and the All-MAC first team. The Cardinals became the first Ball State team to post a 40-win season that year, with a 40-19 mark. Murray ranked 20th in the country with a .425 batting average and had 20 doubles, which ranked second on the Cardinals' all-time single-season upon graduation.
A native of Bluffton, Ind., Murray is married to the former Mindy Curtis. The couple lives in Lynchburg.
Garrett Quinn enters his seventh year as an assistant coach on head coach Jim Toman’s Liberty staff, serving as the Flames' pitching coach. Besides his work with the Liberty pitching staff, he also assists with scheduling and recruiting.
This past season, Quinn saw his pitching staff set a new school record with a 2.62 ERA, leading the Big South and finishing 14th nationally. It is the second time during his tenure that his pitching staff has set a new program standard for ERA.
The Flames finished the year ranked in the top 25 in five major pitching categories nationally in 2014. Besides, ERA, Liberty were among the top teams in the country in hits per nine innings (8th), WHIP (11th), shutouts (14th) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (24th).
Liberty also topped the Big South with nine shutouts. In addition, the relief corps enjoyed a strong year, recording 16 saves, tying for the second most in program history with Quinn’s mound staff in 2010.
Liberty pitching staff played a key role in helping the Flames capture the Big South regular season title with a 23-3 record and garner the program’s first-ever at-large selection to a NCAA Regional. The Flames finished the year at 41-18, their third 40-plus win season during Quinn’s six years at Liberty.
The 2014 Flames were ranked among one of the four major baseball polls during the regular season for the first time in program history, reaching as high as No. 21 in the Baseball America weekly poll on March 21. Liberty’s 23 Big South victories were also the most in school history. The Flames won 20 consecutive conference games during the season.
At year’s end, Liberty became the first team in Big South history to sweep the major conference awards. Quinn saw senior right-hander Trey Lambert was selected the Big South Pitcher of the Year, becoming the first Liberty pitcher ever to garner the award and freshman right-hander Parker Bean voted the conference’s Freshman of the Year. Lambert and Bean were also selected to the All-Big South first team, while reliever Ashton Perritt was named to the conference’s second team.
Nationally, Bean was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and also was selected VaSID All-State Rookie of the Year. Lambert, along with first baseman Alex Close, became one of the first two players to be named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America team in program history.
Lambert led the Big South with 11 wins, posting a 2.23 ERA over 109 innings. The senior finished his career with a school record 2.79 ERA and eighth all-time in career wins with 21.
In June, Quinn saw two pitchers taken in the Major League Draft. The Atlanta Braves selected Perritt in the 17th round, while the Texas Rangers choose Adam Parks in the 37th round.
Quinn helped guide the Flames to their first NCAA Regional final appearance in program history and their first Big South Championship since 2000 in 2013. Liberty captured the 2013 Big South Championship and gained a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Columbia, S.C. Regional, the highest seed for a Liberty team in school history.
Liberty’s pitching staff threw the most innings of any staff in program history, 567 1/3 innings during the year. Two pitchers from that staff, Josh Richardson and Danny Grauer, were later selected in the 2013 Major Baseball Draft. Richardson was selected in the 26th round by the San Diego Padres, while Grauer was chosen in the 38th round by the Cincinnati Reds. Richardson finished his career at Liberty third on the school’s all-time ERA list with a 3.05 career ERA.
Under Quinn’s guidance, Flames pitchers set school records for team ERA and shutouts in helping drive Liberty to its second 40-plus win season in three years in 2012. Liberty pitchers recorded a 3.04 team ERA, finishing the year ranked 15th nationally. In addition, the Flames led the country with 11 shutouts, setting Big South Conference and school records.
Big South All-Conference first team pitcher John Niggli paced Quinn’s staff, leading the conference with 103 2/3 innings pitched, while ranking second with nine wins and fourth with a 2.17 ERA. Niggli finished his Liberty career with a 2.86 ERA, then the lowest in Liberty history of pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched. The right-hander was selected in the ninth round of the 2012 Baseball Draft by the Texas Rangers. Another member of the staff, Blake Forslund, was taken in the 15th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 2011, three of Quinn's pitchers, Garrett Baker, Steven Evans and Keegan Linza, not only earned all-conference honors, but were among the Liberty program and conference-record seven players selected in the 2011 draft. Baker was the first Liberty player taken in the 2011 Draft, when the left-hander was selected in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He became the highest Liberty pitcher to be taken in the entry draft since Jason Jones was chosen in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.
During the year, Linza tied a Liberty record for wins in a season with an 11-3 record, topping the Big South Conference and ranking sixth in the nation in victories. He also finished second in the Big South with 108 innings pitched and a 2.08 ERA. The two marks rank among the program's single-season leaders.
Meanwhile, Evans completed his four-year career at Liberty by placing his name on several of the school's career lists. The left-hander posted a 26-10 record during his Flames career, finishing second on the program's all-time victory list. He also concluded his Liberty career second on Liberty's innings pitched and strikeout ledgers.
In 2010, Liberty pitchers recorded a 4.38 ERA, which ranked 34th nationally. The Flames held opponents to a .276 batting average and recorded a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio, playing a key role in Liberty setting a new school record with 43 victories.
The Liberty relief corps enjoyed its strongest season under Quinn, recording 16 saves, the second most in program history. Only the 2000 Flames team had more, posting 18 saves. Liberty led the conference in the category.
Quinn also saw two-time Big South All-Conference pitcher Shawn Teufel become the second pitcher from one of his Liberty mound staffs taken in the MLB Draft, as the left-hander was selected by the Detroit Tigers. Teufel posted career highs under Quinn in 2010, recording a 10-4 mark with a Big South Conference-leading 2.44 ERA and striking out 92 over 103 1/3 innings.
Before joining the Liberty coaching staff in 2009, Quinn spent four years at Stetson, where he was the Hatters' pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
During his time at Stetson, Quinn coached three All-Americans (two preseason and one postseason) and six Atlantic Sun (A-Sun) all-conference performers. In addition, five Stetson pitchers inked professional contracts - Ryan Dixon (St. Louis Cardinals) in 2005, Nathan Nery (Baltimore Orioles) in 2006, Corey Kluber (San Diego Padres) and Chris Ingoglia (Florida Marlins) in 2007, and Nick Pugliese (Anaheim Angels) in 2008. Kluber went on to win the 2014 American League Cy Young Award as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
In addtion, Quinn coached 2014 National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGroom of the New York Mets.
The Hatters made three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances during Quinn's first three years at the school. Stetson captured back-to-back A-Sun Championships in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, Quinn's mound staff helped Stetson post a 42-21 mark and receive an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament field.
Quinn served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Young Harris in Georgia in 2004. The Mountain Lions posted a 52-8 overall record and won the GJCAA Conference championship. He also was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for two years at St. Thomas (Fla.) from 2002-03.
From 1998 through 2001, Quinn served as a volunteer assistant coach at Florida. He assisted with the team's pitching staff and with recruiting. The Gators made two NCAA Regional appearances during his time in Gainesville.
Quinn also has coached in various summer wood bat leagues. From 2001-03, he served on the coaching staff of the Cotuit Kettleers of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), serving as the team's head coach in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, he led the Kettleers to the Western Division Cape Championship.
He has also coached for the Edenton Steamers of the Coastal Plain Collegiate League and the Athens Trojans of the Georgia Peach Connie Mack Baseball League.
A four-year letterwinner for Maine, Quinn earned first team All-America East and America East Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in 1997. When his Black Bears career ended, Quinn held the school records for most appearances in a season (26) and in a career (77). He was also second on the all-time list for career saves with 17.
Quinn graduated from Maine in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He also received a Master of Education degree from Florida in 2001.
A native of Skowhegan, Maine, Quinn is married to the former Katie Sydes. They have two children, Jackson (10) and Ellie (8), and live in Lynchburg.
Blake Hunt enters his first season with the Liberty Flames baseball program this year. He will be working with the catchers and hitters. During games, he will be the team’s first base coach.
Hunt served as the volunteer assistant at Spalding in Louisville, Ky., in 2014. He served as the Golden Eagles’ hitting coach and worked with the team’s catchers. During games, he was the squad’s third base coach.
Hunt began his coaching career at his alma mater Charleston Southern as a student assistant in 2013. He helped coach the infielders and hitters.
Hunt played at Charleston Southern from 2008-12. The Buccaneers’ starting catcher, he played in 107 games during career. As a senior in 2012, Hunt finished the season, hitting .289 overall and .327 in Big South Conference play.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Hunt and his wife Tuesday, an athletic trainer for Liberty athletics, live in Lynchburg, Va.
Daniel Brown begins his first year as the Director of Baseball Operations for the Liberty baseball program. He oversees several administrative phases of the Liberty baseball program, including team travel, budget, academics, alumni relations and day-to-day operations of the office.
In addition, Brown oversees all equipment management, administers camps and is the primary contact on the staff with the umpire crews for every home game.
No stranger to the Flames’ baseball program, Brown was a member of the Liberty baseball team from 2011-13. A pitcher, he appeared in 22 games without recording a decision. In each of his four seasons, he earned inclusion on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll.
A graduate of Needham B. Broughton High School, Brown was named to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association (NCBCA) 4A All-State team as a senior. He was a three-time CAP-7 All-Conference team member and academic all-conference selection. In 2008, he was named the team MVP.
A native of Raleigh, N.C., Brown graduated summa cum laude from Liberty in 2013 with a degree in business: marketing. He currently is pursuing a MBA from Liberty. He resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-2100
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Jordan Ballard brings over 10 years of college cheerleading experience with him to Liberty, including four years as an assistant coach and one year as head cheerleading coach.
He came to Liberty in 2002 and was a three-year member of the cheerleading squad. While at Liberty, he was a member of the honors program and received his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2004.
For nine years (2007-15), Ballard served as the senior team leader at Christian Cheerleaders of America in Winston-Salem, N.C. While with the organization, he coached coed collegiate staffs, helped create cheer routines and music, and led the staff and campers in Christian devotions.
Ballard began his coaching career at the University of Colorado, working as an assistant coach from 2010 to 2012. He helped coach the coed cheerleading squad at practices, home and road games, and at the NCAA postseason competition.
Ballard joined Liberty’s staff as an assistant coach in 2012 and remained in the same role until his promotion to head coach. Ballard was a part of a coaching staff that helped Liberty’s cheerleading team with three of the last five top 10 finishes at UCA College Nationals. He also coached Liberty’s large coed team to three national grand championships at CCA Nationals.
Ballard has received seminary degrees from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (2008) and Dallas Theological Seminary (2011). The native of St. Louis, Mo., is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in theology and apologetics from the Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to his wife, Rebecca, whom he met on the Liberty University cheerleading squad in 2002. They have been married since 2004 and have three young children: Jenna, Kara, and Blaze.
Phone: (434) 582-2393
Fax: (434) 582-2205
On November 18, 2010, Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced the addition of field hockey, while also naming former Richmond assistant coach Jodi Murphy as the program's inaugural head coach.
During the program’s third season of competition in 2013, Murphy guided Liberty to its first ever NorPac Championship title and subsequent berth in the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament. Liberty posted a 17-5 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play. The Lady Flames’ signature win came in the NorPac Championship final, defeating No. 10 ranked Stanford, 2-1.
In her first season as a head coach, Murphy led the Lady Flames to six victories, while competing as a Division I independent. On July 1, 2012, Liberty joined the NorPac Conference, becoming the league’s ninth member.
In 2012, Murphy helped guide the Lady Flames to a 16-6 overall record, marking a 10-win improvement from their inaugural season. Liberty’s .727 winning percentage ranked 10th in the nation. Under Murphy’s leadership, the Lady Flames posted a 7-1 mark in NorPac play, capturing the East Division’s regular-season title in just their first season in the conference.
Murphy was honored as the 2012 and 2013 NorPac Co-Coach of the Year, as Liberty became the first team from the NorPac’s East Division to reach the conference title game in back-to-back seasons. During the Lady Flames’ two seasons in the league, Murphy’s squads have produced six all-conference members, two-time NorPac East Division Offensive Player of the Year Natalie Barr and a pair of NorPac Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year honorees. Additionally, two players have earned NFHCA All-South Region plaudits under Murphy’s guidance, while six Lady Flames have garnered VaSID All-State recognition.
In addition to the success on the field, Murphy’s squads have also excelled in the classroom. Liberty earned the NFHCA’s National Team Award in 2011, 2012 and 2013, while five Lady Flames have been tabbed Scholars of Distinction the past two seasons.
Murphy also played a part in overlooking the completion of the program's nylon woven turf field, which is water-based and features six water cannons.
Murphy brought a wealth and variety of both playing and coaching experience to Liberty's field hockey program and is familiar with Virginia, as much of her experience comes from her time at Richmond.
Murphy spent three seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, capping the three-year stint by helping Richmond to the 2009 Atlantic 10 regular-season title, Atlantic 10 conference title, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and a No. 19 final season ranking.
During her time with the Spiders, Murphy helped coach 18 Atlantic 10 all-conference players, seven VaSID all-state student-athletes, a third-team All-American and a pair of players who have earned Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
En route to the 2009 Atlantic 10 title, Murphy helped the Spiders' defense finish the season ranked No. 17 nationally with a 1.62 goals against average.
While on staff at Richmond, Murphy served as the Director of Staff Operations and was responsible for all aspects of recruiting, including player evaluation, correspondence and official on-campus visits.
Murphy also brings an array of additional coaching experience, including time spent at West Chester University, US Field Hockey (working with the Futures Developmental Program as both a Head Coach and Site Director) and leading hockey projects abroad with her non-profit organization, Pathfinder Hockey.
Murphy started her collegiate playing career at Indiana, playing for the Hoosiers for two years before transferring to Richmond. During her days at Indiana, Murphy started 37 out of 38 games over two seasons and earned NFHCA academic honors.
Murphy transferred to Richmond for the 2005 season and helped guide the Spiders to back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles and trips the NCAA Tournament.
As a junior, she started all 22 games and earned second-team Atlantic 10 honors, while she was a first-team honoree as a senior.
Murphy was a four-year starter and team captain at Jamestown High School in her hometown of Williamsburg, Va. She was a two-time first-team Virginia All-State selection and Virginia State High School League AA Player of the Year in 2002.
Murphy has participated in the USFHA A-Camp in 2003-04 and was a part of the National Field Hockey Futures National Championship from 1999-02. She graduated from Richmond in 2007 with a bachelor of arts in religion with an English minor.
Murphy currently resides in Lynchburg.
Tilly Brampton enters her fourth year with the Liberty field hockey program. She joined the team prior to its first year of competition, during the summer of 2011.
Brampton serves as a key instructor for the team’s offensive unit, focusing primarily on the forward line. She also provides administrative support, helping with recruiting, equipment management and video coordination.
In 2012, under Brampton’s direction, freshman Sarah Gipe earned the NorPac’s Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year award, after notching 28 points (13 goals, 2 assists). Overall, Liberty finished second in the conference in scoring margin, scoring average, goals scored and goals scored per game.
This past season, Liberty’s offense was nearly unstoppable thanks in large part to Brampton’s knowledge, ranking third in the nation in scoring average (2.77), fourth in points per game (10.05) and scoring average (3.73), and ninth in assists per game (2.59). The Lady Flames tallied a conference-best 82 goals, 57 assists and 221 points. Eighteen different players notched at least one goal, while 20 total Lady Flames recorded at least one point in 2013.
Brampton, a native of Sussex, England, has playing experience at multiple levels. After serving as the team captain of Burgess Hill School field hockey, she played for U-16, U-18 and U-21 South of England teams as well as National League for Staines Hockey Club where her teams achieved championship successes. Brampton then played for one year at Boston College as a graduate student, seeing action in 18 games in 2010. She notched two goals and an assist on the year, including a game winner against Northeastern.
As a coach, Brampton has also worked at multiple levels, including instructing club and school teams in England before becoming a qualified physical education teacher. While at Boston College, Brampton helped coach at high school clinics and camps, serving as an assistant coach during the instruction.
Jacki Raithel joined the Liberty field hockey program prior to its first year of competition, during the summer of 2011.
Raithel serves as the goalkeepers coach, working with the team's two goalies. Under Raithel's guidance, Ann Jefferis earned NFHCA All-South Region second team honors during the 2011 season. In 2012, freshman goalkeeper Mallory Cuccio finished the year ranked first in the nation in goals-against average (1.01) and 13th in save percentage (.768). Raithel’s coaching helped Liberty’s goalies surrender just 1.41 goals per game in 2012, which was good for first in the NorPac.
During the Lady Flames’ run to the 2013 NorPac Championship title, goalkeeper Jefferis recorded a program single-season record six shutouts en route to her second NFHCA All-South Region second team honor. Under Raithel’s tutelage, the redshirt senior ranked third in the nation in goals-against average (0.95), seventh in goalie win-loss percentage (.762) and 21st in save percentage (.759).
Raithel also provides administrative support for the program, assisting with recruiting and team travel.
In addition to her coaching responsibilities with the Lady Flames, Raithel heads up Liberty's USA Field Hockey Futures site, and works as a Futures Regional Selector and Coach.
A native of Fairfax, Va., Raithel was a three-time letterwinner at James W. Robinson High School. She then attended Richmond, where she spent her four years in the net for the Spiders. Starting in all 23 contests during her senior year (2009), she blocked away 94 shots on the season, including a career-high 11 saves against Princeton. She posted six shutouts to finish the year tied for first in the Atlantic 10 in the category, leading her to second team All-Atlantic 10 honors. Raithel also left her mark in the Richmond record books, finishing her career ranked third in goals-against average (2.41).
Aside from playing experience, Raithel has coached at various levels while often focusing on goalkeepers. She has been involved with coaching since 2007 with various club teams and has recently served as an assistant coach at Douglass Freeman High School and with Futures.
Phone: (434) 582-2040
Fax: (434) 582-2049
During his first three years at Liberty, head football coach Turner Gill has taken Liberty’s championship tradition to the next level.
Gill has led Liberty to three straight conference titles, giving the program seven titles in the last eight years. He also guided Liberty into uncharted waters in 2014, as he led the program to its first-ever trip to the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
Gill was rewarded for his coaching prowess in 2014 when he was named the Bobby Ross Coach of the Year Award winner. The honor is annually bestowed upon the top Division I coach in the Commonwealth of Virginia (both FBS and FCS coaches).
Gill was also selected the top Division I coach in Virginia by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID), the first for any head football coach in program history.
In his last eight seasons as head coach at three different programs, Gill has led his teams to a first-place conference finish at year’s end five times (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
Gill was hired as Liberty’s eighth head football coach on Dec. 14, 2011. The former Nebraska standout quarterback and head coach at Buffalo and Kansas has taken Liberty to new heights despite facing some of the most daunting schedules in Liberty’s program history.
In 2014, Liberty faced the No. 2 ranked schedule in the country as ranked by the NCAA, a schedule that included a top 25 ranked FBS team and five top 25 ranked FCS programs.
Each season, the Flames have opened the year against a top-notch FBS opponent, pushing the trio of foes for 60 minutes on the gridiron.
In Gill’s Liberty head coaching debut, Wake Forest needed a late third quarter touchdown and another score early in the fourth to post a 20-17 come-from-behind victory in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In 2013, Kent State was able to break a 10-10 tie with less than five minutes on the fourth-quarter game clock to escape with a seven-point victory in Kent, Ohio.
The Flames opened the 2014 year against No. 23 North Carolina, the program’s first-ever matchup with a nationally ranked FBS team. The upstart Flames led the game midway through third quarter before the Tar Heels pulled away for the victory.
The Flames have also squared off against 12 nationally ranked FCS programs in Gill’s three seasons at Liberty. Under Gill’s leadership, Liberty has posted wins over No. 1 Coastal Carolina, No. 6 Stony Brook, No. 15 James Madison, No. 15 Charleston Southern and No. 25 Bryant.
Three of Liberty’s five ranked wins during Gill’s three-year tenure came during the unforgettable 2014 campaign, a season 26 years in the making for Flames Nation (Liberty began NCAA Division I play in 1988).
Liberty’s first of three top 25 wins last season came against a previously unbeaten and No. 25 ranked Bryant team midway through September.
The week prior to opening up Big South play in October, Liberty upended Sun Belt Conference member Appalachian State. The offensive shootout which Liberty won, 55-48, in overtime, gave the program its third victory over an FBS program.
The rugged schedule prepared the Flames for their toughest test yet when they traveled to Conway, S.C., to face No. 1 Coastal Carolina. With a third straight Big South title and the program’s first-ever postseason berth on the line, Gill guided the Flames to a thrilling one-point victory.
Defensive end Chima Uzowihe blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt as time expired, giving Liberty a 15-14 win over its arch rival. The stunning one-point win gave Liberty the Big South title and the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
The Flames made the most of their postseason appearance, one that thrilled the thousands of Flames fans who traveled to both Harrisonburg, Va., and Villanova, Pa.
Liberty crafted a backbreaking 17-play drive that used over 11 minutes on the game clock to post a 26-21 win over No. 15 James Madison during the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The following week, Liberty pushed No. 5 Villanova and Walter Payton Award-winning Wildcats quarterback John Roberts for 60 minutes before falling 29-22 on the game’s final drive.
Liberty finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls, the Flames’ best year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames finished the campaign with a 9-5 overall record, tying for the second most wins in a season in program history.
Liberty has posted wins over top 25 ranked teams for three years in a row, marking the first time the program has accomplished this feat in its 42-year history.
Gill has helped develop some of the most gifted players in the Big South Conference during his three seasons at Liberty with 44 players earning Big South all-conference honors and 27 selected to the VaSID all-state squads.
Liberty’s 44 all-conference selections during the last three seasons are the most of any school in the Big South Conference during the three-year span.
Spotlighting Gill’s development during his first season at Liberty was quarterback Josh Woodrum. Gill, with his vast personal knowledge as a highly decorated college quarterback himself, was able to help mold and shape Woodrum’s abilities under center.
Woodrum was named the top rookie player in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2012 (both FCS and FBS players) and finished No. 13 in the final voting for the Jerry Rice Award (given annually to the top freshman FCS player in the country).
Woodrum set a freshman program record in 2012 with 1,963 total offensive yards and ranked second in program history with 1,966 passing yards. In 2013, Woodrum continued to shine, as his 2,591 passing yards ranks as the second-highest passing total by a sophomore quarterback in program history.
In 2014, All-America safety Jacob Hagen led the nation in interceptions. He was honored as the VaSID Co-Defensive Player of the Year and became the program’s first-ever finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (top FCS defensive player in the country).
Gill has proven he has a keen eye for young talented players, helping them develop during their college years and preparing them to play at the professional level.
Walt Aikens became the seventh player in Liberty’s program history to be selected in the NFL Draft when the Miami Dolphins took the former standout cornerback in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (No. 125 overall pick).
Additionally, four other Flames received NFL training camp workout invitations shortly after the 2014 NFL Draft: Francis Bah (DL) – Chicago Bears; Kevin Fogg (CB) – Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins; Cory Freeman (DL) – Cleveland Browns; Aldreakis Allen (RB) – Indianapolis Colts.
Gill also played an instrumental role in the recruitment of one of the more talked about players in the 2014 NFL Draft. Khalil Mack, who was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the first round with the No. 4 overall pick, signed at Buffalo when Gill was head coach.
Under Gill, Liberty’s offensive and defensive units have flourished. Liberty set a program record in 2013 with 36 rushing touchdowns and the Flames ranked No. 16 in the country in scoring offense (37.3 points per game).
Liberty ranked among the national leaders in total defense during his first two seasons on Liberty Mountain. The Flames ranked No. 15 in the country in 2012 (314.73 yards allowed per game) and No. 9 in 2013 (313.90).
Liberty also ranked No. 5 in the country in 2013 in scoring defense, holding opponents to 17.6 points per game, while ranking No. 3 in turnover margin (1.3).
Gill came to Liberty after serving two years as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. During his time in Lawrence, Kan., Gill coached 10 players who earned All-Big 12 honors, including 2011 All-Big 12 second-team all-conference offensive lineman Jeremiah Hatch and nine players who garnered All-Big 12 honorable-mention accolades.
Gill's two-year coaching stint at Kansas was spotlighted by a victory over No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25, his first Jayhawks win in 2010, and a 52-45 victory over Colorado, where he rallied Kansas for a fourth-quarter comeback after being down 45-17.
Gill received his first head coaching position in 2006, when he took over a struggling Buffalo Bulls program. After posting a 2-10 record during his inaugural season, Gill guided the Bulls to a 5-7 record in 2007, the program's best mark in more than a decade, when they had finished 8-3 in 1996 while competing at the FCS level.
Gill was honored for his turnaround efforts in 2007 when he was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, following the Bulls' 5-3 record in conference play. Buffalo finished the season 4-2 in the MAC East Division, earning the Bulls a share of the conference regular-season title in just his second season at the helm of the program.
Gill continued the upward trend in 2008, leading Buffalo to an 8-6 overall record and the MAC championship following a 42-24 victory over Ball State in the conference title game. Ball State entered the contest with a perfect 12-0 record and was ranked No. 12 in the country.
The victory earned the Bulls the program's first-ever postseason bowl game appearance, where Buffalo lost to Connecticut in the International Bowl.
The 2008 season saw Gill earn MAC Coach of the Year honors by The Sporting News and he was a finalist for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year award. With Gill at the helm of the Bulls' high-powered offense, Buffalo set a program record by scoring 424 points in 2008, which ranked No. 34 nationally in scoring offense.
Gill's longest coaching tenure has been at his alma mater, where he served as an assistant coach from 1992 to 2004. He served as the Cornhuskers' quarterbacks coach from 1992 to 2003 and wide receivers coach during his final year with the program.
During his decade-plus coaching stint in Lincoln, Neb., Gill was part of a coaching staff that guided Nebraska to 13 straight bowl appearances and three national championships (1994, 1995 and 1997).
Gill instructed two All-America quarterbacks at Nebraska in Tommy Frazier (1995) and Eric Crouch (2001). Crouch became the third player in the storied history of the Cornhusker program to win the Heisman Trophy, also doing so in 2001.
Gill was honored himself in 2002 when he was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
Prior to his full-time coaching days at Nebraska, Gill also served as a graduate assistant at North Texas (1989), Nebraska (1990) and Southern Methodist (1991). Gill also served one year as the Green Bay Packers' Director of Player Development in 2005, before leaving the professional ranks to return to the collegiate level to take over the Buffalo program in 2006.
During his playing career at Nebraska (1980-83), Gill guided the Cornhuskers to a 28-2 record and an unblemished 20-0 record in conference play. He led Nebraska to three-straight Orange Bowl appearances, spotlighted by a win over LSU on Jan. 1, 1983.
Gill was a three-time Big Eight all-conference selection, earned second-team All-America honors and was a Heisman Trophy award finalist, where he finished fourth in the voting in 1983.
Gill was honored as the quarterback selection to the Big Eight Conference All-Decade Team (1980-89) and has been inducted into both the Nebraska Football and Orange Bowl Halls of Fame.
Gill was a gifted athlete who also played collegiate baseball for one season at Nebraska and earned All-Big Eight honors at shortstop. Out of high school, Gill was a second round draft pick in the 1980 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox as a shortstop.
Following his collegiate career, Gill played two seasons in the Canadian Football League with Montreal (1984-85) and three years as a baseball player in the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers minor league systems (1986-88).
Gill is an active member of the collegiate football community at the national level. He is currently in his second term as an American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees member (2009-11 and 2013-15).
Gill completed his bachelor's degree in behavior analysis at North Texas in 1990. The Fort Worth, Texas, native and his wife, Gayle, have two daughters – Jordan and Margaux.
Gill at a Glance|
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (Head Coach)
2010-11 (2 years) – Kansas (Head Coach)
2006-09 (4 years) – Buffalo (Head Coach)
2005 (1 year) – Green Bay Packers (Director of Player Development/Off. Asst.)
1992-04 (13 years) – Nebraska (Asst. HC, QB, WR)
1991 (1 years) – SMU (WR)
1990 (1 year) – Nebraska (GA)
1989 (1 year) – North Texas (GA)
Education: B.A., Behavior Analysis (North Texas, ’90)
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Children: Jordan and Margaux
Playing Career Experiences
1980-83 Nebraska (QB)
1984-85 Montreal (CFL) (QB)
1986-88 Minor League Baseball (With Detroit and Cleveland)
Playing Career Honors
Three-Time All-Big Eight honoree (1981, 1982, 1983)
Nebraska Co-Captain (1983)
Novak Trophy Winner (1983)
Heisman Trophy finalist (1983)
Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductee (1989)
Orange Bowl Hall of Fame inductee (2006)
Coaching Career Honors
MAC Coach of the Year (2007 and 2008)
VaSID Coach of the Year (2014)
Bobby Ross Coach of the Year (2014)
Dennis Wagner brings more than 30 years of coaching experience with him to Liberty, which includes a resume highlighted by two different head coaching stints.
Following his first season with the Flames in 2012, Flames’ Head Coach Turner Gill promoted Wagner to the role of assistant head coach, with his specific position responsibilities remaining with Liberty’s big men up front.
The position is one that Wagner is passionate about, dating back to his collegiate playing days where he earned honorable mention All-America accolades at Utah and All-America honors at Ellsworth Community College.
Since joining Gill’s staff, Wagner has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and the earning program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-high win total in program history.
Wagner has guided the most recognized group on Liberty’s roster during the last three seasons. Nine of his players have earned All-Big South honors and six players have been named to the VaSID All-State teams.
In 2013, four of Wagner’s starting five offensive linemen earned all-conference honors, including first-team selection Hunter Steward. Prior to the start of his senior season, Steward was selected in the first round of the 2013 CFL Draft (No. 6 overall pick), making him the fourth player in program history to be selected in the CFL Draft.
After finishing No. 53 in the country in scoring offense in 2012 (27.2 points per game), Wagner’s group helped the Flames rank No. 16 in the country with Liberty putting up an average of 37.3 points per game.
Under Wagner’s guidance, Liberty has had an all-conference running back the last two seasons. In 2013, Desmond Rice rushed for 967 yards and 16 touchdowns, the second-highest single-season rushing total in program history.
Liberty has also ranked in the top 20 the last three years in red zone offense, spotlighted by the Flames ranked No. 10 in the country in 2014 (89.7 percent).
Jonathan Burgess and Mitch Hanson earned All-Big South and VaSID All-State first-team honors in 2014. Hanson was also rewarded for his hard work in the classroom, as he was named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Capital One Academic All-American.
Prior to his move to Liberty Mountain, Wagner spent the previous four seasons (2008-11) as the head coach of the Western Carolina Catamounts.
During his first season in Cullowhee, N.C., Wagner helped Western Carolina snap the third-longest Southern Conference losing streak in league history and post the program’s most victories since 2005. During his four seasons as head coach, Wagner saw eight players earn All-SoCon honors.
Prior to his head coaching position at Western Carolina, Wagner worked alongside Gill when both were assistant coaches at Nebraska.
Wagner was part of a coaching staff that helped the Huskers transition from an option-based offensive attack to the West Coast offense, coaching at Nebraska from 2004-07.
While at Nebraska, Wagner helped the Huskers to a pair of bowl games, including a 32-28 upset of No. 20 Michigan in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. He coached two All-Big 12 linemen in 2005 and 2006 and five players who went on to play in the NFL and three who signed free agent contracts.
In 2006, Wagner helped Nebraska rank No. 14 in the country in total offense (414.57 yards per game), while ranking No. 23 in the country in both passing offense (244.07) and rushing offense (170.5).
Before joining Gill on staff in Nebraska, Wagner spent seven years (1997-2003) at Fresno State as assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
During his last five years at Fresno State, Wagner helped the Bulldogs to a bowl game appearance each season, including victories in the Silicon Valley Bowl (2002 and 2003) and the MPC Computers Bowl (2004).
In 2001, Wagner’s offensive line successfully blocked all season for quarterback David Carr, who would go on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Carr shattered Fresno State records in 2001 with 4,299 passing yards and 42 touchdowns, while the Bulldogs ranked No. 4 in the country by averaging 497.23 total offensive yards per game.
While at Fresno State, Wagner coached three players who were selected in the NFL Draft, plus three others who signed free agent contracts.
Additionally, Wagner coached NFL Pro Bowl selections Nebraska’s Carl Nicks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Fresno State’s Logan Mankins (New England Patriots).
Wagner held his first head coaching position at Wayne State (Neb.) from 1989-96. During his eight years at the helm of the Wildcats’ program, Wagner posted a 44-37-1 record, helping Wayne State move from the NAIA ranks to NCAA Division II classification.
He quickly revived the Wayne State program, which had lost 27 of 29 games before his arrival. For his turnaround efforts, Wagner was inducted into the Wayne State College Hall of Fame in 2005. During his last four seasons with the Wildcats, Wayne State finished no lower than No. 3 nationally in total offense and led the country by averaging 581.5 yards per game in 1993.
Prior to his days at Wayne State, Wagner served as an assistant coach for four years at St. Cloud State from 1985-88, two different stints at UNLV (1981-82, 1984) and Luther College in 1980. Wagner also served as the head track and field coach at William Penn College in 1983.
Wagner earned multiple All-America honors during his collegiate playing career, starting with JUCO All-America accolades in 1977 at Ellsworth Community College. He finished up his playing career with two seasons at Utah, where he earned All-WAC honors and was named an honorable-mention All-America at offensive guard.
Wagner completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Utah in 1982 and earned a master’s degree from St. Cloud State in athletic administration in 1987.
Wagner and his wife, Cyndi, have two children – a daughter, Whitney, and a son, Joshua.
Wagner at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (Asst. head coach/OL)
2008-11 (4 years) – Western Carolina (Head Coach)
2004-07 (4 years) – Nebraska (OL)
1997-03 (7 years) – Fresno State (OL)
1989-96 (8 years) – Wayne State (Neb.) (Head Coach)
1985-88 (4 years) – St. Cloud State (OC, OL)
1984 (1 year) – UNLV (Asst. Strength Coach)
1983 (1 year) – William Penn (Head Track and Field Coach)
1981-82 (2 years) – UNLV (OL, TE)
1980 (1 year) – Luther (OL)
Recruiting Area: South Central Virginia, Central Georgia, California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota and Alaska
Education: B.A., Psychology (Utah, ’82), M.A., Athletic Administration (St. Cloud State, ’87)
Hometown: Waverly, Iowa
Children: Whitney and Joshua
Gill Announces Football Coaching Staff Reassignments (update from Dec. 7, 2015)
- Joe Dailey named Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Play Caller
Joe Dailey is certainly no stranger to Turner Gill, as the former starting quarterback at both Nebraska and North Carolina has worked under Gill both as a player and as a member of his coaching staff.
During his three seasons at Liberty, Dailey has helped continue a recent trend of developing some of the best quarterbacks in program history.
Under Dailey’s direction, three-year starting quarterback Josh Woodrum has put himself in a position to rewrite Liberty’s passing records as he enters his senior season.
During Dailey’s first season, Woodrum was added to the Jerry Rice Award watch list, finishing the year No. 13 in the final voting for the top FCS freshman in the country. Woodrum finished his first year under center throwing for 1,966 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Following his first year at Liberty, Dailey was given the chance to participate in the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy. The organization provides an opportunity for current and former NFL players who are looking to continue their careers on the football sidelines to learn leadership, management and administrative skills from football coaches at all levels.
In 2013, Woodrum threw for 19 touchdowns and 2,581 yards, the second-highest passing season by a sophomore in program history. For his efforts, Woodrum was named to the Big South second-team all-conference list.
Woodrum was an All-Big South second-team selection for the second year in a row in 2014, after accounting for 52.8 percent of Liberty's total offensive touchdowns (19 passing touchdowns and nine rushing touchdowns).
Woodrum racked up four 300-yard passing games and ranked second in the Big South in total offense (266.8 yards per game). He led the conference in passing efficiency (147.57) and is on pace to finish in the top five in the school's career passing efficiency list.
Additionally, Dailey has helped with the continued development of Stephon Masha, who led Liberty to one of the most significant wins in program history. With Woodrum on the sidelines due to an injury and his second career start under center, Masha guided Liberty’s offensive during the Flames’ upset win over No. 1 Coastal Carolina, a victory that pushed Liberty into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
Woodrum is poised to make a run at Liberty's career passing records during his senior season. He enters the year ranked second in program history with 7,494 career passing yards and tied for third with 49 career passing touchdowns. Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Robby Justino is the program's career record holder in both categories (9,548 career passing yards and 64 career passing touchdowns).
Since joining Gill’s staff, Dailey has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and earning the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-high win total in program history.
Dailey came to Liberty from Bethune-Cookman, where he served as the Wildcats’ quarterbacks coach for the 2011 season.
A six-game winning streak to end the 2011 campaign helped Bethune-Cookman complete the year with an 8-3 record, going 6-2 in MEAC play. The Wildcats finished the season ranked No. 15 in the country in scoring offense (33.91 points per game) and No. 12 in total offense (435.27 yards per contest).
Bethune-Cookman finished the season ranked No. 5 in the country in rushing offense (259.27 yards per game), where the Wildcats operated out of the run-oriented spread offense.
Prior to his current role at Liberty’s quarterback coach, Dailey’s most recent connection with Gill was at Kansas, when he served as Gill’s on-campus recruiting coordinator in 2010.
Dailey came to Lawrence, Kan., with Gill after working the final two seasons under Gill at Buffalo. While working with the Bulls, Dailey served as Buffalo’s tight ends coach (2009) and offensive graduate assistant (2008).
During his first season as the tight ends coach, Dailey helped senior tight end Jesse Rack earn all-conference honors. In 2008, Buffalo captured the program’s first-ever Mid-American Conference title and finished the season with an 8-6 record and a trip to the 2009 International Bowl.
Buffalo ranked No. 34 in the country in scoring offense in 2008, scoring 30.29 points per game. The following season, the Bulls ranked No. 39 in the country in total offense, averaging 405.42 yards per contest.
Dailey completed his collegiate playing career by throwing for 3,458 yards and 26 touchdowns, while completing 52.7 percent of his pass attempts (274-of-520).
As a sophomore at Nebraska, Dailey established new quarterbacking standards for the Huskers. He set a single-game passing record with 342 yards in a 59-27 victory over Baylor, and became the first quarterback in program history to throw for 300 yards in a game earlier during the same year against Colorado.
After starting all 11 games in 2004, Dailey finished the season with 2,025 passing yards, the third-best season passing mark in Nebraska history. Dailey was a team captain as a sophomore, as well as a two-time member of the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.
Following the 2004 season, Dailey transferred to North Carolina where he finished up the final two years of his collegiate playing career. In 2006, he started seven games at quarterback and led the program with 1,316 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The following year, Dailey completed his Tar Heel days as a starting wide receiver.
Dailey completed his degree in African-American studies from North Carolina in 2007 and his master’s degree in Executive Leadership from Liberty in 2014.
Dailey was one of the nation’s most highly touted run-pass high school quarterbacks in 2003 when he graduated from St. Peter’s Prep near his hometown of Jersey City, N.J. During his senior year, he threw for 1,378 yards and 19 touchdowns, to go along with 783 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and seven two-point conversions.
Dailey and his wife, Carrie, have a daughter, Stella June, and two sons, Noah Hansen and Myles Joseph.
Dailey at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (QB, Passing Coord.)
2011 (1 year) – Bethune-Cookman (QB)
2010 (1 year) – Kansas (On-campus RC)
2008-09 (2 years) – Buffalo (TE, Off. GA)
Recruiting Area: Virginia Beach, Central Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska
Education: B.A., African-American Studies (North Carolina, ’07), M.A., Executive Leadership (Liberty, ’14)
Hometown: Freehold, N.J.
?Children: Stella June, Noah Hansen and Myles Joseph
Liberty Head Football Coach Turner Gill has announced the hire of Scott Downing as new running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
"Scott is a phenomenal teacher, not only athletically for our team, but also spiritually, academically and socially," stated Gill. "Scott has done a tremendous job with special teams wherever he has been."
Downing brings over three decades of NCAA coaching experience with him to Liberty, including seven years as a head coach and 14 years as a coordinator. He has worked at the FBS level for 26 years, helping coach his teams to 17 bowl appearances.
Prior to joining Gill's staff at Liberty, Downing spent the 2015 season as the special teams coordinator for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. The Argonauts finished the season with a 10-8 record, advancing to the CFL's Eastern Semi-Finals game.
Under his guidance, Toronto had the No. 1 and No. 3 punt returners in the CFL in 2015. The Argonauts also ranked No. 2 in the CFL in punt return defense and No. 3 in kickoff return defense and punt returns.
Downing's last collegiate coaching stop was at Tulsa where he served as assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. The Golden Hurricane advanced to the Armed Forces Bowl in 2011. In 2012, Tulsa claimed the Conference USA title with a win over UCF in championship game and defeated Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.
While at Tulsa, Downing helped placekicker Kevin Fitzpatrick earn Conference USA all-conference honors in 2011 and finish his career as the program's all-time scoring leading with 299 career points.
Prior to his days at Tulsa, Downing served as head coach at Northern Colorado for five seasons from 2006-10, helping Northern Colorado during its first years at the FCS level and in the Big Sky Conference.
Downing coached nine All-Big Sky performances the Bears ranked No. 22 in the country in passing offense in 2008 (245.09 yards per game).
Gill and Downing were both a part of the Nebraska coaching staff during Gill's final two years with the Cornhuskers (2003-04). Downing served as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach from 2003-05.
Downing helped Nebraska win a pair of Alamo Bowl games during his three seasons in Lincoln, Neb., defeating Michigan State in 2003 and Michigan in 2005.
Downing worked with punter Kyle Larson at Nebraska, helping him earn All-America honors and be a finalist for the 2003 Ray Guy Award (top punter in the country).
Downing's recruiting efforts paid off for Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers had the No. 5 recruiting class in the country as ranked by Rivals.com. Nebraska also had a pair of freshman All-Americans in 2003 and 2004.
Downing spent six years at Purdue, serving on staff as assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and running backs coach from 1997-2002.
Purdue had six-straight bowl appearances during Downing's time with the Boilermakers. The team posted bowl wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl in 1997 and 1998, as well as in the Sun Bowl over Washington in 2002.
Under Downing's guidance, Purdue kicker and punter Travis Dorsch finished his career as the Boilermakers' all-time leading scorer with 355 career points. Dorsch was a consensus All-American in 2001 and won the Ray Guy Award. Downing's special teams' unit set 37 team and individual records during his coaching days at Purdue.
During the 2002 season, Purdue running back Joey Harris rushed for 1,115 yards and eight touchdowns, becoming one of eight 1,000-yard rushers in Boilermaker history.
Downing spent 10 years on staff at Wyoming, serving as linebackers coach from 1987-90, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1991-94 and assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and running backs coach from 1995-96.
Downing helped the Cowboys make four bowl appearances (Holiday Bowl in 1987 and 1988; Cooper Bowl in 1990 and 1993) and win Western Athletic Conference titles in 1987, 1988 and 1993.
Downing broke into the NCAA Division I ranks in 1984, serving two years as a defensive graduate assistant at Nebraska before serving as the head coach of the Cornhuskers' freshman team in 1986.
Nebraska was the Big Eight champions and won the Sugar Bowl in 1984, while the Cornhuskers led the nation in total defense. During his time at Nebraska, Downing coached punter Sam Koch, who was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award and current punter for the Baltimore Ravens.
Downing got his coaching career started at his alma mater, Sterling College, serving as offensive line coach in 1980-81 before taking over as the program's head coach for two seasons (1982-83). He was the youngest head coach in the country in 1982.
During his two seasons at the helm of the Warriors' program, Sterling College posted a 13-4-1 record and received the program's first-ever NAIA top 20 national ranking.
Downing was a four-year letterwinner at Sterling College and two-time team captain. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in history in 1979 and was inducted into the Sterling Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
The native of Kansas City, Mo., and his wife, Karen, have three sons: Matthew, Andrew and Zachary.
Downing at a Glance
Year at Liberty: First
2015 (1 year) – Toronto Argonauts (ST Coord.)
2011-14 (4 years) – Tulsa (Asst. HC, TE, ST Coord.)
2006-10 (5 years) – Northern Colorado (HC)
2003-05 (3 years) – Nebraska (Rec. Coord., TE)
1997-02 (6 years) – Purdue (Asst. HC, ST Coord., RB)
1987-96 (10 years) – Wyoming (Asst. HC, ST Coord., RB, Def. Coord., LB)
1986 (1 year) – Nebraska (HC Freshman)
1984-85 (2 years) – Nebraska (GA)
1982-83 (2 years) – Sterling College (HC)
1980-81 (2 years) – Sterling College (OL)
Education: B.A., History (Sterling College, '79)
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.
Children: Matthew, Andrew and Zachary
Gill Announces Football Coaching Staff Reassignments (update from Dec. 7, 2015)
- Aaron Stamn named Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends & Fullbacks Coach
Aaron Stamn is one of several coaches who have served under head coach Turner Gill with three different programs, having previously worked under Gill at Buffalo (2006-09) and Kansas (2010-11).
Midway through Liberty’s 2012 season, Gill promoted Stamn to his current role as the Flames’ offensive coordinator, with tight end and fullback specific position responsibilities.
Stamn’s direct position responsibility is one with which he is familiar when working under Gill, as he also oversees Liberty’s tight ends and fullbacks.
Since joining Gill’s staff in 2012, Stamn has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and earning the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-high win total in program history.
Under Stamn’s offensive leadership, Liberty has had 18 players selected to the All-Big South teams (10 first team, eight second team) and 16 players named to VaSID All-State teams (eight first team, eight second team).
In 2014, wide receiver Darrin Peterson earned All-America honors under Stamn’s offensive schemes. He finished the season with 1,379 passing yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.
Four of the all-conference and all-state honorees have been tight ends. Brandon Apon was named first team All-Big South and All-VaSID in 2013, while Dexter Herman was a second-team honoree with both organizations in 2014.
Apon capped off his career at Liberty by finishing as the Big South’s all-time career receiving touchdowns leader by a tight end (eight). The team captain was named as a Hammer Strength All-American, which is presented by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
Liberty’s offense finished the 2012 season ranked No. 40 in the country in total offense (402 yards per game) and No. 35 in rushing offense (175.82 yards per game).
Stamn’s offensive schemes helped the development of Josh Woodrum, who finished the year No. 13 in the final voting for the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman in the country).
After finishing No. 53 in the country in scoring offense in 2012 (27.2 points per game), Stamn’s second season at the helm of Liberty’s offense had the Flames ranked No. 16 in the country with Liberty putting up an average of 37.3 points per game.
Liberty also finished the 2013 season ranked No. 1 in the country in turnovers lost (11), reducing the number of extra possessions given to its opponents.
Woodrum has continued to thrive under Stamn’s offensive play calling and is poised to put his mark on Liberty’s record books in 2015.
He enters the year ranked second in program history with 7,494 career passing yards and tied for third with 49 career passing touchdowns. Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Robby Justino is the program's career record holder in both categories (9,548 career passing yards and 64 career passing touchdowns).
The run game has also benefitted from Stamn’s offensive scheme. Second-team All-Big South running back Desmond Rice had a breakout year in 2013, rushing for 967 yards and 16 touchdowns, the second-highest single-season total by a running back in program history.
First-team All-Big South running back D.J. Abnar was a workhorse for the Flames in 2014. He rushed for 1,289 yards, the fourth highest single-season total in program history and missed surpassing the school’s all-time rushing attempts total by 11 carries (292). He finished the year one rushing touchdown behind Rice’s total in 2013 (15).
Stamn’s offensive players have also excelled in the classroom with wide receiver Pat Kelly (2011 and 2012) and offensive lineman Mitch Hanson (2013 and 2014) being named to the Capital One Academic All-America teams.
Stamn served as Gill’s tight ends coach at both Kansas (2010-11) and Buffalo (2006-08), while also coaching Buffalo’s offensive line in 2009 during Gill’s last year with the Bulls.
During his previous five seasons under Gill, Stamn has had a tight end be on the John Mackey watch list, and nine times had a conference special teams player of the week.
During Stamn’s first season at Kansas, starting tight end Tim Biere led the Jayhawks with four touchdown receptions and ranked fourth on the team in total receiving yards. Biere was named to the John Mackey watch list during the 2010 and 2011 seasons and national tight end of the week against Oklahoma State.
Alonso Rojas, Kansas’ punter, earned All Big 12 honorable mention accolades in 2010, while Ron Doherty followed with All Big 12 punter honorable mention honors in 2011. D.J. Beshears received All Big 12 honorable mention accolades as a kickoff return specialist in 2010 after setting the school record for kickoff return yardage. As a team, Kansas finished the 2011 season with four blocked kicks.
Stamn first started working under Gill at Buffalo, quickly helping the Bulls gain respect at the FBS level. The 2008 season saw Buffalo capture the program’s first-ever MAC championship and advance to the 2009 International Bowl.
Stamn was also in charge of Buffalo’s special teams unit the first three years with the Bulls, as Special Teams Coordinator. Buffalo blocked seven kicks in 2006 and five more in 2007, while Stamn coached the program’s single-season and career scoring leader A.J. Principe and Ray Guy award finalist punter Ben Woods.
Stamn first worked alongside Gill at Nebraska when Stamn served as a graduate assistant during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. During his two-year span with the Huskers, Nebraska tallied a program-record-setting 50 sacks in 2005 and recorded a 32-28 upset of No. 20 Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.
Stamn began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as a student assistant at Minnesota State – Mankato for two seasons (2000-01), while earning his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2002.
After graduation, Stamn spent two years at St. Cloud State as a graduate assistant. Stamn worked with the Huskies’ defensive line and linebackers and helped St. Cloud State post a 16-6 overall record and finish No. 3 in the nation in rushing defense in 2002.
Stamn and his wife, the former Courtney Skelton, have three sons – Rylan, Jackson and Cooper.
Stamn at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (Off. Coord., TE/FB)
2010-11 (2 years) – Kansas (TE, ST)
2006-09 (4 years) – Buffalo (TE, ST, OL)
2004-05 (2 years) – Nebraska (GA - DL)
2002-03 (2 years) – St. Cloud State (GA – DL, LB)
2000-01 (2 years) – Minnesota State – Mankato (SA – OL, DB)
Recruiting Area: Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., Dallas, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York
Education: B.A., Physical Education (Minnesota State - Mankato, ’02)
Hometown: Madison, Wis.
Children: Rylan, Jackson and Cooper
Robert Wimberly is no stranger to Liberty, as his addition to Turner Gill’s coaching staff in January 2012 marked the beginning of his second stint as an assistant coach with the Flames.
Wimberly previously worked on Liberty’s staff for five seasons (2004-08) before he joined Gill’s at Buffalo in 2009 to coach the Bulls' linebackers.
Gill gave Wimberly additional responsibility with his return to Liberty Mountain, as he was named Liberty’s defensive coordinator, with direct supervision over the Flames’ safeties. In his first season, he also helped the Flames transition back to a “4-3” defensive scheme.
Since joining Gill’s staff, Wimberly has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and earning the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
During his first three years back at Liberty, Wimberly has had 19 players receive Big South all-conference accommodations, which is more than any other defensive unit in the league during that span of time.
Liberty finished the 2012 and 2013 seasons with top 20 ranked defensive units. The Flames ranked No. 15 in the country in total defense in 2012 (314.7 yards allowed per game) and No. 9 in 2013 (313.9). The Flames also ranked No. 5 in the country in scoring defense in 2013, as Liberty limited opposing offenses to 17.6 points per game.
During Liberty’s run to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014, Wimberly’s defense ranked No. 3 in the country in turnovers gained (32), No. 6 in fumbles recovered (15) and No. 12 in interceptions (17).
Wimberly has also helped develop some of the rising stars in the professional ranks. Wimberly was the coach responsible for noticing the talents of Khalil Mack, who he helped Gill sign out of high school at Buffalo. The linebacker went on to be the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft when he was selected by the Oakland Raiders.
Safety Jacob Hagen rewrote several of Liberty’s records under Wimberly’s watch, one that saw him finish his career with 15 interceptions and 21 pass breaks. He was a two-time All-American and finished seventh in the final voting for the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award (top FCS defensive player in the country). He signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams after graduation.
Wimberly’s outstanding ability to teach the game of football have not gone unnoticed, as he was named the 2014 AFCA FCS Assistant Coach of the Year.
Prior to his return to Liberty, Wimberly worked two seasons as Kansas’ safeties coach (2010-11) and one season as Buffalo’s linebackers coach (2009). In 2009, the Bulls ranked No. 42 in the country in total defense, allowing 342.67 yards per game.
During his first stint on Liberty’s coaching staff, Wimberly’s on-field coaching responsibilities were to instruct Liberty’s linebackers. He also served the staff as Liberty’s director of high school relations.
During his first two seasons with the program, Liberty's linebackers excelled in production and led the team with more than 100 tackles both seasons. Nick Vaughn led the program with 105 tackles in 2004, and Manny Rojas finished with a team-best 102 stops in 2005.
Rojas finished as the Big South Conference's second all-time leading tackler (at the time of graduation) and was a three-time, all-conference honoree.
In 2007, Wimberly's linebackers continued to shine, helping Liberty finish the year ranked No. 24 in rushing defense (128.5 yards per game), No. 32 in scoring defense (22.3 points per game) and No. 40 in total defense (349.3 yards per game).
Wimberly also coach Vince Redd during his final collegiate season before the linebacker signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. Redd would go on to play two seasons with the Patriots, working with the squad in 2008 and 2009.
Before coming to Liberty, Wimberly served as a quality control assistant and graduate assistant at Wisconsin during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Wimberly was a four-year letterwinner at Alabama A&M, where he received his bachelor's degree in science and hospitality management in 2002. His senior year was abruptly ended after two games, due to a season-ending neck injury.
Wimberly completed his master's degree in educational policy and administration at the University of Wisconsin in 2005.
The native of Miami, Fla., is married to the former Tracie Pruitt of Birmingham, Ala., and the couple has two children – Bianca and Josiah.
Wimberly at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Ninth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (Def. Coord., LB, S)
2010-11 (2 years) – Kansas (S)
2009 (1 year) – Buffalo (LB)
2004-08 (5 years) - Liberty (LB)
2002-03 (2 years) – Wisconsin (QC, GA)
Recruiting Area: Henrico County, Fla., Northeast and Southeast, Fla., areas, Wisconsin and Iowa
Education: Bachelor's degree in science and hospitality management (Alabama A&M, '02), Master's degree in educational policy and administration (Wisconsin, '05)
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Children: Bianca and Josiah
Vantz Singletary has worked twice previously under Turner Gill, serving as a defensive tackles coach at Buffalo in 2008 and linebackers coach at Kansas in 2011.
Upon joining Gill’s staff at Liberty, Singletary was named the program’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, a position he will maintain during the 2015 season. Additionally, Singletary serves as Liberty’s pro scout liaison.
During his three seasons at Liberty, Singletary has helped mold some of the top defensive linemen in the conference, resulting in seven all-conference selections and two all-state honorees.
Additionally, Liberty’s entire defensive line has been named Big South Defensive Player of the Week following the Flames’ shutout wins against Gardner-Webb (2013) and Norfolk State (2014).
Singletary’s front line defense has helped the Flames be a top 20 ranked defensive unit. Liberty finished the 2012 season ranked No. 15 in the country in total defense (314.7 yards allowed per game) and No. 9 in 2013 (313.9).
The Flames have also ranked among the national leaders in rushing defense under Singletary’s guidance. In 2012, Liberty ranked No. 24 in rushing defense (126.1 yards allowed per game), while ranking No. 15 in the country be allowing only 12 rushing touchdowns and in red zone defense (66.7 conversation percentage) in 2013.
Liberty ended the 2014 season atop the Big South rankings in sacks (29), the team’s highest sack since finishing with the same total in 1997. All 29 sacks were recorded by Liberty’s defensive linemen.
Three of Singletary’s biggest stars on the defensive line the last three years have had the chance to showcase their talents at the professional level when Cory Freeman (Cleveland Browns) and Francis Bah (Chicago Bears) received NFL tryouts following the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dominique Davis, who received an invitation to participate in the Inaugural College Gridiron Showcase, signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2015 NFL Draft.
Since joining Gill’s staff, Singletary has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and earning the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Singletary spent one season under Gill at Kansas as the Jayhawks’ 2011 linebackers coach.
During his season at Kansas, Singletary coached Steve Johnson, who flourished as a team captain and led the Big 12 in tackles with 124 stops. He finished his career with 229 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. The former Kansas standout signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos after completing his playing days.
Singletary came to Kansas after spending two seasons at the NFL level with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
As an inside linebackers coach, Singletary helped instruct NFL Pro Bowl linebackers Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes and NaVorro Bowman.
During the 2010 season, Singletary helped San Francisco finish the year ranked No. 13 in the NFL in total defense, as the 49ers allowed 327.9 yards per game. The team also ranked No. 6 in the league against the run (96.7 yards per game allowed).
San Francisco allowed a total of 1,547 rushing yards in 2010, the team’s lowest total since 1997 (1,366 yards). The 49ers also forced the seventh-most three-and-out drives in the NFL that same season.
In 2009, Singletary’s inside linebackers helped the 49ers rank No. 6 in the NFL in rushing defense (97.0 yards per game allowed) and No. 3 in rushing yards per attempt (3.6 average per game).
Willis set career highs in 2009 with three interceptions and three forced fumbles and tied a career best with four sacks. After leading the NFL with 152 tackles, Willis was named the NFL’s Alumni Linebacker of the Year and he won the Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in the NFL.
During his first coaching stint under Gill, Singletary served as interim defensive coordinator during the 2008 season, where he helped Gill capture the Mid-American Conference title and give the Bulls their first-ever bowl appearance. His defensive unit finished the year ranked No. 7 in the country and No. 1 in the MAC with 33 takeaways.
During the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Singletary worked as a defensive line coach at Chattanooga. In 2007, the Mocs led the Southern Conference in sacks, takeaways, passes defended and yards allowed per play. During his first year with the program, Chattanooga set a single game record with nine sacks against Elon.
Singletary spent seven seasons as a defensive line coach at Hawaii, working with the Warriors from 1999 to 2005. In 1999, Hawaii won the WAC Championship with a 9-4 record and won the Jeep O’Ahu Bowl after posting the NCAA all-time turnaround record following an 0-12 season the year prior.
Hawaii’s defensive unit accounted for five touchdowns in 1999, 17 interceptions, 33 sacks and 17 fumble recoveries.
In 2003, defensive end Travis LaBoy finished No. 9 in the country with 13 sacks. He was named the WAC Defensive Player of the year and earned Associated Press and The Sporting News All-America honors.
LaBoy would be drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and has played with the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers during his seven-year NFL career.
Singletary also coached Hawaii standout defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round in 2004. While at Hawaii, Sopoaga was a finalist for the NCAA Defensive Tackle of the Year.
Singletary served as defensive line coach for two seasons at Southern (1997-98), where he coached NFL player Chris White, who was drafted in the seventh round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999. Southern won the NCAA I-AA Black College national championship in 1997 and back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference titles in 1997 and 1998.
Singletary began his coaching career at Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill. During his five-year run at Trinity (1992-96), Singletary helped lead the program to two Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles.
Under Singletary’s tutelage, defensive end Herbert Coleman became Trinity’s first-ever NFL Draft selection when he was selected in the seventh round by the 49ers in 1995.
Singletary also participated in seven different NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship programs, initiated by NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh.
Singletary's first fellowship was with Tony Dungy and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996, followed by additional fellowships with the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and two with the San Diego Chargers.
In 2004, Singletary was one of 12 hand-picked coaches to participate in the NCAA’s Expert Coaching Program, a three-day coaching clinic in Indianapolis, Ind.
Singletary has been a part of seven different teams who have participated in bowl games: 1997 Heritage Bowl, 1998 Heritage Bowl, 1999 Jeep O’ahu Bowl, 2002 Conagra Foods Hawaii Bowl, 2003 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, 2004 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and the 2009 International Bowl.
Singletary earned his Social Sciences undergraduate degree from Kansas State in 1990, where he played linebacker and defensive tackle during the 1987 and 1988 seasons. He transferred to Kansas State after spending two seasons at Blinn College, where he earned All-America honors.
Singletary, a native of Houston, Texas, and his wife, the former Shawndra Saulter, have four daughters – Courtney, LaShea, Briauna and Keona.
Singletary at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (DL)
2011 (1 year) – Kansas (LB)
2009-10 (2 years) – San Francisco 49ers (NFL) (ILB)
2008 (1 year) – Buffalo (DT)
2006-07 (2 years) – Chattanooga (DL)
1999-05 (7 years) – Hawaii (DL)
1997-98 (2 years) – Southern (DL)
1992-96 (5 years) – Trinity (Def. Coord., DL, LB, Rec. Coord.)
Recruiting Area: Fredericksburg/Eastern Shore, Va. areas, Houston/Beaumont, Texas, West Virginia, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico
Education: B.S., Social Sciences (Kansas State, ’90)
Hometown: Houston, Texas
?Children: Courtney, LaShea, Briauna and Keona
Marshall Roberts is the senior veteran on Liberty’s coaching staff, as he enters his 12th year coaching on Liberty Mountain.
He brings a vast array of knowledge to the staff, having previously worked with football programs from the NFL, NFL Europe, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, collegiate and high school ranks.
During his decade-plus of coaching at Liberty, Roberts has helped the Flames win seven Big South titles and secure the Flames’ first-ever NCAA FCS Playoffs win in 2014.
Roberts has seen several adjustments in his coaching position responsibilities during his time at Liberty. His most recent adjustment came when Turner Gill named him Liberty’s new recruiting coordinator in January 2012.
Roberts’ on-field coaching task will remain the same for the upcoming year, as he will be coaching Liberty’s defensive backs.
During a three-year span (2009-11), Roberts served as Liberty’s special teams coordinator, coaching some of the most talented special teams players in program history.
In 2011, two-time All-American kicker Matt Bevins graduated, leaving the program as Liberty’s all-time leading scorer with 309 points, to go along with the career records for most field goals (58) and most field goal attempts (77).
Additionally in 2011, Roberts instructed another All-America special teams player in Kevin Fogg, who led the country with three kickoff returns for a touchdown and averaged 33.5 yards per kickoff return.
Since joining the Flames’ coaching staff in 2004, Roberts had coached Liberty’s defensive backfield.
Roberts played a significant role in helping Liberty set eight defensive team records in 2006, including fewest points allowed (172), fewest total touchdowns allowed (21), most shutouts (3) and fewest total average offensive yards per game (306.0).
During his decade with the Flames, Liberty’s defense has ranked top 20 in the country multiple times, including No. 12 in scoring defense in 2006 (15.64 points per game allowed) and No. 5 in 2013 (17.6).
Roberts’ defenders played a vital role in Liberty’s record-setting 10-2 campaign in 2008, helping the Flames finish the season ranked No. 14 nationally in the final polls. Three of the Flames top six defenders were from the secondary, an impressive figure considering Liberty’s ran a linebacker-heavy 3-4 defensive scheme.
Individually, Roberts has had an impact on several of his players, with 13 defensive backs taking home Big South all-conference honors under his tutelage.
Roberts also help provide a rising star in the professional ranks in three-time All-Big South Walt Aikens. The former standout cornerback for the Flames finished his career at Liberty with 162 tackles (120 solo, 42 assisted), 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles.
On May 10, Aikens was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins (No. 125 overall pick). He became the seventh player in Liberty’s history selected in the NFL Draft and the third highest overall.
Roberts came to Liberty from East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Pa., where he served as the secondary coach/special teams coordinator from 2000-03. He helped guide the Warriors to back-to-back Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division titles in 2002 and 2003.
Prior to his collegiate days, Roberts served as a coaching intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers for two months during the summer of 2002 and the secondary coach with NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy during the 2002 season.
In 1999, Roberts served as the head football coach at Abington High School in Abington, Pa., while overseeing the defense, special teams and the passing game. He started his master’s degree at East Stroudsburg in 1998, serving as a graduate assistant with the Warriors and was responsible for the secondary.
Roberts played professionally in the Arena Football League for four years and another year with the Canadian Football League. He played with the AFL’s Orlando Predators during the 1994 and 1995 seasons as a defensive/return specialist. He spent the 1996 season with the Albany Firebirds as a defensive specialist and played for the Milwaukee Mustangs as a receiver/defensive back in 1998. He coached the receivers and defensive backs with the Anaheim Piranhas in 1997. He also played for the CFL’s Sacramento Gold Miners as a defensive back and punt returner in 1993.
Roberts is a 1993 graduate of Rutgers, where he was a four-year letterwinner under former Flames’ Defensive Coordinator Steve Carson. The four-year starter at cornerback and punt returner finished as Rutgers’ all-time leader in career punt returns with 1,018 yards and 91 returns (averaging 11.1 yards per return).
He was an All-ECAC, East and AP corner and return specialist in 1991 and was named to the 1992 BIG EAST preseason all-conference team, while finishing the season ranked 12th in the country in punt returns.
Roberts, a native of Abington, Pa., and his wife, Alicia, have three children – son, Tripp, a daughter, McKenzie and a son, Micah.
Roberts at a Glance
Year at Liberty: 12th
2004-14 (11 years) - Liberty (DB, ST, CB, Rec. Coord.)
2000-03 (4 years) – East Stroudsburg (DB, ST)
2002 (2 months) – Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (Intern)
2002 (1 year) – Frankfurt Galaxy (NFL Europe) (DB)
1999 (1 year) – Abington HS (HC)
1998 (1 year) – East Stroudsburg (DB)
1997 (1 year) – Anaheim Piranhas (AFL) (WR/DB)
1996 (1 year) – LaSalle HS (DB)
1994-95 (2 years) – Abington HS (Asst. Coach)
Recruiting Area: Lynchburg/Central Virginia areas, Upstate South Carolina, Eastern North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Montana
Education: B.S., Administration of Justice (Rutgers, ’93); M.A., Education (East Stroudsburg, ’03)
Hometown: Abington, Pa.
?Children: Tripp, McKenzie and Micah
Since joining Liberty’s football staff in 2012, Josh Bookbinder has served in multiple roles, including his current position on the coaching staff as Liberty’s linebackers coach.
During his first season at Liberty, Bookbinder served as the football program’s defensive quality control staff member.
Shortly after the 2012 season, head coach Turner Gill promoted Bookbinder to special teams coordinator before Gill shifted him to the Flames outside linebackers coach in February 2013.
Bookbinder worked alongside Flames’ defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly with Liberty’s linebackers in 2013, before Gill gave Bookbinder the full reins to the position in the spring of 2014.
During his first year as a member of the Flames’ coaching staff, Bookbinder helped the Flames rank No. 5 in scoring defense (17.6 points allowed per game), No. 9 in the country in total defense (313.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 16 in passing yards allowed per game (178.6).
The 2013 season saw the Flames finish the year ranked No. 3 in the country in turnover margin (1.3) and No. 5 in passes intercepted (19).
Linebacker Nick Sigmon earned his third-straight all-conference honor in 2013 and second-consecutive first-team All-Big South selection. He finished the year tied for the team lead with 62 tackles (30 solo, 32 assisted) and led the team with 10.5 tackles for a loss.
Scott Hyland followed Sigmon on the All-Big South team, earning second-team honors to cap off his stellar four-year career. Roaming the middle of Liberty’s defensive unit, Hyland started 34-consecutive games and finished as Liberty’s active career tackles leaders (175 stops).
Sigmon continued to excel in 2014, earning All-Big South and VaSID All-State second team honors. The four-year starter finished his playing career 216 career tackles and 30.5 career tackles for a loss.
Bookbinder also worked with Nick Newman during 2014, helping the newcomer to the linebacking position earn All-Big South second team honors.
Since joining Gill’s staff, Bookbinder has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles and earning the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Bookbinder came to Liberty after spending the two seasons at Carson-Newman. In 2009, Bookbinder served as the Eagles' linebackers coach before being promoted to special teams coordinator and defensive ends assistant coach for the 2010 season. He also served assistant recruiting coordinator during his time at Carson-Newman.
While at Carson-Newman, Bookbinder had the opportunity to work under NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame coach Ken Sparks. During Sparks' three-decade tenure at Carson-Newman, the Eagles have won five national championships, 21 South Atlantic Conference titles and produced more than 100 Division II All-Americans.
In 2009, Bookbinder served as defensive quality control at Richmond, working directly under Spiders defensive coordinator Vic Shealy. He helped the Spiders finish the 2009 season with an 11-2 record, a Colonial Athletic Association title and a run to the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs.
Bookbinder worked as an undergraduate coach with his alma mater during the 2007 and 2008 seasons at Baylor, working specifically with the Bears' linebackers.
Bookbinder graduated from Baylor in 2009 with a bachelor of arts degree in sports, sponsorships and sales.
In March 2014, Bookbinder married the former Ashley Teer, an alum of Liberty’s track & field program (2007-09). The mid-distance runner was a part of Liberty’s team that won the 2007 Big South Women’s Outdoor Championship.
Bookbinder at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Fourth
2012-14 (3 years) – Liberty (Def. QC, OLB, LB)
2010-11 (2 years) – Carson Newman (LB, ST, DE)
2009 (1 year) – Richmond (Def. QC)
2007-08 (2 years) – Baylor (Under. Grad/LB)
Recruiting Area: Bedford/Roanoke Co., Va., areas, Charlotte, Midlands of South Carolina, Eastern Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri
Education: B.A., Sports, Sponsorships and Sales (Baylor, ’09)
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Bryant Lewellyn has been a part of Liberty’s football program since the 2009 season and capped off his four-year career with the Flames by earning All-Big South second team honors as a senior.
Following his playing career, head coach Turner Gill asked Lewellyn to join his coaching staff when he was named Liberty’s defensive tackles coach in February 2013.
The 2013 season saw seven different defensive player garner All-Big South honors after Liberty posted top 20 ranked defensive numbers.
Liberty finished the 2013 season ranked No. 5 in the country in scoring defense (17.6 points allowed per game), No. 3 in red zone defense (opponents scoring on 66.7 percent of red zone drives), No. 9 in total defense (313.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 16 in passing yards allowed (178.6).
The Flames also finished the year ranked No. 3 in turnover margin (1.3) and No. 15 in the country be allowing only 12 rushing touchdowns in 2013.
Liberty ended the 2014 season atop the Big South rankings in sacks (29), the team’s highest sack since finishing with the same total in 1997. All 29 sacks were recorded by Liberty’s defensive linemen.
Alongside defensive line coach Vantz Singletary, Lewellyn helped with the development of his former teammates in Cory Freeman and Francis Bah during the 2013 season. Following the NFL Draft, both players received NFL tryouts (Freeman with the Cleveland Browns and Bah with the Chicago Bears).
Dominique Davis, who received an invitation to participate in the Inaugural College Gridiron Showcase, signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2015 NFL Draft.
Lewellyn was part of three Big South championship teams as a player (2009, 2010 and 2012) and two more as part of the Flames’ coaching staff the last two years.
Liberty capped off its 2013 championship run with a 56-14 victory over No. 16 Charleston Southern, marking the third time in program history Liberty has defeated ranked teams in consecutive seasons.
Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-high win total in program history and advanced to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
After only playing in nine games and recording five total tackles before his senior year, Lewellyn impressed Liberty’s new coaching staff in 2012 and finished off his career in a Flames uniform by having a banner season.
Following spring practice, Lewellyn was named one of four team captains, and he went on to start all 11 games during Liberty’s 2012 Big South Conference championship season.
Lewellyn finished the year ranked second on the team and recorded a career-high 20 tackles during the 2012 campaign (10 solo, 10 assisted). He led the Flames and ranked No. 2 in the Big South with 5.0 sacks.
The Danbury, N.C., native saved his best performances of the season for Liberty’s top ranked opponents. He recorded season-high tackle totals in Liberty’s games against No. 14/12 Montana, No. 16/13 Lehigh and No. 6/8 Stony Brook. Against Stony Brook, Lewellyn finished the game with three tackles, including two sacks, to help the Flames knock off their first Top 10 ranked team in program history.
Lewellyn was part of a defensive unit that helped the Flames finish the year ranked No. 15 nationally in total defense (314.73 yards allowed per game) and No. 24 in rushing defense (126.09).
Lewellyn graduated from Liberty in 2013 with a degree in kinesiology.
Lewellyn at a Glance
Year at Liberty: Third
2013-14 (2 years) – Liberty (DT)
Recruiting Area: I-81 Corridor/Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee
Education: B.A., Kinesiology (Liberty, ’13)
Hometown: Danbury, N.C.
Kyle DeArmon is no stranger to Liberty’s football program and is in his third season as Liberty’s offensive quality control staff member.
During his first two seasons back at Liberty, DeArmon has helped Liberty capture back-to-back Big South titles and make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Following a win over No. 1 Coastal Carolina to cap off the regular season in 2014, Liberty upended No. 15 James Madison in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Liberty finished the year ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008.
During his first year back with the program, DeArmon was part of an offensive unit that set a new program standard with 36 rushing touchdowns and ranked No. 16 in the country in scoring offense (37.3 points per game) in 2013.
DeArmon was given additional responsibility during the spring of 2015. During this timeframe, he served as intern wide receivers coach and had recruiting responsibilities in the South Florida regions prior to the hiring of current wide receivers coach Ron Brown.
DeArmon was a five-year member of Liberty’s roster, coming to Liberty from Indian Rocks Christian School in Clearwater, Fla., as a quarterback in 2006. He made the transition to wide receiver later in his collegiate career, where he finished with 20 games played, 14 receptions, 239 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions.
During his playing career, DeArmon helped the Flames claim their first four Big South titles and he was a part of Liberty’s first-ever 10-win season in 2008. As a senior, DeArmon ranked fourth on Liberty’s 2010 roster in receptions and receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions.
During his first two years after graduation, DeArmon was a coach and elementary physical education teacher at Westminster Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala. (2011-12). While at Westminster Christian, DeArmon worked under the tutelage of nine-time AHSAA Coach of the Year Stephen Hooks.
DeArmon served as an assistant football coach at Westminster, working with the wide receivers and linebackers, as well as, special teams coordinator.
DeArmon helped Westminster’s punter, Jordan Lake, earn first-team all-state honors, while wide receiver Jay Madison was an honorable-mention All County selection after breaking the program’s single-season receptions and receiving yards records.
DeArmon also was a junior varsity basketball coach and assistant varsity softball coach, helping Westminster win the 2012 area softball championship.
DeArmon graduated from Liberty in 2010 with a sport management Bachelor of Science degree. He is currently pursuing his Master of Arts degree in executive leadership at Liberty.
Paul Rutigliano is currently in the 10th year of his second stint as a member of the Flames’ football coaching staff after joining the coaching staff in January of 2006. Overall, Rutigliano has served on the Liberty football staff for 20 years.
In his current position as Assistant Athletics Director for Football Administration, Rutigliano oversees the overall operations for the football program. His responsibilities include budget management and business operations, while working closely with the President’s Office on specially assigned projects.
During the first several years of his return to the football staff, Rutigliano helped the Flames secure some of the nation’s best NCAA FBS opponents. Since his return to Liberty Mountain, the Flames have squared off against Toledo (2007), Wake Forest (2006), West Virginia (2009), N.C. State (2011) and Ball State in 2010, a game Liberty won, 27-23, to mark the program’s second victory over an FBS opponent.
Prior to returning to Liberty in 2005, Rutigliano worked in the development, management and marketing of Park ‘N Go – a company which develops and manages off-airport property at major airports.
Rutigliano first joined the Flames' football coaching staff in 1989 under his father, Sam Rutigliano, who finished his 11-year career with the most coaching wins in Liberty's football program history.
Rutigliano’s first professional position came with the NBC affiliate in Cleveland as an on-air talent and writer. In 1983, he left NBC and joined the International Management Group IMG - a global company operating in thirty countries with clients and corporations in Sports & Entertainment and Media. In this position, he worked in Team Sports and corporate marketing.
In 1989, after spending six years as an account executive for International Management Group in Cleveland, Ohio, Rutigliano joined his father in Lynchburg.
Rutigliano began his football career at Holliston High School. After graduating from Holliston, he moved to Milford Academy for one year. Rutigliano then received a football scholarship to the University of New Hampshire. After a career-ending injury, Rutigliano transferred in his final year to Cleveland State University and earned a bachelor of science in communications.
Rutigliano and his wife, Cindy have two children, Kristin and Amanda.
Dr. Ed Gomes is entering his 16th year as a member of the Flames’ football support staff and serves as the program’s Director of Spiritual Development.
Gomes’ day-to-day duties are to oversee the spiritual development of the football players by encouraging the student-athletes to understand who they are in Christ and to use their God-given talents to impact others through Whole-Person Development.
He is responsible for setting up team chapels and discipleship programs, developing one-on-one relationships with coaches, support staff, players and others outside the football program. Gomes also serves as the liaison between the University’s Office of Student Affairs and the football program.
Gomes is no stranger to the Liberty University campus as he spent five years (1996-2000) as the University’s Dean of Commuting Students. While in his role as Dean, he helped the University’s commuting students connect with on-campus life.
Prior to his days at Liberty, Gomes served as an associate pastor in his hometown of New Bedford, Mass. He also served as chaplain for the local police force during his 11-year pastoral tenure and board member with the Kiwanis Club and local Y.M.C.A in New Bedford.
Gomes is a 1976 graduate of Liberty, which was then known as Liberty Baptist College. While receiving his undergraduate degree, he was a three-year starting point guard on the Flames’ basketball team.
Gomes still holds numerous records at the University as he set a single-season record with 256 assists and 137 steals during his senior season. He is the school’s all-time leader with 300 career steals and ranks fifth on the school’s all-time list with 476 assists.
After graduation, Gomes traveled two years with the Life Action Ministries Teams from Buchanan, Mich. In 1980, he returned to Liberty and enrolled in the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He served the University as a Resident Director, while working on his seminary degree and finishing his studies in 1985.
Gomes currently is a member of the pastoral staff at Thomas Road Baptist Church and completed his Doctorate of Ministry degree at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2007.
Gomes is a recent published author. His book, “Leaving a Legacy,” is a discipleship manual and guide for coaches, parents and leaders to cultivate and shape relationships with the next generation. “Building a Legacy” is the companion student guide, which helps student-athletes learn to develop their relationship with Christ and with others.
His wife, Ruth, whom he has been married to for 38 years, is a professor in the University’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department. The couple, who reside in Lynchburg, has two grown children who are both married.
After working in the well-respected collegiate football conferences of the SEC and the ACC, Kettie Fickter returned to her alma mater to serve as Assistant Director of Player Personnel in June 2014. Following her first season with the program, Fickter was promoted to Director of Player Personnel/Recruiting on July 17, 2015.
In her role on the Flames football staff, Fickter assists Head Coach Turner Gill in all aspects of recruiting, including official and unofficial visits. She also helps with the Turner Gill Football Camps, roster management, scholarships, student-athlete housing and football team finances.
During her first year on the football staff, Fickter was a part of Liberty winning its seventh Big South title and saw the program make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Following a win over No. 1 Coastal Carolina to cap off the regular season in 2014, Liberty upended No. 15 James Madison in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Liberty finished the year ranked No. 17 in the country, the program’s highest year-end ranking since 2008.
Fickter comes to Liberty after working one season at Wake Forest as the Assistant Director of Event Management and Scheduling. She was the event manager for the Wake Forest baseball program and the facility manager at the Wake Forest Baseball Park.
The native of Pittsburgh, Pa., also scheduled and coordinated all Wake Forest athletic summer camps. Fickter served as event manager for Wake Forest’s ACC and NCAA postseason competition, including the 2013 ACC Cross Country Championship, 2013 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship and the 2013 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.
While pursuing her master’s degree at LSU, Fickter worked as a graduate assistant in the Game and Event Management office for two years (2011-13).
Fickter helped plan and coordinate event logistics for the Tigers’ 14 intercollegiate athletics programs, marketing/promotional initiatives and various special events. She also assisted in the bid process and hosting of numerous NCAA and SEC postseason events, including the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, 2012 SEC Track & Field Championship, 2012 and 2013 NCAA Baseball Regional and Super Regionals and the 2013 NCAA Men's Golf Regional.
After graduating from Liberty, Fickter worked one year at Wake Forest (2010-11) as the Event Management Assistant, working in event management and operations for all 14 sports, as well as athletic special events.
Fickter is familiar with the Flames football program, having worked as a student assistant, focusing her efforts on recruiting for one year (2009-10).
Fickter earned her Bachelor of Science degree in sport management from Liberty in 2010. She then went on to earn a Master's of Science degree in sport management from LSU in 2013.
Danny Wenger is entering his 16th year as a member of the Flames’ football support staff and continues to serve the department as the video coordinator.
During his time in staff, Wenger has been part of a program that has won seven of the last eight Big South titles. In 2014, he saw the program make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
Along with supervising all practice and game-day videography for football, Wenger oversees video exchange with upcoming opponents and breaks down Liberty game and opponent video for the Flames’ coaching staff.
He is also responsible for the production of Liberty’s football highlight and instructional films. During the 2005 season, Wenger also oversaw all aspects of travel for the football program.
Wenger was a finalist for the 2013-2014 FCS Video Coordinator of the Year Award presented by the Collegiate Sports Video Association.
Wenger got his start in the video production industry in 1996 when he joined the in-studio video production team for the nightly news at WSET-TV Channel 13 in Lynchburg, Va.
The native of Charleston, S.C., served in the news department for two years before moving to the creative services department in 1998, where he was responsible for the shooting and editing of commercials and programming which were aired on the regionally and locally owned and operated ABC affiliate.
Wenger graduated from Liberty in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, specializing in media graphic design.
Wenger and his wife Mandy, who reside in Campbell County, have three children – Darrin, Matthew and Emma.
Phone: (434) 582-2337
Fax: (434) 582-2361
A familiar face is returning to roam the sidelines of the Vines Center as Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced the hiring of Ritchie McKay as Liberty's head men's basketball coach on April 1, 2015.
After spending the last six seasons working under Tony Bennett as associate head coach at Virginia, McKay returns to Liberty Mountain where he served as head coach during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
During his time in Charlottesville, McKay helped the Cavaliers post a 136-64 record, including back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Virginia advanced to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament three out of the last four years. Following an ACC Championship in 2014, the Cavaliers were the No. 1 seed in the East Region and advanced to the Sweet 16.
Virginia has been one of the best defensive teams in the nation the last several seasons, including leading the nation in scoring defense the last two years (55.7 points allowed per game in 2013-14 and 51.4 points allowed in 2014-15).
The Cavaliers spent seven weeks ranked as the No. 2 team in the country this past season, finishing the year with a 30-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in ACC play. Virginia advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Final Four team Michigan State.
Prior to his days in Charlottesville, McKay served two seasons as Liberty's men's basketball coach, posting a 39-28 overall record and a 19-13 mark in Big South play. He was named the seventh head coach in program history on March 26, 2007.
Following a 16-16 record during his first year at Liberty, McKay led the Flames to a 23-12 record in 2008-09. The win total matched the program's NCAA Division I record for most wins in a season (Liberty finished the 1996-97 season with a 23-9 overall record).
Liberty finished the 2008-09 season third in the Big South standings, the Flames' third double-digit win total in league play in the last 10 seasons (Liberty was 10-8 in 2009-10 and 13-5 in 2010-11).
The Flames were invited to play in the inaugural CollegInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), advancing to the second round following a win over Rider.
McKay led one of the top scoring offenses in the Big South and ranked No. 48 in the nation, averaging 75.5 points per game during the 2008-09 season.
McKay is one of only three head coaches in program history to post a winning career coaching record (58.2 winning percentage). He is joined by Dale Gibson (1978-81 – 51.1 percent/48-46) and Jeff Meyer (1981-97 – 55.7 percent/259-206).
Under McKay's leadership, forward Anthony Smith (2006-09) finished his career ranked sixth in program history with 1,754 career points scored.
Smith was named All-Big South first team in 2009, one of two first-team all-conference student-athletes coached by McKay (Alex McLean in 2008).
McKay brought Seth Curry to Liberty and the rookie made an immediate impact on the program. He finished the year averaging 20.2 points per game and was named 2009 Big South Freshman of the Year (second player in program history to receive the honor).
Curry spotlighted McKay's Top 50 recruiting class in 2008, which was ranked No. 48 in the country by Basketball Times.
McKay has compiled a 204-186 career coaching record in 13 seasons as a head coach. Prior to his first stint as head coach at Liberty, McKay served as head coach at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-00), Oregon State (2000-02) and New Mexico (2002-07).
Overall at New Mexico, McKay sported an 82-69 coaching record over five seasons. He finished the 2005 campaign with a 26-7 record, winning the Mountain West Conference championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
McKay posted a 37-23 record at Colorado State, which included a 1999 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) berth. The Rams defeated Mississippi State and in-state rival Colorado at the event, before losing to eventual NIT Tournament champion California.
The 1999-2000 season featured the first year of play for CSU in the Mountain West, and the Rams logged an 18-12 record and a fourth-place conference finish.
A pair of victories over nationally ranked opponents, the first time the program had accomplished the feat at Colorado State in a decade, and capturing the title at the second annual Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii were some of the highlights during the season. College Hoops Insider magazine noticed the success of the 2000 Rams and tabbed McKay as its MWC Coach of the Year.
Before arriving on the Colorado State campus, McKay began his head coaching career when he was named the head coach at Portland State. McKay started at Portland State in 1995, helping revive a program which had been dormant for 15 years. McKay led the program to nine victories in the school's first season of competition (1996-97) since the early 1980s.
After the initial season at Portland State, McKay was named one of six finalists for the Clair Bee Award, given annually to the coach with the most influence and innovation in the game of basketball. Two other finalists for the honor that year were Dean Smith of North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. The 1997-98 Portland State team followed with a 15-12 mark and a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference.
McKay started his basketball coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington.
McKay followed his start with the Huskies with two years as an assistant at Queens College in North Carolina (1989-90), Seattle Pacific (1990-91), Bradley (1991-93) and back to Washington (1993-95). McKay also served as an assistant under Jim Molinari at the 1997 World University Games in Italy, where the USA captured the gold medal.
McKay earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in athletic administration from Seattle Pacific in 1987. A stellar player for the Falcons, McKay left the program as the school's single-season and career record holder for steals, and he was third in career assists. He still holds the school record with 10 steals in a 1987 game against Pacific Lutheran.
McKay is married to the former Julie Summers. The couple has two sons, Luke and Gabriel and a daughter, Ellie, who is currently a sophomore at Liberty.
Omar Mance returns to the Flames basketball program for his third season as an assistant coach and first under head coach Ritchie McKay. Mance was a member of Dale Layer’s staff his first two seasons, working primarily with Liberty’s wing players, while also handling various scouting assignments and recruiting responsibilities. Prior to coming to Liberty, Mance spent three seasons as an assistant at Army under head coach Zach Spiker.
While at Army, Mance helped lead the Black Knights to its most successful Patriot League season at 8-6 and its best overall regular season in 28 years at 16-15. Army’s eight regular season wins in Patriot League play marked a school record, securing the team’s first winning season in league history. The Black Knights also garnered Army’s first overall winning season since 1984-85, while starting 4 freshman in the rotation throughout the entire conference season in 2012-13. The Black Knights won the coveted “Star Game” against Navy in back-to-back seasons, becoming the first coaching staff since the Mike Krzyzewski era to accomplish the feat. Mance worked with the program's guards.
During his tenure, he coached the Patriot League Rookie of the Year as well as three Patriot League all-rookie team members. Mance also helped develop two-time first team All-Patriot League performer Ella Ellis, who finished his career fifth all-time in scoring with 1,558 point and 190 three-pointers. In addition to working with position players, Mance also served as a recruiting coordinator and was instrumental in game preparation.
Before arriving at West Point for the 2010-11 season, Mance served as the head varsity coach for the North Shore Country Day (Ill.) boys' team. In his two seasons, Mance led the squad to its two best finishes in school history, winning 16 games and making the regional championship game in 2009. Mance guided seven players to all-league honors and placed two of his charges on the honorable mention all-state squad. He also served as the school's Dean of Multicultural Affairs during the 2009-10 school year.
Prior to his work at Country Day, Mance was on the staff of his alma mater, Rice. He served as Director of Basketball Operations from January-May 2007 before being named an assistant coach for the 2007-08 season. Mance served as the Owls' recruiting coordinator and helped land the first Houston public school recruit to attend Rice in 40 years and also recruited former Liberty great and 2011 Big South Player of the Year, Jesse Sanders, who committed to Rice before becoming a Flame. In addition to his coaching and recruiting duties, Mance oversaw the Owls' academic progress. Under his watch, Rice posted a 98 percent graduation rate, the best mark in the country.
Before entering the collegiate ranks, Mance was the athletic director at Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, Ill., from 2005-07. He oversaw every aspect of each of the school's programs and also served as the head coach of the eighth grade boys' basketball squad. While working at the school, Mance also helped found the Robison-Mance Group, a company that worked with leagues, camps and teams to provide mentoring services to more than 900 youth in the Chicago area. Mance was the co-director and coach of the RMG Elite AAU team.
In 2006 and 2008, Mance worked with Athletes in Action in Nairobi, Kenya. He toured schools, academies and orphanages while helping coach college and club teams. The trip to Africa was just one of his international experiences. Mance played on professional tours in Europe, Asia and Canada during the summers of 2004 and 2005. He was named the tournament MVP of the International Cup in Moscow in 2005.
Mance started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Martin Luther King High School in Atlanta, Ga. He helped the squad to a 5-A state final four in 2004. Mance worked for his father, Eric, an Albany (Ga.) Hall of Fame Inductee who has won more than 500 games in his career.
The Stone Mountain, Ga. native played one season at LSU before finishing his career at Rice. Mance was a second-team All-WAC pick in 2003 and was named the Owls' MVP in both 2002 and 2003. Just as decorated in the classroom, Mance was a two-time member of the WAC All-Academic Team and was named the Rice Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2002 and 2003. Following his senior season, Mance was honored with the Bob Quin Award as Rice's Top Male Student-Athlete and was a finalist for the Creamland Dairies National College Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year award.
A three-time all-state performer at Lithonia High School, Mance was the 1998 Metro Atlanta Player of the Year and the state's AAA Player of the Year. He finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer and graduated as his class' valedictorian. He played for the Atlanta Celtic AAU program and helped his team to a pair of national championships.
Mance earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Rice in 2003. He and his wife Rebecca reside in Lynchburg, Va., with their son Zion.
Brad Soucie returns to the Hill City as an assistant coach of the Liberty men's basketball program, joining head coach Ritchie McKay's staff.
Soucie has the distinction of serving as an assistant under McKay every day of his head coaching career. The partnership began in 1995 when the two helped resurrect the program at Portland State, which had been dormant for 15 years. He followed McKay to Colorado State and Oregon State and New Mexico, before joining him in his first stint with the Flames (2007-09).
During the 2008-09 campaign, Soucie helped guide the Flames to a 23-12 record and an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
Soucie returns to Liberty program with 17 years of coaching experience. While McKay served as an associate head coach at Virginia for the past six seasons, Soucie was the Cavaliers' director of player development. Following an ACC Championship in 2014, the Cavaliers were the No. 1 seed in the East Region and advanced to the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers spent seven weeks ranked as the No. 2 team in the country this past season, finishing the year with a 30-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in ACC play. Virginia advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Final Four team Michigan State.
A gifted outside shooter in his own right, Soucie played a big part in the development of former New Mexico stnadout Ruben Douglas, who led the nation in scoring (28.0 ppg) in 2002-03. Soucie assisted in the development of former Liberty guard Anthony Smith, helping the junior become the only player in the nation during the 2008 season to attempt at least 200 three-point field goals and succeed on at least 50 percent of his field goal attempts (51.5) and 40 percent of his three-point field goal attempts (41.0).
Soucie played college basketball at Eastern Michigan (EMU) for two seasons, before transferring to Christian Heritage College in El Cajon, Calif., now known as San Diego Christian.
While at EMU, Soucie helped lead the Eagles to the 1986 NCAA Tournament. In their first round game against Pittsburgh, Soucie set a first-round record with eight 3-pointers.
Soucie played his final two years at Christian Heritage, where he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration, and later served as an assistant coach for two years.
Soucie played in the NBA Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks. He was also a member of the Athletes-in-Action traveling team.
Soucie and his wife, Kendra, have two daughters, Mikayla and Mariah, and a son, Levi.
After stints at VCU and Radford, Kyle Getter returns to Liberty as an assistant under head men's basketball coach Ritchie McKay.
Getter is no stranger to Liberty basketball after serving one season on McKay's staff during the skipper's first stint (2008-09), helping guide the Flames to a 23-12 record and an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Most recently, Getter spent four seasons a member of Mike Jones' staff at Radford (2011-15), helping the Highlanders finish 22-12 overall and 12-6 in the Big South this past year. Radford made an appearance in the 2015 CIT, defeating Delaware State, 78-57, before falling to Vermont, 71-58.
Prior to his time at Radford, Getter played an integral part in VCU's success in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, which included a magical run to the 2011 Final Four with wins over USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas. While on Shaka Smart's staff, the Rams posted 55 wins over two seasons, the highest total over any two-year span in program history.
On the Rams' bench, Getter's duties included scheduling, travel, team meals, practice schedules, class schedules and team camps.
In addition to his three stops in the Commonwealth (Radford, VCU, Liberty), Getter and his family have spent time in North Canton, Ohio, Huntington, W. Va., Dayton, Ohio and Hanover, Ind.
Before his time at Liberty, Getter was the top assistant at Walsh College in Ohio, where he helped the Cavaliers to a 26-5 record and a run into the Second Round of the NAIA Division II National Tournament.
In addition to having collegiate coaching experience, Getter also has several years of basketball operations duties under his belt.
Before Walsh, Getter spent two years as the Director of Basketball Operations at Marshall University under head coach Ron Jirsa. While there, he was responsible for film exchange, video editing, team travel, recruiting, supervising player academics, overseeing the daily operations of the basketball office and coordinating The Marshall Thundering Herd Basketball Camp.
Getter also spent time under Oliver Purnell at the University of Dayton. In addition, he worked with Paul Biancardi at Wright State.
Getter received his undergraduate degree in physical education from Hanover College (Ind.). While at Hanover, he served as an assistant men's basketball coach from 1999-2002. He helped the team earn a three-year record of 60-18 and two HCAC championships. Before attending Hanover, Getter played two seasons at Centre College in Kentucky.
Along with his knowledge of basketball, Getter has talents on the links as well and served as the men's golf coach at Walsh and the women's golf coach at his alma mater Hanover College.
Getter and his wife, Michelle, have a son, William, and a daughter, Madelyn.
Matt Olinger is in his 11th year with the men's basketball program, including the last eight on the coaching staff. The Indianapolis, Ind., native has been an integral part of Liberty's success over the last 10 seasons serving in various capacities that include assistant coach, director of basketball operations and graduate manager while being a part of two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2013.
Olinger first joined the coaching staff in 2008 as the director of Basketball operations under former head coach Ritchie McKay. The Flames garnered their first 20 win season since 1991 and also their first postseason appearance since the 2004 NCAA Tournament in the College Insider Tournament.
Olinger served as an interim assistant coach during the spring of 2008 and the spring and summer of 2009. In the fall of 2011, Olinger was promoted to assistant coach where he served until the 2013 season. During his time as assistant coach, Olinger's responsibilities included post player development, individual workouts, opponent scouting and recruiting.
Olinger, the only remaining member of the 2004 Big South Championship team, was a two-year varsity member and won back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003 at Bethesda Christian School in Brownsburg, Ind.
A 2007 graduate with a degree in Sport Management, Olinger received his MBA in 2011, is married to the former Kathryn Farris and has one son, Preston. The couple resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Rebekah Ray enters her seventh season with men's basketball and serves the staff as the program's administrative assistant.
In her role, Ray oversees the work flow for the men's basketball office and manages head coach Ritchie McKay's daily schedule. Ray also is in charge of the department's work study program.
Upon earning her bachelor of science in psychology from Liberty in 2005, Ray has been working for her alma mater. Prior to her current position within the men's basketball program, Ray worked in the Center for Youth Ministries and the Office of Student Leadership.
Prior to matriculating at Liberty, the Graham, N.C., native attended North Carolina in Chapel Hill for one year, followed by a two year tour with a singing ministry.
Ray and her husband Scott reside in Lynchburg along with their son Graham. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in human services.
Liberty Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ritchie McKay has announced the addition of Henry Barrera as the program’s new strength and conditioning coach.
Barrera comes to Liberty from the state of Oregon, where he was a performance training specialist and consultant to multiple training categories including Nike Basketball and the Jordan Brand at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. As a basketball player, Barrera was a three-time All-American and NCCAA National Player of the Year while playing for Multnomah University.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Barrera played one season of professional basketball in Sweden before beginning his coaching and performance training career 14 years ago. He also served as the men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach at Concordia University in Portland, Ore., for four years. In addition, he helped build West Linn High School into one of the top programs in the country, winning the three straight Oregon state championships. He makes his way to the Hill City along with his wife of 15 years, Melody, and four children, Maya (10), Marquez (8), Malia (5) and Moriah (3).
Phone: (434) 841-1347
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Jeff Thomas was named the third head coach in the history of the Liberty University golf program on June 14, 2004, replacing long-time head coach Frank Landrey who retired from his position in May 2004.
Since taking over the program, Thomas has transformed Liberty golf into one of the true programs on the rise in collegiate golf. He has guided the Flames to a three of Big South titles, five NCAA Regional appearances, an NCAA Regional title and a trip to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship in 2012.
Thomas joined the Flames' golf coaching staff during the 2001-02 season as an assistant coach and quickly made an impact. The Flames made Liberty Athletics history in 2003, when Liberty was selected as an at-large team for the NCAA Regionals for the first time in school history. Golf became the first Liberty Athletics program to receive an at-large team bid to any NCAA Championship event.
The Flames made significant strides during the 2005-06 season, Thomas’ second at the helm of the program. Liberty claimed two of its 14 NCAA Division I tournament titles under Thomas, plus he led the Flames back to the NCAA Regionals as an at-large team at the NCAA East Regional in Orlando, Fla.
Thomas individually helped a pair of golfers earn NCAA postseason experience in 2009 and 2010. Robert Karlsson, a two-time NCAA Regional at-large invite (2009 and 2010), was joined by Max McKay at the 2010 NCAA East Regional, where both golfers posted Top 25 finishes at the event hosted by Yale in New Haven, Conn. McKay carded a one-under par 209 to finish tied for 16th place, becoming the eighth golfer in Big South history to finish a NCAA Regional event with a sub-par score.
Thomas brought to an end a seven-year stranglehold on the Big South Conference title by Coastal Carolina in 2011. His Flames capped off an impressive season, winning the program’s first-ever conference title by 31 strokes and posting the second-lowest 54-hole championship total in the event’s history (eight-under par 856).
The victory earned Liberty a trip to the Omni Tucson National Resort in Tucson, Ariz., for the NCAA Arizona Regional, the program’s third Regional appearance and second under Thomas. Liberty was the No. 5 seed for the three-day, 54-hole event, the program’s highest Regional seeding.
The Flames repeated as Big South champions in 2012, posting a conference championship record score of 20-under par 844 to win by 10 strokes over Coastal Carolina.
Liberty’s second Big South title in a row earned the Flames a much closer postseason trip, as the Flames were the No. 6 seed at the NCAA Greensboro Regional in Greensboro, N.C. The Flames continued their strong play and claimed the title on the East Course at the Grandover Resort, besting Florida by three strokes and No. 1 seed Auburn by six strokes.
Liberty’s NCAA Regional title earned the Flames a trip to the famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., the program’s first-ever appearance at the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship. Thomas’ program made the most of their rookie national championship experience, finishing in tenth place, one shot shy of advancing to the match play portion of the event.
Thomas guided the Flames to a third-straight NCAA Regional appearance in 2013, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. The Flames were the No. 7 seed at the event hosted at The Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Flames returned to the winner’s circle twice during the 2013-14 season, including a third Big South Men’s Golf Championship title. Liberty made its fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance as the No. 6 seed at the NCAA Eugene Regional contested at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Thomas helped continue Liberty’s NCAA Regional run during the 2014-15 season when Big South Freshman of the Year Isaiah Logue individually qualified for postseason play. Logue, the third golfer in program history to compete individually at an NCAA Regional, participated in the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional at the UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The golf team has rewritten the program’s record book under Thomas’ leadership. Liberty has won 14 of the program’s 24 Division I team tournaments victories with Thomas as head coach. His squads also hold the top six team season stroke average marks in program annuals.
Thomas has recruited the most talented golfers in program history, including three Big South Golfers of the Year, four Big South Championship medalists, four Big South Freshman of the Year, 22 Big South all-conference award winners, seven GCAA/PING All-Region honorees and the program’s first-ever GCAA/PING All-American.
Thomas’ teams have worked just as hard in the classroom as on the golf course. Under his direction, nine Liberty golfers have earned GCAA/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars accolades and four times Liberty has been named to the GCAA All-Academic Team list (2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014).
The Liberty graduate’s efforts to turn the Flames’ golf program into a perennial Top 40 program have not gone unnoticed. He has twice been named Big South Coach of the Year (2010 and 2011) and he was a finalist for the GCAA Dave Williams Award (national coach of the year) in 2011 and 2012.
Thomas has also been named Virginia Sports Information Directors Coach of the Year twice (2011 and 2013) and the Virginia State Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2012.
During his playing career at Liberty, Thomas was a four-year member of the Flames' golf program (1992-95) and graduated from Liberty in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in business management. During his days on Liberty Mountain as a player, Thomas helped continue the growth of the program, including a pair of team tournament championships during the 1994-95 season (Davis and Elkins Tournament and the Liberty/Water’s Edge Classic).
Prior to coming to Liberty, Thomas served as an instructional professional at River Hills Country Club in Tampa, Fla., and Walden Lake Golf and Country Club in Plant City, Fla. He also served as the head professional at Poplar Forest Golf Club in Forest, Va., where he and his wife, Heidi, currently reside with their three daughters, Molly, Madeline and Mia.
2010 Big South Coach of the Year
2011 Big South Coach of the Year
2011 Virginia Sports Information Directors Coach of the Year
2011 Dave Williams Award finalist (presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America)
2012 Dave Williams Award finalist (presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America)
2012 Virginia State Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year
2013 Virginia Sports Information Directors Coach of the Year
Conference Championships (3):
2011 Big South Conference Champions
2012 Big South Conference Champions
2014 Big South Conference Champions
NCAA Regional Appearances (5):
2006 NCAA East Regional
2011 NCAA Arizona Regional
2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional (Team Champions)
2013 NCAA Fayetteville Regional
2014 NCAA Eugene Regional
NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship Appearances (1):
2012 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship
Following a successful playing career for the Flames, Ian McConnell was named Liberty's assistant men's golf coach on July 15, 2015.
During his first half season with the program, McConnell helped Head Coach Jeff Thomas develop his young roster, which included posting a 21-stroke victory at the Rees Jones Invitational over Big South foe Campbell, Sept. 20-22, 2015.
During his four-year career at Liberty, McConnell played a key role in helping the Flames win three Big South titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) and make four-straight NCAA Regional appearances (2011-14).
McConnell finished his collegiate golfing career with a 74.73 stroke average, a mark that ranked eighth in program history at the time of his graduation.
The native of Riverview, Fla., posted four top 10 finishes during his days at Liberty and played 25 rounds at par or better in 41 career events. In 2010, McConnell posted a 7-under par 209 to claim the individual title at the Richmond Invitational.
McConnell was a part of Liberty's starting five that won the 2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional. He closed the 54-hole event with the team's best final round score, an even par 72, helping the Flames finish three strokes ahead of Florida and six strokes in front of Auburn.
Liberty's regional victory earned the Flames a trip to the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship, where the team posted a 10th-place finish at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The top 10 finish is the highest team finish in athletics department history at a NCAA Division I national championship event.
McConnell excelled both on the course and in the classroom during his career. He was a four-year member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll and was named the 2014 Big South Men's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
McConnell is one of 11 players in program history to be named to the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars Team (2013 and 2014) and is one of three players to be named to golf's top academic team twice during his career.
Following the government major’s graduation in May 2014, McConnell spent one year working as an operative and organizer for political campaigns in Florida. In addition to several local campaigns, McConnell worked as the Field Director for Governor Rick Scott's reelection campaign last November and as the Regional Director in southwest Florida for the Republican Party of Florida.
Phone: (434) 582-2381
Fax: (434) 582-2076
The Liberty men's soccer program has firmly entrenched itself among the elite of the Big South Conference and achieved new heights during Jeff Alder's tenure at his alma mater. In 2001, Alder took over a program which had been a consistent winner and built it into a perennial contender for the Big South Conference title. During his tenure, the Flames have won the program's only two Big South championships, earning Liberty's inclusion in the NCAA Tournament field.
Alder's Flames have posted 10 or more wins in seven of their last eight seasons, including five consecutive 10-plus win seasons (2007-2011) for the first time in program history. The run of double-digit wins began with a 13-5-2 record, the most victories in a season during his tenure, as the Flames captured their first ever Big South title in 2007.
The Liberty alum captured his 100th coaching win in 2011 with a 2-0 victory over No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Sept. 13.
Off the field, Alder's program continues to make its mark in the classroom as well. The men's soccer team was recognized by the NCAA with a Public Recognition Award in 2012 and 2013. The award honors teams for their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores, and are given each year to teams with APRs in the top 10 percent of their sport. Also, Alder has had two of his players named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in midfielder Phillip Aseweh in 2011 and defender Michael Gelatt in 2007 and 2008. The Flames also were honored with a NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2013-14 academic year.
Alder, a long-time fixture on the Liberty campus, enters his 15th season as the head coach of the Liberty men's soccer program. He spent nine years as an assistant and four seasons as a player for 21-year head coach Bill Bell, before taking over as the program's third head coach in 2001. Alder also spent six years as the Director of Academics for Athletics, giving him more than 25 years on Liberty Mountain.
During Alder's previous 14 years at the helm of the men's soccer program, the Flames have not only captured their first two Big South Conference titles in school history (2007 & 2011), but have recorded a top-three finish in the conference's regular-season standings nine times. Liberty has finished first (2001) in the Big South regular-season standings once, placed second (2003, 2004, 2007) three times and completed conference play third (2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012) five times during his tenure. The Flames have also played in the Big South Championship title game five times under Alder, reaching the title contest in 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Student-athletes under Alder have combined to earn one All-American honor, two Freshman All-American awards, three Capital One Academic All-America accolades, 18 all-region recognitions, three Big South Freshman of the Year awards and 54 all-conference selections, including 27 first-team members. In addition, he has seen 22 of his players move on to the professional ranks, with Joshua Boateng being taken in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft and seven others picked in the MLS Supplemental Draft.
Alder has also been a key factor behind the growing visibility of the Liberty soccer program, both regionally and nationally. For five consecutive years (2008-12), the Flames were listed among the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) South Atlantic Region poll for several weeks and once again, appeared in the poll in 2014. During Liberty’s 2007 Big South Championship season, the Flames were ranked every week among the top teams in the poll.
In addition, the Flames have traditionally played several highly-ranked programs each season, including 2012, when they defeated No. 10 Virginia, 2-0, in Charlottesville and No. 9 Coastal Carolina, 2-1, in the Big South semifinals.
Alder was a driving force behind the Liberty campus' Thomas Indoor Soccer Center, which opened in the spring of 2009. He also played an integral part in helping to obtain a new home for both Liberty soccer and the track and field programs, Osborne Stadium and the Luurtsema Center, which was completed in August of 2010.
Since 2007, the Liberty alum has guided his team to four Big South Conference title games. In its most recent trip to the conference final, Alder rallied his Liberty squad from a slow start early in the year to advance the 2013 Big South title game. The Flames became the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992. Liberty shut out No. 2 seed High Point (1-0) and No. 3 Longwood to earn a place in the Big South title contest.
Alder led Liberty to its second Big South title in four years in 2011. The Flames posted an 11-6-3 overall record and failed to advance on penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Liberty went 4-0-2 over its last six games to capture the Big South crown and an NCAA Tournament bid. In addition, Darren Amoo finished his Liberty career by setting a new school record with 37 career goals. The forward was one of five Flames from the team to join the professional ranks at the close of the season.
Alder directed Liberty to a 12-5-3 record and an appearance in the Big South Championship title game in 2009. The Flames finished the year ranked fifth in the country in scoring offense, with a 2.15 goals per game average, and were seventh nationally in team goals against average, with a 0.53 GAA. The Flames also tied the program record for shutouts with 12.
For the first time in program history, Alder saw his squad capture the Big South title and move on to the NCAA Tournament in 2007. The Flames recorded the second-highest win total in school history with a 13-5-2 mark. Defense was one of the keys to Liberty's success, as the Flames posted nine shutouts, allowing only one goal in seven home games during the season.
Alder has seen several of his players earn prestigious honors during his tenure. The Flames’ head coach saw Hermann Trophy watch list member, Joshua Boateng become the program's first Division I All-American in 2008.
Alder also saw two of his players go on to play professionally and for their country's national team, Trinidad and Tobago, in the school's all-time points leader Darryl Roberts and defender Osei Telesford in 2006. Roberts became Liberty program's first Freshman All-American. The year before, the Flames finished the regular season tied for first place in the Big South with a 5-2 league record and reached the title game of the Big South Championship during Alder's first season.
In addition to serving as an assistant coach, Alder spent six years as the Director of Academics for Athletics (1996-2002), supervising the overall athletic academic support program for all of Liberty's student-athletes.
Alder acquired coaching experience under the direction of Bruce Arena and George Gelnovatch at the University of Virginia Camp of Champions. He also coached at the state and district levels for the Virginia Olympic Development program and served under Gelnovatch as a guest evaluator with the U.S. Under-18 National Team. Alder attended the United States National Team Camp as a guest of coach Bruce Arena, prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
He holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma, a NSCAA Advanced National Diploma with Distinction and a NSCAA Premier Diploma. Alder served as a site supervisor for the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament from 2003-2010 and in 2012. He is also a member of the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Advisory Committee. He was also a voting member for the NSCAA Top 25 College Rankings from 2005-07.
Alder received his bachelor's degree in business management from Liberty in 1991. While playing at Liberty, he was a four-year starter on the men's soccer team.
In his first season as a Flame, Alder earned the 1987 Most Promising Freshman Award. He was also named all-conference in 1987 and was given the Coaches Award and made the Dean's List in 1989. During his final three seasons with the Flames, Liberty posted three straight winning seasons, including a 12-2-2 record in his senior year.
Alder and his wife Lori reside in the Lynchburg area. The couple has two children, son Chandler who is currently a student at Liberty and daughter Grayson.
Former Liberty standout Jose Gomez has served as an assistant coach at his alma mater since 2014. The former Flames forward assists in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, scouting, practice instruction and game strategy.
Gomez joined the Liberty men’s soccer coaching staff in 2014 after nine seasons as the head men’s soccer coach at Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach, Fla. He led the Sailfish to a 103-65-15 overall record during his tenure and guided Palm Beach Atlantic to the program’s first-ever NCCAA National Championship in 2010.
The Valrico, Fla., native was named NSCAA/NCCAA National Coach of the Year in 2010. He was also selected the NCCAA South Region Coach of the Year in 2012. Off the field, Gomez’ 2013 team earned a NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2012-13 year.
In 2013, Gomez earned his 100th career coaching victory, leading Palm Beach Atlantic to 10-3-1 record. The Sailfish ranked as high as No. 23 in the NSCAA Top 25 and finished the year third in the nation in total offense.
Gomez’ 2012 team posted the most successful year since entering the NCAA Division II ranks in 2006, finishing the year with a 14-4-2 record. The Sailfish went on to claim their seventh consecutive NCCAA South Region Championship in school history.
Gomez was named to the 1990-99 Big South All-Decade team for his play during his four seasons as a Liberty Flame from 1997-2000. He was the 2000 Big South Player of the Year and a four-time Big South All-Conference team member. The forward was selected to the all-conference first team in both 1999 and 2000, while being named to the all-conference second team in 1997 and 1998. He also was named to All-South Atlantic Region in 1999 and 2000.
Gomez is currently tied for fifth on Liberty’s career goals list with 32 and ranks sixth all-time on the program’s career points list with 77. In 2000 as a senior, the forward led the Flames in scoring with nine goals and three assists for 21 points.
Gomez was drafted by the Charlotte Eagles in 2000 and played with the team for three seasons, earning All A-League second-team honors in 2002. During this time, he trained with the Chicago Fire and with D.C. United. In 2004, Gomez moved to Virginia where he continued his professional career playing with the Virginia Beach Mariners for two seasons.
Gomez holds a USSF “A” license, a NSCAA Premier Diploma and a NSCAA National Youth license.
Gomez, his wife Carrie, their daughter, Selah, and son, Royce, reside in Lynchburg, Va.
A member of the Liberty men’s soccer coaching staff since 2010, A.J. Madero currently serves as an assistant coach on Jeff Alder’s staff. Madero joined the staff as a volunteer assistant in 2010. He assists in practice instruction, goalkeeper coaching and recruiting. In addition, he is involved in game strategy and alumni relations.
In two of Madero’s four seasons, the Flames have reached the Big South Championship title game. In 2013, Madero assisted head coach Jeff Alder in helping Liberty rebound from a slow start early in the year to advance the 2013 Big South title game. The Flames became the first No. 7 seed to play for the conference title since 1992. Liberty shut out No. 2 seed High Point (1-0) and No. 3 Longwood to earn a place in the Big South title contest.
In his first year as an assistant, Madero help guide the Flames to the 2011 Big South title. Liberty posted an 11-6-3 overall record and a 4-4-1 Big South mark. The former Flames goalkeeper mentored freshman goalkeepers Scott Sutarik and Josh Pacella, who helped the Flames lead the Big South Conference in goals allowed (0.95), goals against average (0.91) and shutouts (9).
Sutarik led the Big South with a 0.56 goals-against average and in save percentage with an .850 save percentage, earning Big South All-Tournament and All-Freshman team honors. The freshman goalkeeper also tied for the conference lead with six shutouts, recording them in 10 games played.
Madero's first year as a member of the coaching staff came in 2010, he served as a volunteer assistant coach.
Madero, a native of Tampa, Fla., earned All-Big South second team accolades in 2009, as well as garnering conference player of the week honors during the season. Additionally, the goalkeeper was a member of Liberty's 2007 Big South Conference championship team.
Madero also etched his name on several Liberty single season and career record lists, despite suffering a season-ending injury during the Flames' first round Big South Tournament contest in 2009. He holds the lowest career goals-against average in Big South Conference history with a 0.52 GAA.
Madero posted the second-best goals-against average for a season in Liberty history with a 0.45 GAA and tied for second in program annals with 10 shutouts in 2009. He compiled an 11-4-3 record and finished the year fourth in nation in the final NCAA Division I Statistical Report in GAA.
During his two seasons on the Flames' roster, Madero compiled a 16-4-6 record with a school-record low goals-against average of 0.52, logging over 2,416 minutes in the Liberty net. He holds the Osborne Stadium record with eight consecutive shutouts, completing his career without conceding a goal at the facility and finishing a strong 10-0-2 at home.
Madero earned his Bachelor of Science degree in general studies with a specialization in kinesiology from Liberty in 2010 and earned a master's degree in sports management this past spring. He also serves as the goalkeeping director at Central Virginia United and has been involved in youth soccer coaching and instructional camp throughout the area.
Madero lives in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-7255
Fax: (434) 582-4499
Dot Richardson was named the fifth head coach in the history of the Lady Flames softball program on July 17, 2013.
Richardson brings a vast knowledge of the game, which she has shared during stints as both a coach and a clinician. She has coached at the collegiate level, including as an assistant coach at Adelphi University while completing her master's degree in 1988 and as a volunteer at Oregon State. Most recently, Richardson served as an advisor/instructional coach for Montverde Academy's softball team.
She is the founder of the Dot Richardson Softball Association – a not-for-profit organization which provides instruction to coaches and athletes to help them reach their full potential. As part of this foundation, a travel ball organization was founded, with Richardson coaching "Dot's Diamonds" to NSA National Championships at both the 10U and 18U levels.
Through the Dot Richardson Softball Series, Inc., Richardson has organized and taught at instructional camps and clinics throughout the nation since its founding in 1984.
Richardson takes over Liberty's head coaching position after Paul Wetmore retired from the position in May following a 20-year career that included a program-record 547 career victories. Richardson becomes the program's second head coach at the Division I level since the program was reinstated in 1994.
Richardson is one of the most decorated collegiate, national and international players in softball history.
She helped Team USA win Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, hitting the game-winning home run in the gold medal game in 1996.
Internationally, she also played in five Pan American Games (1979, 1983, 1987, 1995 and 1999) and five World Championships (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998). She helped her team win five Pan American Game gold medals and four World Championship gold medals.
As a collegiate player, Richardson was a five-time All-American, earning AIAW All-America honors at Western Illinois and three All-America honors at UCLA. After transferring to UCLA from Western Illinois, she was recognized one year as an All-American by both organizations.
While at UCLA, Richardson helped the Bruins win their first of 11 NCAA national championships in 1982. She finished as a three-time Bruin softball team MVP and completed her career with a .349 batting average.
The standout shortstop was named UCLA's All-University Athlete Award winner in 1983, sharing the honors with three-time Olympic track & field goal medalist Jackie Joyner Kersee. Additionally, Richardson was named the 1980's NCAA Player of the Decade to cap off her stellar collegiate accomplishments. She is listed No. 43 on the Top 100 NCAA Student-Athletes of the Century.
Richardson is a 16-time Amateur Softball Association (A.S.A.) All-American and was inducted into the A.S.A. Hall of Fame in 2006.
Additionally, Richardson has been inducted into the State of Florida Hall of Fame (1992) and the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (1996).
During her international playing career, Richardson was nominated for the Olympic Sportswoman of the Year award four times (1981, 1989, 1990 and 1996) and the Sullivan Award (Outstanding Amateur Athlete in the United States) four times (1981, 1989, 1990 and 1996).
Some of Richardson's other national softball awards include the 1996 United States Olympic Committee Award, 1997 Babe Zaharias Award (Female Athlete of the Year), 1998 Sports Legends Award and the 2008 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.
After retiring from the game of softball in 2000, Richardson has served as the Executive Director and Medical Director of the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla.
After graduating from UCLA with an undergraduate degree in kinesiology/pre-med in 1984, Richardson received a M.A. in Exercise Physiology/Health from Adelphi in 1988 and her M.D. from Louisville in 1993.
She completed a five-year post-doctoral residency in orthopedic surgery from the USC/Los Angeles County Medical Center (July 1993 to June 1999) and participated in an orthopedic sport medicine fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, Calif., the following year.
An active member of the Central Florida community, Richardson was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year in Lake County, Fla. She also received the 2012 Summit Award from the Women's Research Center from UCF.
Richardson is married to Bob Pinto, the National Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Softball Ministry. Richardson also serves in the organization as board chair.
Richardson has authored two books (Go For It! A Conversation About Being You! and Living The Dream: The Dot Richardson Story), and produced The Dot Richardson Instructional Video Tape/DVD library.
Richardson has worked as a television commentator for NBC's coverage of the Athens Olympics in 2004 and helped cover numerous softball games, including the NCAA Softball College World Series, for ESPN.
Bob Pinto brings more than 30 years of softball coaching experience to Liberty, serving as an assistant coach on head coach Dot Richarson's inaugural coaching staff.
Pinto, who has been married to Richardson since 2001, has coached extensively at the collegiate, high school, travel and professional levels over the past 32 years.
Pinto has conducted coaches' and players' clinics worldwide since 1998 through the Dot Richardson Softball Series. Additionally, he has served at the national director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Softball Ministry.
He spent the last two years (2012 and 2013) as co-head softball coach at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla. While serving as coach of the Eagles, he helped lead them to back-to-back FHSAA Regional appearances. In 2013, the Eagles won the District championship and advanced to the 3A state semifinals, where they came in third place.
At the collegiate level, Pinto first gained experience as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven. He then assisted at Adelphi, which competed at the NCAA Division I level at the time.
Pinto took over as head coach at Division I program LIU-Brooklyn in 1993, with the Blackbirds posting a 24-13 record during his first season. During the span of two years at Long Island, Pinto's' teams went 44-34.
A native of Stamford, Conn., he coached travel ball at the 12U, 16U and 18U levels. Pinto was co-head coach for the Stamford Flash from 1984-86 before spending eight years (1990-97) as head coach of the Stamford Wildcats. He guided the Wildcats to several state championships and one Regional title. His Wildcats teams competed in the AFA Friendship Games in Anaheim, Calif., and won a title in Montreal, Canada. During the early 2000's, he coached the 18U Dot's Diamonds, a team which won the 18U NSA National Championship in 2004.
Pinto has coached at five different high schools, beginning as an assistant coach at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Conn. He then served as head coach at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield, Conn. While in Florida, he was an assistant at East Ridge High School before taking the head coach job at Central Florida Christian Academy for two seasons.
He played a key role in developing the Profastpitch X-treme Tour. Pinto was the inaugural National Site Director for the tour and had responsibility for all on-site operations. In addition, he was one of the tour's head coaches, working with top softball players, including Olympians and collegiate All-Americans.
Paige Cassady joined the Liberty softball coaching staff in July of 2013 under first-year head coach Dot Richardson, and will primarily focus on the development of the Lady Flames' pitching staff.
Cassady's most recent coaching experience came in 2013, when she served as pitching coach at Lipscomb under head coach Kristin Ryman. While at Lipscomb, Cassady helped the Lady Bisons post a 35-24 record and qualify for the Atlantic Sun finals. During the 2013 campaign, she instructed Tanner Sanders, who was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team and Conference Tournament team. She was in charge of the infield defense and baserunning, in addition to responsibilities for travel, camps, team academics and recruiting.
Prior to her time at Lipscomb, Cassady spent two years as a graduate assistant at Louisiana Monroe, where she was the pitching coach under head coach Rosemary Holloway-Hill. In addition to her responsibilities with pitching, she directed the Warhawks' baserunning practice and developed speed and agility workouts.
Cassady has gained extensive experience as a pitching instructor. Since 2005, she has joined her father with Powerline Fastpitch, to provide pitching lessons in and around Orlando, Fla. Several of her students have gone on to pitch collegiately. She also served as an instructor at FIU softball camps and clinics and at a softball camp led by LSU softball head coach Beth Torina.
While working at Louisiana Monroe in Nov. 2012, she served as a keynote speaker on the fundamentals of pitching at an annual Easton Fastpitch southeast conference in Mississippi.
A native of Orlando, Fla., Cassady pitched collegiately for four seasons, beginning with a two-year stint at Presbyterian College from 2007 and 2008. As a freshman in 2007, Cassady won 16 games and was named to the All-SAC second team. Following the 2008 season, she transferred to Florida International, where she was a team captain in 2010.
Cassady graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Florida International in 2010. She then earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Louisiana Monroe in 2012.
Phone: (434) 582-2409
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Chris Johnson enters his 10th year as the Liberty men’s tennis head coach and is one win shy of the century mark, making Johnson the winningest men’s tennis coach in program history. Johnson enters his fourth season of sole responsibility of the men’s team after coaching both the Flames and Lady Flames for six years.
In the previous three years, Johnson has led the Flames to a 37-31 overall record, including a 14-10 record in Big South action.
Johnson led Liberty to a 14-10 overall mark in the 2014-15 season. In addition, the Flames finished conference play with a 6-2 record, marking the best conference finish in program history. Due to the Flames’ strong conference record, Liberty garnered the No. 2 seed in the 2015 Big South Men’s Tennis Championship, the highest seed in program history.
Johnson came to Liberty being very familiar with its tennis history, as he was a four-year letterwinner for the Flames men's tennis team from 1990-94, and also served as an assistant coach during the 1995 season. Johnson's passion for Liberty and tennis has led to a host of new accolades for each program. Among those accolades are Johnson’s Big South Coach of the Year awards. In 2008, Johnson was named the Big South Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year and was later named Big South Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year in 2015. Johnson is one of only three coaches ever to have been named both Big South Men and Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year.
Johnson has coached 68 postseason award winners during his first nine years with Liberty. Among the 68 honorees, Johnson has coached two Big South Players of the Year, three Big South Freshmen of the Year, 33 all-conference honorees, 15 all-academic award winners and four Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year winners. In addition, Johnson has also coached one VaSID Rookie of the Year, five VaSID all-state members and five VaSID all-academic honorees.
Johnson has now led Liberty to seven consecutive double-digit win seasons and has eclipsed season records in back-to-back years. In 2013, Johnson coached the doubles tandem of Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero to the program’s first-ever ITA Atlantic Region championship, defeating No. 17 ranked Andreas Bjerrehus and Amerigo Contini of Virginia Tech. The regional title earned Thomas and Azuero a berth in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y. In their first match in Flushing, Thomas and Azuero upset No. 18 David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury of Memphis. Thanks to their success in the fall, Thomas and Azuero climbed to as high as No. 19 in the ITA national doubles rankings.
Johnson finished his playing career at Liberty with 31 singles victories, while posting a 34-32 mark playing at #1 and #2 doubles. Johnson finished both his junior and senior seasons with 10 singles victories, while completing his final year of competition with a 12-10 doubles record.
Johnson helped the Flames post a combined 32-38 record during his four-year career. Liberty was competing in just its third season at the NCAA Division I level during Johnson's freshman year (1991), and he was a member of Liberty's first-ever tennis team to compete in the Big South Conference in 1992. During his playing career, Johnson was honored as a member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll.
Johnson, a native of Hickory, N.C., his wife Audrey and the couple's three children, Landon, Ashleigh and Alyssa, live in Forest, Va.
Head men's tennis coach Chris Johnson announced the addition of Rich Benson to his staff as an assistant coach on August 12, 2013. Benson comes to Liberty after spending the past two years on staff with Athletes in Action (AIA), working with their tennis ministry.
"Liberty men's tennis is very blessed to have Coach Benson joining our coaching staff," Johnson stated. "He has a strong commitment to the Lord and to seeing our players grow on and off the court. I am very humbled as I watch how God continues to build our program."
Prior to his AIA experience, Benson was a volunteer assistant for the 25th-ranked Louisville men's tennis squad. "Coach Rich Benson brought a great blend of skills to our program", commented Louisville men's tennis head coach Rex Ecarma. "He was an All-American and former ATP Doubles player and brought that experience, as well as his management skills from his previous job, to his position with us at Louisville. Lastly, he brought a sense of compassion and thoughtfulness regarding the players. He cared as much for their soul as he did for their performance level."
During his collegiate playing career, Benson was a three-time All-American tennis player at Kentucky and reached an ATP doubles world ranking of No. 132. Benson is a member of the Kentucky State Tennis Hall of Fame, as well as a member of the University of Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame.
"It's refreshing to see Liberty University's commitment to make a difference in the world for Christ through the lives of their students and student-athletes," stated Benson. My wife and I are excited about joining the Liberty family in their mission to ‘Build Champions for Christ.' I'm eager to get started and join Coach Johnson as he continues to build a great tennis program here at Liberty University."
Rich has been married to his wife Paula for 15 years. They have three young children, Allison (10), Timothy (8) and Daniel (5).
Phone: (434) 582-2614
Fax: (434) 582-2631
Shane Pinder has led the Liberty volleyball program to reach new heights since taking the helm prior to the 2004 season. Pinder is the Lady Flames’ all-time winningest coach, both overall and in conference games. In 11 years at the helm, he has posted a 208-149 record, including 115-43 in Big South play.
On Oct. 3, 2014 at Gardner-Webb, Pinder became Liberty’s winningest volleyball coach. The following day at UNC Asheville, he became the fourth volleyball head coach in Big South history with 200 or more wins.
Under Pinder's leadership, the Lady Flames won six straight Big South regular-season titles from 2007-12, breaking the conference record for consecutive championships. Liberty appeared in the Big South final in each of those six seasons, claiming the championship in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. Additionally, the team claimed 20 or more victories for six straight years, from 2007-12.
During that stretch, Liberty was the only NCAA Division I volleyball team to post six straight 20-win seasons, six conference regular-season titles in a row and six consecutive appearances in the conference final.
The 2014 Lady Flames reached 20 win in their 25th match, downing Coastal Carolina on Oct. 18. Liberty was the second Division I program to reach 20 wins, trailing only Colorado State. Liberty raced to a 22-5 start after a 13-match winning streak. The Lady Flames finished 23-10, including 10-4 in Big South play. Liberty upset Virginia, 3-2 on Sept. 23, the team’s first win over the Cavaliers since 1979.
Pinder has been named Big South Coach of the Year three times, in 2007, 2010 and 2012, while also earning the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) State Coach of the Year honor in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. He holds the VaSID and Big South records for most volleyball Coach of the Year awards.
The Lady Flames have been regular recipients of top honors during Pinder's tenure. Kallie Corbin became the first AVCA All-American in program history in 2008, and Chelaine McCarty followed suit in 2009. Pinder has coached two Big South Players of the Year (Corbin, '08; Caroline Douglas, ‘12), four Big South Freshmen of the Year and four Big South Tournament MVPs. A total of 10 Lady Flames have earned first team all-conference accolades under his direction.
Liberty volleyball has also thrived academically, highlighted by the AVCA Team Academic Award in 2011. Kristin Colson earned Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2004, while Karyl Bacon was named Big South Woman of the Year in 2010.
Following the 2012 season, Becca Haraf was named Big South Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Haraf then became Liberty's second-ever volleyball Academic All-American, being named to the second team in 2013. She received the prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence and the Bob McCloskey Insurance Big South Conference Graduate Fellowship.
The Lady Flames swept the Big South major honors in 2012, with Douglas being named both Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year. Pinder was awarded his third Big South Volleyball Coach of the Year award, while Haraf was tabbed Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Liberty posted a 25-8 record during 2012, gaining its seventh Big South tournament title, second in a row and fourth in the last six seasons. Douglas led the Big South in kills and drew AVCA All-Region mention. The Lady Flames were nearly unbeatable at home, dropping just one set while going 9-0 at the Vines Center to improve their home winning streak to 14 matches. The Lady Flames faced No. 8 seed Minnesota in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship first round, falling, 34-32, in set three.
In 2011, the Lady Flames captured their conference-record sixth Big South tournament championship, punching a ticket to the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship with a sweep of Radford in the Big South final. Liberty went 20-13 and met four-time defending national champion Penn State in the first round of NCAA Regional play.
Under Pinder, Liberty has made four appearances in NCAA postseason play, clashing with ranked opponents each time. The Lady Flames took a set from Final Four participant California in 2007. They followed with a set victory over Final Four qualifier Nebraska the following year.
The 2008 Lady Flames went 25-9 overall, wrapping up the squad's best two-year run at the NCAA Division I level. Liberty, which won its second straight Big South tournament title in 2008, went 52-18 combined during the 2007 and 2008 campaigns.
Pinder won his first Big South and VaSID State Coach of the Year honors in 2007, guiding a squad that captured the program's first Big South title since 2001. Liberty went 27-9 on the year, establishing a school NCAA Division I record for victories.
The Lady Flames swept Winthrop 3-0 on Oct. 27, 2007, halting the Eagles' 63-match Big South winning streak. The win was part of Liberty's string of 10 consecutive 3-0 sweeps during the month of October.
Since the start of the 2007 season, Liberty is 176-90 (.661) overall, the best eight-year span, wins-wise and percentage-wise, since the Lady Flames joined NCAA Division I in 1988.
Prior to his head coaching position, Pinder spent three seasons (1999-2001) as an assistant on Liberty's coaching staff. In the role, he helped guide the Lady Flames to Big South Conference titles in 1999 and 2001 and two trips to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Pinder, a native of Nassau, Bahamas, attended Broward Community College in Miami, Fla., for two years and graduated from Liberty Bible Institute in 2000 and Luther Rice Seminary in 2004.
Pinder and his wife, Haley, reside in the Lynchburg area with their daughter, Graysen Avie, who will turn 10 during the 2015 season.
Johnathan Willis has served as an assistant volleyball coach at Liberty since 2014, following seven seasons as head coach at Randolph College.
Willis returned to his alma mater, where he served as a volunteer assistant coach on Pinder's staff during the 2006-07 academic year. During his coaching tenure at Randolph, he maintained his relationship to Liberty, helping organize, facilitate and run clinics for Liberty's team camp from 2004-13.
During his return season to Liberty, 2014, the Lady Flames posted a 23-10 record, including 10-4 in Big South play. Liberty went on a 13-match winning streak from Sept. 20 through Oct. 25, racing to a 22-5 start to the season. The Lady Flames upset Virginia, 3-2, on Sept. 23, the team’s first win over the Cavaliers since 1979. Willis helped guide the Lady Flames, as they led the Big South in both kills per set (13.57) and assists per set (12.68).
Willis spent the previous seven seasons (2007-13) as head women’s volleyball coach at Randolph College in Lynchburg. In 2013, Willis' WildCats went 12-11, good for the program's first winning record since the 1997 campaign.
While at Randolph, he was in charge of recruiting, fundraisers, finances, equipment purchasing, scheduling, film analysis, player development and coaching staff. He recruited and coached student-athletes who hold program records in over 20 categories. Willis also began and led a faculty and staff Bible study on campus.
Willis spent six seasons, 2006-11, as head coach of Liberty's club men's volleyball program. The team went 20-8 in 2006-07, placing second in the EIVA Southern Conference. His team also earned a third-place finish at the NCVF National Championships in 2010.
During 2005, Willis was an assistant coach at Brookville High School, helping guide the Bees to a district championship and regional runner-up showing.
Willis coached the Heart of Virginia club volleyball team for three years, 2006-08, during which time he led the HOV 16U Navy Team.
He has vast experience as a clinician, both at the high school and college level. Willis has served as a clinician at Liberty's camps, while also teaching at high school camps both locally and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As an undergraduate student at Liberty, Willis played middle blocker for the club men's volleyball team.
Willis graduated from Liberty with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2006. He then earned a Master of Arts in human services, also from Liberty, in 2007.
Cassie Crumal began her time at Liberty in June, 2014, when she was hired to serve as an assistant volleyball coach under head coach Shane Pinder.
Crumal brought four seasons of collegiate coaching experience with her to Lynchburg. She spent the 2014 campaign as an assistant coach at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. While at Northwood, she served as recruiting coordinator. She also was in charge of opponent scouting using extensive film study. In addition to her on-court coaching duties, Crumal was responsible for day-to-day operations.
Prior to her time at Northwood, she was an assistant coach at Buffalo during the 2013 season. She helped with the organization of team practice, while also assisting with day-to-day operations and opponent scouting. Crumal aided the Bulls as they posted an 18-12 record, tying the program record for single-season victories.
She spent the 2012-13 academic year as interim head men’s and women’s volleyball coach at Lees-McRae. During that season, she obtained head coaching experience, being in charge of practices, scouting, game day management, budget management and on-court instruction.
Crumal was a four-year member of the William & Mary volleyball program. A three-time CAA All-Academic Team member, she served as co-captain for the Tribe in 2010. She dished out a career-high 66 assists in a 3-2 William & Mary setback to Liberty as a freshman on Sept. 15, 2007.
Upon her graduation in 2011 with bachelor’s degree in psychology, she was ranked sixth in program history with 1,826 career assists. She earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Liberty in 2014.
Phone: (434) 592-6259
Fax: (434) 582-2205
On June 20, 2012, Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced the hiring of Jeff Maren as Liberty's new head women's tennis coach. Maren was named to the position after Liberty separated the coaching roles of the men's and women's tennis programs, which were shared since the inception of the women's program in 2000-01.
"We are thrilled to welcome Coach Maren to the Liberty family as he brings great experience, passion and commitment to Liberty tennis," said Barber. "Through our nationwide search, it quickly became obvious that he is the perfect fit to lead our program. I believe great days are ahead for the women's team and feel blessed to have Jeff join our dream of building a national caliber tennis program."
Maren comes to Liberty after six successful seasons as associate head coach of the women's tennis program at North Texas, where he helped the Mean Green transition from a 2-19 program in 2007 to win a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships (2010 and 2012).
During his first three seasons at North Texas, Maren served as assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach of the program for the last three seasons.
Following an 11-win improvement during his first season with the program, North Texas finished the 2008 season ranked No. 13 in the final ITA Southwest Region rankings. The Mean Green continued to improve the following season, posting a 17-6 record while making a run to the Sun Belt Conference Championship semifinals in 2009.
In 2010, North Texas captured its first-ever Sun Belt Conference title, upending No. 49 Florida International, 4-3, in the conference's title match. Following another conference semifinal run in 2011, North Texas claimed its second Sun Belt title and NCAA Women's Tennis Championship berth with a 4-2 win over Florida International in 2012.
During his last five seasons at North Texas, Maren helped the Mean Green post a 75-41 record and gain a national ranking as high as No. 40 during the early part of the 2012 spring season.
Maren helped coach four all-conference women's tennis players and two nationally ranked players at North Texas, along with adding a combined 38 nationally ranked opponents to North Texas' schedule during his six seasons with the program.
North Texas success was not limited to the court during Maren's time with the program, as the Mean Green finished five out of six seasons with ITA All-Academic team honors.
"I am truly blessed to be the head women's tennis coach at Liberty, and am thankful to Jeff Barber and Meredith Eaker [Senior Woman Administrator] for giving me this opportunity," said Maren. "Combining my love for Christ and my passion for tennis has created a life-long path for me. I look forward to bringing my vision to the Liberty program, so that we can continue to rise to new heights."
Prior to his days at North Texas, Maren taught and managed tennis clubs in Kentucky for nearly two decades, along with beginning a pair of collegiate tennis programs at Brescia University (men's, 1991) and his alma mater Thomas More College (women's, 1988). Maren led Brescia University to a 44-38 record over five seasons, coaching three all-conference athletes and two NAIA national qualifiers at the Owensboro, Ky., school. Maren helped Thomas More College to a 19-17 record in his three years at the NCAA Division II program in Crestview Hills, Ky., coaching three all-conference players during the program's earliest years.
Maren's professional instructing career spans three different clubs during a 17-year timeline. He was the Director of Tennis at Owensboro County Club (1991-95), the Director of Tennis and Fitness at the Executive Racquet Club in Owensboro, Ky. (1991-95) and the Director of Tennis and Fitness at the Country Club of Paducah in Paducah, Ky. (1998-06).
At each club, Maren instructed between 150 and 200 members and was named the "Kentucky Pro of the Year" by the USTA in 2005. Maren has been a United States Professional Tennis Association certified instruction since 1997.
Maren is a 1989 graduate of Thomas More College, where he received an associate's degree in psychology and a bachelor's degree in business administration.
During his days at Thomas More as a player, Maren posted an 81-20 singles record and qualified for the NAIA national championships all four years (1985-89). He was a three-time district champion in both singles and doubles and was nationally ranked as a senior. Maren was honored in 2010 when he was inducted into the Thomas More Athletics Hall of Fame.
After graduation, Maren continued to play in open and professional events and was ranked nationally as high as No. 23 in 2002 in the men's 35 and over singles grouping. He has played tournament tennis every year for the past 27 years.
Maren and his wife of 14 years, Julie, have one son, Zachary.
Giancarlo Lemmi joins first-year head coach Jeff Maren's staff as a graduate assistant coach, while pursuing a degree in secondary education. Lemmi will assist Maren, providing a strong knowledge of Liberty tennis following his four-year playing career for the Flames.
The Sao Paulo, Brazil native helped the Flames total double-digit victories in each of his four seasons with the program—the first such stretch in the program's history. Lemmi helped the Flames accumulate 50 victories in the four-year span.
Lemmi concluded his standout career in 2012, finishing as the Flames' all-time career wins leader in both singles (72) and doubles (79) play. The two-time Big South All-Conference player in doubles also excelled in the classroom, being named to the Big South's Presidential Honor Roll three times, the Big South All-Academic team twice (2011-12) and the VaSID All-Academic team once (2012).
Track & Field/Cross Country (Men's & Women's)
Phone: (434) 582-2135
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Brant Tolsma, the head coach of Liberty’s men’s and women’s cross country and track & field teams, will begin his 30th year coaching the Flames in 2015. During his three decades on campus, Tolsma has led Liberty to an amazing amount of success at the national and conference levels.
Tolsma was first hired at Liberty in 1986 by the Flames' first track & field coach, Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Jake Matthes, to serve as the head men's track & field coach. By 1991, Tolsma had assumed each of the coaching positions he still holds today.
Tolsma, who at the present time primarily coaches the Flames' high jumpers, long jumpers and triple jumpers, has guided Liberty's cross country and track & field squads to 26 out of a possible 36 Big South Conference titles since the start of the 2009-10 academic year. Under Tolsma's guidance, Liberty's cross country and track & field squads have now won 85 Big South championships, seven Mason-Dixon championships and three IC4A team titles for a total of 95 conference crowns.
Tolsma guided Liberty to eight consecutive Big South men's Triple Crowns, as the Flames swept every conference men's cross country, men's indoor track & field and men's outdoor track & field title between fall 2006 and spring 2014. Tolsma and legendary Kansas head coach Bill Easton (1951-59, Big 8 Conference) are the only two coaches ever to lead their teams to eight straight men's Triple Crowns in an NCAA Division I conference.
The 2009-10 athletic year was one of the finest in program history, highlighted by the Big South Conference's first-ever "Double Triple." The unique achievement, which has only been accomplished by 10 different schools in NCAA Division I history, saw the Flames and Lady Flames sweep all six Big South titles (men's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field and women's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field).
Individually, Sam Chelanga closed his career in 2011 with a total of four NCAA national titles, including two apiece in cross country and outdoor track & field. Additionally, Heather (Sagan) Zealand won the mile at the 2002 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships and Josh McDougal was the national champion at the 2007 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Tolsma has been at the helm for each of the Flames' six individual national titles.
Chelanga's performance at the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which included a 5K national championship and a runner-up finish in the 10K, helped Liberty tie for 12th place in the final men's team standings. That is the highest NCAA Division I team finish in program and Big South Conference history in either cross country or track & field.
Tolsma has won 59 Big South Coach of the Year honors and twice was named the NCAA District Coach of the Year. His number of coach of the year recognitions only slightly exceeds the number of NCAA Division I All-Americans he has coached at Liberty. Tolsma's athletes have earned a combined 51 All-America honors since the program moved to the NCAA Division I level in 1989.
Tolsma's student-athletes have also excelled in the classroom during his tenure at Liberty. Ten Liberty cross country/track & field student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors at the Division I level under his guidance, including John Sherret in 2015.
Tolsma's track coaching career began at Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C., where he served as the head men's and women's cross country and track & field coach for seven years (1979-86).
Tolsma completed his undergraduate work with summa cum laude distinction in 1971 at Newark College of Engineering, since renamed New Jersey Institute of Technology. He went on to earn a master's degree in hydraulic engineering from Michigan in 1973 and a Ph.D. in the biomechanics of sport from Indiana in 1979. Tolsma's doctoral dissertation was entitled "Leg Dynamics of Maximum Speed Sprinting."
Tolsma has published several articles about track & field training and in 2001 released a book, The Surrendered Christian Athlete, which expounds the role of the Christian faith in athletics. He has also designed several athletic training devices.
Tolsma has been active as a master's track & field competitor for two decades. He won his age group in the World Double Decathlon Championship in both 2005 and 2010, as well as the Masters National Decathlon Championship in both 1993 and 2003. He placed second at the World Veterans Games decathlon in 1995 and at the 2002 World Double-Decathlon Championship in Finland.
During September 2010 at the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex, Tolsma set the world record for men aged 60 and over in the double decathlon, a two-day, 20-event competition which includes all of the track & field disciplines. In October 2007, Tolsma broke his age group's world record for the one-day double decathlon. Tolsma also set an age group (55-60) world record for the double heptathlon in December 2008, while competing at Liberty's indoor track & field facility bearing his name. He is currently training for a run at the age 65 double decathlon world record in October.
The former president of the International Association of Ultra Multi-events, Tolsma has raced nearly every competitive distance from 50 meters to 50 miles. The latter he did to celebrate reaching age 50, over a decade ago.
Tolsma enjoys a number of sports and fitness activities, especially water-skiing. Nancy, his wife of 40 years, is the mother of his six children: Michelle, who is married to former Liberty tennis player Matthew Schley; Rachel Parker; Brenda, who is married to current Liberty assistant track & field coach Clendon Henderson; Regina Hurst; Joey and Tami, a four-year member of the Liberty women's track & field team who graduated in May 2012. Tolsma also has 11 grandchildren.
Rebekah Ricksecker, a standout during her career on the Liberty women's cross country and track & field teams, is serving as a full-time assistant cross country and track & field coach for the fourth year in 2015-16. She primarily works with the Lady Flames' distance runners.
A year ago, Ricksecker coached two of the Big South’s top women’s distance runners in Jacy Christiansen and Ednah Kurgat. Christiansen captured the women’s individual title at the 2014 Big South Cross Country Championships. Meanwhile, Kurgat was named Big South Indoor and Outdoor Women’s Freshman of the Year. She was the Big South indoor 3K champion and set an indoor program and conference record in the 5K at 16:28.29.
During the 2012 cross country season, the Lady Flames captured the Big South title while placing four runners in the top nine. Jennifer Klugh led the way, winning her third consecutive Big South individual championship. Klugh then went on to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship, becoming the first Lady Flame since 2001 to do so.
Ricksecker worked as a volunteer assistant for the Liberty men's and women's cross country teams in 2011. She helped guide the men's squad to its seventh consecutive Big South team title and the Lady Flames to a Big South runner-up finish.
Ricksecker, who last competed for the Lady Flames during the 2010 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons, graduated as one of the most successful female distance runners in program history. The native of Laurel, Del., finished as a five-time Big South individual champion and a 13-time All-Big South performer in cross country and track & field.
Three of Ricksecker's five individual crowns came during her final year as a Lady Flame (2009-10), playing a key role in Liberty's first-ever men's and women's cross country/track & field Big South Conference "Double Triple."
Ricksecker is the only women's runner in conference history ever to win a trio of 1,500-meter run titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. At the 2010 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, she became the first Lady Flame ever to win both the women's mile and 3K titles at the same conference meet.
Ricksecker owns a pair of school records, in the indoor 4 x 800 relay and outdoor distance medley relay. She earned all-region honors with an 11th-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships. Ricksecker then closed out her collegiate career by running the 1,500 at the 2010 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
Ricksecker was also a standout in the classroom, graduating in 2009 with a 3.95 grade-point average in elementary education. As a result, she earned multiple academic honors. Ricksecker was a three-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection for women's cross country/track & field. She was also the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year for both women's indoor and outdoor track & field in 2010. Ricksecker then graduated with a master's degree in English from Liberty in December 2011.
Ricksecker's younger brother David Ricksecker wrapped up his time on the Liberty men's cross country and track & field teams in 2013, capturing the Big South men's 10K championship as a senior. They are the only brother/sister duo in program history to both earn All-Big South recognition in cross country.
David Cheromei will serve as an assistant cross country and track & field coach for the second season in 2015-16.
Cheromei, who primarily coaches the men’s distance runners, oversaw the development of a youthful squad in 2014-15. Titus Koech placed fourth at the Big South Cross Country Championships and 28th at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships as a freshman.
Cheromei previously served as Liberty's cross country/track & field graduate assistant between 2007-09. During that time, Josh McDougal became the Flames' first NCAA Division I men's cross country national champion in 2007 and Sam Chelanga earned the first three All-America honors of his tenure at Liberty.
Since then, the native of Eldoret, Kenya founded and has been operating the Grace of God Children's Project, along with his wife, Laurel. The non-profit organization provides education, spiritual teaching and basic needs for orphans and needy children in Kenya. The project is currently providing care and education for 17 children in Eldoret.
Cheromei's own competitive career was highlighted by receiving an invitation to compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2008 Kenya Olympic Trials, thanks to a personal-best time of 8:21 that summer. Cheromei finished in the top 20 of an event in which Kenyan athletes have won the gold medal at each of the last eight Olympic Games.
Cheromei won 10 NAIA national titles at Virginia Intermont, including three straight championships in his specialty, the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He became the third runner in the history of the NAIA meet to capture three consecutive steeplechase crowns and set a meet record (8:40.03) as a senior in 2007.
Cheromei also won the 5,000-meter championship at the 2006 and 2007 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, earning the meet's Outstanding Performer honor both seasons.
Cheromei was a part of a Virginia Intermont men's cross country squad which won three straight NAIA national team titles (2004-06). He was the individual national champion in 2006.
Indoors, Cheromei took home the 2005 national title at 5,000 meters and won the 3,000-meter crown in both 2006 and 2007. He was also a part of Virginia Intermont's first-place distance medley relay squad in 2006.
Cheromei opened his collegiate career at Butler Community College in 2004. He won NJCAA indoor national titles in the mile and 5,000 meters and took the outdoor steeplechase crown in his lone year at the institution.
Running seems to be in Cheromei's blood, as his sister Lydia Cheromei finished second at the 2004 World Half Marathon Championships. He is also the cousin of Paul Tergat, former world record holder in the marathon.
Cheromei lives and trains in the Lynchburg area, where he is a known commodity on the local running scene. He won back-to-back Virginia Ten Miler titles in 2007 and 2008, and finished second in his marathon debut at the 2007 Richmond Marathon.
Cheromei earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Virginia Intermont in 2007. He then graduated from Liberty with a master's degree in human services in 2009.
Cheromei and his wife, Laurel, have three children—Lily (5), Levi (3) and Lucy (born in February 2015).
Phone: (434) 582-2907
Fax: (434) 582-2908
Liberty Women’s Basketball Head Coach Carey Green has instilled quite a winning tradition during his tenure with the Lady Flames. His teams have averaged nearly 24 victories per year, while becoming a regular fixture in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
Green has accumulated a 383-128 record in 16 seasons on the Liberty bench, good for a winning percentage of .750. He currently ranks 13th among active NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaches in winning percentage, ahead of renowned coaches like Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell and Maryland’s Brenda Frese.
More importantly, Liberty has won the Big South Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament 13 times with Green as head coach. Liberty has totaled 24 or more victories during 10 of those years, including the 2004-05 season, which saw the Lady Flames reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
Green has actually been to the postseason on 26 occasions (24 NCAA, 2 WNIT) as a women’s basketball coach, a span which includes a dozen years as an assistant coach at Clemson.
Liberty has notched 14 20-win seasons in Green’s 16 years at the helm. He is a five-time Big South Coach of the Year and a four-time Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) State Coach of the Year.
Rebounding has always been a trademark of Green-coached teams, and his squad has ranked No. 1 nationally in rebound margin six times (2003-04, 2004-05, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14) under his leadership. Additionally, the Lady Flames have been listed among the nation’s top 10 teams in rebounding margin for 13 straight years.
Speaking of rebounding, Avery Warley wrapped up her career in 2011-12 as the leading rebounder in Liberty and Big South Conference history with 1,282 rebounds. She then became Liberty’s third WNBA player, making the Phoenix Mercury’s roster as an undrafted free agent.
In 2008-09, Green earned his unprecedented fifth Big South Coach of the Year award, after guiding a team decimated by ACL injuries to a 24-9 record and another Big South title.
At season’s end, Green saw his second player selected in the WNBA Draft, as Megan Frazee was taken in the second round by the San Antonio Silver Stars. She then played part of her rookie season alongside 2005 Liberty alum Katie (Feenstra) Mattera in San Antonio.
In 2007-08, Green led the Lady Flames to one of the best seasons in program history. Liberty tied a school record for victories, finishing the year 28-4. Along the way, the Lady Flames captured three tournament titles—the National City Xavier Invitational, the UNLV Lady Rebel Christmas Classic and the Big South Championship.
The 2005-06 season represented one of the best coaching jobs of Green’s career. The Lady Flames had lost the top four scorers from the previous year’s Sweet 16 squad to graduation. Moreover, freshman Megan Frazee averaged 18.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game through the first 14 games of her collegiate career, only to be lost for the remainder of the season due to injury. Yet, Liberty was still able to win 25 games, capture its 10th straight Big South title and earn its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.
Green’s efforts were recognized by both the Big South Conference and VaSID. Both groups named Green as their women’s basketball coach of the year at season’s end. It marked Green’s second straight selection as VaSID Coach of the Year.
A key late-season conference victory over High Point in 2006 made Green the winningest coach in Big South Conference history. He is also Liberty’s career wins leader.
The 2004-05 year was a special one on Liberty Mountain, for many reasons. A senior-laden Lady Flames team recorded upset wins over No. 4 seed Penn State (78-70) and No. 5 seed DePaul (88-79) in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, becoming just the second team ever to advance to the Sweet 16 as a No. 13 seed. The Lady Flames ended the season with their highest national ranking to date, 21st (USA Today/ESPN).
Even with all his accolades, Green is not yet satisfied. The native of Louisville, Tenn., located just outside of Knoxville, knows there’s work yet to be done with the Lady Flames.
“We have some tremendous challenges ahead of us and I believe the team will be up to those challenges,” Green said. “I am pleased with the direction and progress of our program but of course, I, as well as the team, have higher aspirations, goals and expectations.”
Green’s track record shows he has the ability to meet those challenges. The Lady Flames have recorded two wins apiece over Penn State, UNLV, Virginia and West Virginia and solo victories over No. 19 DePaul, No. 17 Kansas State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest during Green’s tenure. The upset victory over No. 25 Virginia in 2002 marked Liberty’s first win over a Top 25 team.
His record against conference foes is equally impressive. He led the Lady Flames on a Big South-record 57-game winning streak versus league opponents (Jan. 24, 2002 through Feb. 21, 2005) and currently owns a .898 (263-30) winning percentage against conference teams. Green has marched through Big South Conference play with one or fewer setbacks eight times, while guiding the Lady Flames to two undefeated conference seasons.
The Lady Flames have not only gotten the job done on the hardwood under Green’s tutelage, but have also excelled in the classroom. Liberty has ranked in the top 15 nationally for team GPA four times during Green’s 15 seasons at the helm. Liberty was 13th during his first season (1999-2000), tied for 14th in 2005-06, a program-best seventh in 2006-07 and 14th in 2007-08.
When Green came to Liberty, he was faced with a daunting task in his first year as a Division I head coach. Taking over the reins of a program with three consecutive conference crowns in its trophy case, Green’s role became the hunted rather than the hunter. Beginning with his arrival on June 8, 1999, Green took on the role as the favorite and accomplished what no Big South Conference school had ever done, taking Liberty to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Green arrived at Liberty after spending 12 years as an assistant at Clemson. While with the Tigers, Green participated in 11 NCAA Tournaments, making four Sweet 16 appearances and one trip to the Elite Eight, in 1991.
The Tigers were ranked in the Top 25 during 10 of his 12 years and averaged 22 wins per season. Green had an immediate impact in his first season, as he helped guide Clemson to the ACC's best turnaround in league history. The Tigers posted a 21-7 record in 1988 after a 7-21 record the previous season.
Clemson made five appearances in the ACC Tournament championship game with Green’s assistance, winning the title during the 1995-96 and 1998-99 seasons. He helped coach 15 all-conference players, four Kodak All-District performers and one Kodak All-American. Clemson also recorded 45 wins over Top 25 programs during the 12 seasons Green was stationed at “Death Valley.”
Prior to his days at Clemson, Green was the head men’s and women’s basketball coach at Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tenn., for three seasons. In 1986, he was named the Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association Coach of the Year.
From 1982 to 1984, Green was the head women’s basketball coach at Rockwood High School after serving as the head men’s basketball coach at Coalfield High School the previous season. Green got his coaching start as assistant men’s and women’s basketball coach at Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tenn., from 1979 to 1981.
“The reason we are here at Liberty is to develop not only a winning tradition at the national level, but champions in all areas of life,” Green remarked. “I am so excited to observe our players’ development and achievements. I am thrilled our team’s GPA regularly ranks among the nation’s leaders. This is evidence of our goal to have a ‘whole program,’ neglecting no area of our players’ development.
“My personal goal is a ‘50-year program,’ one that develops women of excellence who impact the world for the next 50 years,” continued Green. “It’s exciting because our entire Liberty family assists me with that same goal. The University is growing, as is our basketball program, and I am excited to be here during this growth period.
"I hope to fulfill the dream and the vision that both Dr. Falwell and our current administration have shared with me,” Green summarized. “They want our University to be THE Division I NCAA Christian University everyone looks toward in the United States. In my opinion, that means we need to be a Top 20 team. In order to do that, I believe we need to continue to find the many quality student-athletes who are out there playing and bring them to our campus. Once they visit our campus, they will experience the excitement and enthusiasm here at Liberty University."
Green leaves little doubt that he, his staff and the players will be striving for excellence on and off the basketball court.
He and his wife, Denise, reside in the Lynchburg area and have two children, Angie and Brian. Angie is married to Jason Grunkemeyer, a men’s basketball assistant coach at Ball State, and the couple has two children, Joshua David, who will turn eight during the 2015-16 season, and Nathan Jason, who will celebrate his sixth birthday this season.
Brian is a project manager at Fluor Corporation, in Greenville, S.C. He and his wife, Susan, have two sons. Connor Allen will turn two this season and Bryson Harley was just born in July 2015.
Alexis Sherard is in his ninth season as an assistant coach on the Lady Flames’ coaching staff. He serves as the team’s recruiting coordinator and assists with game strategies and player development.
Sherard has earned Big South championship rings during six of his first eight years with the Lady Flames. Liberty has averaged 24.8 wins per season over the past eight seasons, making six NCAA Tournament appearances and one trip to the Postseason WNIT Tournament.
Sherard, who coaches the Lady Flames’ post players, oversaw the development of 2012 graduate Avery Warley. She graduated as the leading rebounder in Liberty and Big South Conference history and then began a WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury in 2012. Additionally, Liberty has led the nation in rebound margin four times (2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14) during Sherard’s tenure with the Lady Flames.
Sherard joined the Lady Flames’ staff after spending the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons working as an assistant for the Liberty men’s basketball team. He also served as the Flames’ director of recruiting and aided in post player development.
“Being part of Coach Green's program has been a great experience,” stated Sherard. “The Lady Flames and Liberty University truly train Champions for Christ. I'm blessed to be part of this winning tradition.”
Sherard came to Liberty after six years of service on Pete Gillen’s men’s basketball staff at Virginia. Sherard joined the Cavaliers’ program in 1999 as the director of basketball operations, serving in this capacity from 1999 to 2002, as well as the 2003-04 season.
During the 2002-03 and 2004-05 seasons, Sherard served as an assistant coach, where he aided in Virginia’s recruiting efforts, while assisting in practice planning, game preparation, bench coaching and opponent scouting. Sherard helped guide the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament in 2001, as Virginia finished the season with a 20-9 record and was ranked as high as No. 6 in the country. He was also a part of two Cavalier squads which qualified for the NIT Tournament (2000 and 2002). The 2002 squad finished fourth in the event.
Sherard got his coaching career started at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., where he served as an assistant coach from 1993 to 1995. He assisted the head coach in practice preparation, skill instruction and recruiting. During the 1995-96 campaign, Sherard served as the head boys varsity basketball coach and Dean of Admissions at Lakewood Prep School in Howell, N.J., where he led his team to a 15-7 record and the semifinals of the playoffs.
From 1996-98, Sherard was the administrative assistant at Providence, where he helped guide the Friars to the NIT in 1998 with an 18-12 record and to the “Elite Eight” round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, as Providence finished the season with a 24-12 overall record.
Prior to joining the staff at Virginia, Sherard served as the assistant coach at Binghamton during the 1998-99 season and was responsible for the Bearcats’ recruiting efforts throughout the East Coast.
“Alexis quickly surpassed our expectations and established himself as an outstanding addition to our staff,” Green exclaimed. “He is a great recruiter because he really cares about the players. He also possesses a thorough knowledge of the game of basketball and is a tremendous asset in the development of game strategies. Furthermore, we are most excited about Alexis’ character and values.”
Sherard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education from Saint Michael’s in 1993. A member of the Purple Knights basketball team, he was selected to the Northeast 10 Conference All-Defensive team during his junior and senior seasons.
Sherard, who received his master’s degree in guidance from Providence in 1998, is a native of Lakewood, N.J., and has two children – Iyana (10) and Elijah (9).
Andrea “Andy” Bloodworth begins her ninth year as an assistant on the Liberty women’s basketball coaching staff. Her responsibilities with the Lady Flames include recruiting, development of the team’s perimeter players, scouting and assisting with the organization of summer basketball camps.
Liberty has claimed Big South titles during six of Bloodworth’s first eight seasons on Liberty Mountain, tallying a 198-64 record in the process.
"It has been a privilege to be a member of the Lady Flames coaching staff the last eight years,” stated Bloodworth. “We have a tremendous group of young women who are committed to carrying on the tradition of excellence that has been established. Coach Green is a proven winner and it’s a blessing to work with such strong role models who live out their faith daily. I’m eager to face the challenges and celebrate the triumphs God has planned for us this year.”
Bloodworth previously served as recruiting coordinator for the Valparaiso women’s basketball team for two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07), working with the Crusaders’ perimeter players and assisting with scouting. The team went 36-24 during her two seasons as part of the coaching staff, including a 20-win season in 2006-07. Six Crusaders earned All-Mid-Continent Conference recognition during those two seasons.
Prior to her time at Valparaiso, Bloodworth worked for three years on the Gannon women’s basketball coaching staff. As an assistant coach, she served as the Golden Knights’ recruiting coordinator. Bloodworth also helped develop guard play, coordinated team travel arrangements and assisted with scouting. She was the staff’s academic monitor and the team camp coordinator for a squad which won 37 games during her final two seasons and reached the 2005 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title game.
Bloodworth spent the 2000-01 and 2001-02 campaigns as an assistant coach and physical education instructor at Armstrong Atlantic State, under head coach Roger Hodge, himself a Liberty assistant coach from 1997-2000. She helped recruit a class of players which posted a 27-4 record in 2002-03, marking the best single-season turnaround in the NCAA that season (15 games) and qualifying for the postseason for the first time in school history.
Bloodworth’s resume also contains a stint as an assistant coach for an Athletes in Action Fall Tour team which played exhibition games around the Midwest in 1999. She was additionally an assistant for the Lake Michigan Community College women’s basketball team which placed sixth at the 2000 NJCAA Division II national championships.
Bloodworth got her start in college coaching as an assistant for the 1998-99 Ferris State women’s basketball team. The team’s head coach was her sister, Tracey Dorow, who is now the head women’s basketball coach at Valparaiso.
Her father, Rick Bloodworth, retired in 2006 from a long coaching career, which included 31 years as the head girls’ basketball coach at St. Joseph High School in Michigan and 19 years as the head women’s basketball coach at Lake Michigan College.
Bloodworth’s playing career at Calvin College included a pair of trips to the NCAA Division III regional tournament. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Calvin in 1998.
“Andy came to Liberty from a deep-rooted basketball family background, which includes a father and older sister who are both coaches and have had a tremendous amount of influence in shaping her love for the game,” remarked head coach Carey Green. “Her energy and enthusiasm made an immediate positive impact on our program. She has established herself as an excellent role model by the caring love she has exhibited to the players.”
Bloodworth became an aunt for the first time when Lainie Joy Dorow was born in February 2009 and now has a nephew, Baxter, as well. She resides in Lynchburg with her dog, Honey.
Just over three months after wrapping up her playing career for the Lady Flames, Brittany Hoyt was hired as an assistant coach on head coach Carey Green’s staff. Now beginning her third season as an assistant coach, the former Brittany Campbell is the first former Lady Flame to coach at her alma mater since Tiffany Ratcliff in 1998-99.
During her first two seasons on staff, Hoyt has helped Liberty continue its tradition of success. The Lady Flames have recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons and swept the 2015 Big South regular-season and tournament titles.
Despite being limited to 64 total appearances by injuries during her five seasons on the team (2008-09 through 2012-13), Hoyt was looked up to as a leader by her teammates. She served as a rare four-year team captain, helping lead the Lady Flames to a 124-42 record during her career.
Hoyt finished her career with her best season as a redshirt senior in 2012-13, starting all 34 games for the Big South champion Lady Flames. She averaged 5.7 ppg and shot a team-best 43.2 percent (38-of-88) from three-point range.
The native of nearby Rustburg, Va., posted 10.0 ppg and shot 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from beyond the three-point arc, helping Liberty capture the 2013 Big South Championship title. As a result, Hoyt was named to the Big South All-Tournament team.
Hoyt also earned a spot on the Big South All-Academic team as a redshirt senior, as well as her fifth consecutive appearance on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in May 2011 and completed her master’s degree in professional counseling in December 2013.
Hoyt is married to former Liberty men’s basketball player Tanner Hoyt, with the couple’s wedding taking place in June 2014.
Sarah Boruta is in her fifth season on the Liberty women’s basketball staff as director of operations. In that role, she is responsible for the daily operations of the program, including the logistics of budget, game-day management, coordination of managers’ duties, team travel arrangements, scheduling of games, equipment coordination and creative video.
Boruta serves as director for the Lady Flames’ summer camps, which have seen a 500 percent increase in campers since her arrival at Liberty. She also oversees the team’s outreach activities, including postgame clinics and community service events, such as the Reading Buddies program and Best Field Trip Ever Day.
Additionally, Boruta has been tasked by Athletic Director Jeff Barber to assist the athletic department in the area of video and technology. In this role, Boruta oversees all sports’ video and technology by serving as a liaison between coaches, administrators, and Information Technology, with the goal of improving the efficiency of each team’s video and technology workflow and resources. She also serves as a resource for coaches by teaching them how to best utilize their software and being available to answer questions and troubleshoot any issues.
Boruta is an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and has presented at both organizations’ conventions. She currently serves on the NACWAA Awards Committee, is a 2015 graduate of the NACWAA Institute for Administrative Advancement (IAA), and was nominated for the Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award that NACWAA presents each year to an athletics administrator below the senior ranking level who is committed to providing high-level leadership and guidance within intercollegiate athletics, goes beyond the call of duty, and provides outstanding service to their organization.
Before arriving at Liberty, Boruta spent three years (2008-09 through 2009-11) at Stanford, where she was promoted from video intern to director of basketball marketing and video. She also previously spent three years (2005-06 through 2007-08) as the director of women’s basketball operations at Ferris State.
“We are excited to have someone with such character as Sarah who is driven to honor God with the skills and talents she has been given,” added Green. “She has established herself as an excellent worker, serving those around her in an exceptional way.”
Boruta served in many different roles at Stanford, including coordinating team travel and video exchange. She also spearheaded the team’s social media efforts, as well as the Cardinal’s game-day promotions and group events. While Boruta was at Stanford, the Cardinal saw an 18 percent increase in overall attendance and a 340 percent increase in student attendance.
At Ferris State, Boruta organized the Bulldogs’ summer camps and clinics, while coordinating video exchange. She also designed marketing and promotional materials for the team.
Boruta has worked with some successful teams, including three straight Stanford squads which reached the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. The 2009-10 Cardinal finished as national runner-up. Additionally, the 2006-07 Ferris State team won a school-record 23 games and advanced to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship’s Sweet 16 round.
Boruta owns a trio of degrees, including both an associate’s degree in visual design and web media (2006) and a bachelor’s degree in graphic design (2008) from Ferris State. She went on to earn a master’s degree in sport management from California (Pa.) in 2010 and is currently working toward an MBA at Liberty.
Katie Garlick is in her sixth year serving as the Lady Flames’ office administrator. In this role, she is responsible for a number of duties, including the team’s budget, intercampus relations and Coach Green’s daily schedule.
Garlick attended Liberty as an undergraduate, serving as an English tutor and holding membership in Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society). She graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in social science.
Garlick then served two years as an administrative assistant in Liberty’s Office of Student Leadership, before joining the Lady Flames’ staff in August 2010.
“Growing up, athletics was a major part of my life, as my dad coached my teams,” noted Garlick. “I love athletics and am thrilled to be involved with the women’s basketball team. This is an exciting place to work, and I am surrounded by a great coaching staff and a wonderful group of players.”
Joyous Tharrington has returned to her hometown of Lynchburg to serve as the Lady Flames’ graduate assistant, and begins her second year in that role in 2015-16.
Tharrington played two seasons at Richmond (2008-09 and 2009-10) before transferring to George Mason for her final two campaigns (2011-12 and 2012-13). She was a team captain during each of her years at George Mason and was the co-founder of the campus Athletes in Action group there.
Tharrington was a teammate of Liberty assistant coach Brittany Hoyt at Brookville High School, where the duo helped the Bees win four straight girls’ basketball district titles. She graduated in 2008 as the leading scorer (1,350 career points) and rebounder (811 career boards) in school history.
Tharrington maintained a GPA of 3.7 or higher throughout her undergraduate studies, while earning a pair of bachelor’s degrees from George Mason. She completed a degree in psychology in 2012 before graduating with a degree in sociology in 2013. Tharrington made both the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State team and the CAA All-Academic first team during her final season at George Mason.
Tharrington is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human services counseling (marriage and family cognate) at Liberty.
Phone: (434) 582-2564
Fax: (434) 582-2076
Kelly Nangle was named the second head coach in the history of Liberty's women's lacrosse program on June 21, 2013.
Nangle has spent the last two seasons at Central Connecticut State, helping the Blue Devils reach new heights during her two years in New Britain, Conn. She posted a 16-18 overall record and a 12-6 mark in Northeast Conference action.
Two years ago, Nangle helped Central Connecticut State tie a program record with seven victories, while setting new program standards with five NEC victories and six home wins. Nangle was recognized for her efforts, as she was named the 2012 NEC Coach of the Year and her senior keeper Erin DeLancey was selected the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year.
This past season, Nangle's squad finished second in the NEC with a 7-2 conference record. The Blue Devils made their first-ever appearance in the NEC Championship, advancing to the semifinal round.
Central Connecticut State posted a 9-9 overall record in 2012, surpassing the previous school record for overall wins. Six of Nangle's players earned All-NEC honors, which dramatically increased the program's record for all-conference honorees. Central Connecticut State had 11 total previous all-conference honorees in program history.
Prior to her head coaching position at Central Connecticut State, Nangle spent three years as an assistant coach at Rutgers (2009-11). She oversaw the Scarlet Knights' defense, while assisting with recruiting efforts and overseeing Rutgers team academics.
Rutgers posted a 27-21 record during her three seasons in Piscataway, N.J., maintaining a presence in the national rankings each year. The Scarlett Knights' defense improved each season under Nangle, spotlighted by a second-place finish in goals against average in the Big East during her final season with the program (9.06 in 2011).
In 2008, Nangle served as the head coach at St. John's Catholic Prep in Frederick, Md. She helped the Vikings increase their win total by four times during her once season, as St. John's Catholic was winless the year prior to her arrival. Two of her players earned all-conference honors, while two additional players received all-county recognition.
Nangle got her start in coaching at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., as a volunteer assistant coach in 2007. During her one year on staff with her alma mater, she worked specifically with The Mount's defensive units.
Nangle graduated from Mount St. Mary's in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in business with a marketing concentration.
During her time on the field with the Mountaineers, Nangle was a four-time All-NEC selection, including first-team honors one year.
The standout defender currently ranks second in Mount St. Mary's history in career ground balls (204), fourth in caused turnovers (116) and 16th in draw controls (65).
Following her senior season, Nangle was selected to play in the Division I North/South All-Star Game.
Nangle was the recipient of the John M. Kolon award, given to a Mount St. Mary's student-athlete who embodies hard work and dedication and has earned the respect and admiration of fellow athletes and coaches.
Nangle was also a member of Mount St. Mary's "40 for 40" class, a distinguished group of former female student-athletes that have left their mark with The Mount, as well as following graduation.
During her time at Mount St. Mary's, Nangle was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Captain Leadership Board.
In addition to her collegiate involvement in lacrosse, Nangle has served as the head coach at Ultimate NJ and Girls Club teams.
She has also worked numerous camps and clinics, including Maximum Exposure Lacrosse (2010-present), C2 Lacrosse Camp (2002-05), Rapid Fire Lacrosse Camp (2006) and Top215 (2012-present).
Liberty lacrosse head coach Kelly Nangle announced the hiring of Meghan Harkey as an assistant coach on Aug. 23, 2013, rounding out the first-year coach's staff. Harkey, who spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant under former head coach Regan Denham, will now be a full-time member of the Liberty coaching staff.
In 2013, Harkey helped guide the Lady Flames to their highest win total (8) in program history. Liberty notched a 4-3 record in conference play, reaching the semifinals of the inaugural Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship. A quartet of players earned postseason conference honors, including Jen Freymond who was tabbed to the first team.
A native of Purcellville, Va., Harkey competed collegiately for four seasons at Christopher Newport while earning her degree in communication studies. She earned a variety of accolades as a CNU Captain, beginning with the honor of USA South Conference Rookie of the Year in 2008. She also garnered USA South first team all-conference and USA South All-Tournament team honors in 2008, and repeated the selections each of the next three seasons.
Harkey added second team all-region honors to her list of awards in 2010 and 2011 and served as team captain in 2011. She left her mark on CNU's record books, ending her career as the program leader in points (343) and assists (149). During her junior campaign, she posted the program record for points in a season with 105 (59 goals, 46 assists).
Phone: (434) 582-2768
Fax: (434) 582-2205
On July 2, 2008, Jessica Hain was named the sixth head women's soccer coach of the Liberty Lady Flames' soccer program.
During her second year at Liberty in 2009, Hain's squad experienced one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in program history, capturing the Big South regular-season title and closing out the year with a 9-7-3 record (6-1-2 BSC). As a result of her team's performance during the regular season, Hain earned Big South Coach of the Year Honors.
Hain came to Liberty after three seasons with the Charlotte Lady Eagles of the United States (USL) W-League, the premier women's soccer league in the United States, as an assistant to head coach Lee Horton. With the club, Hain was responsible for recruiting players for the team, implementing training sessions, running camps and clinics and coaching, training and teaching sports ministry, both in the United States and in Brazil.
In final season in Charlotte, Hain helped the Lady Eagles to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division standings and into the Eastern Conference playoffs with an 11-2-1 mark. The squad's roster included former Liberty standout goalkeeper Sonia Rodriguez, who was a Lady Flame from 2001-05.
The year prior, Hain was the head coach of the W-League's Carolina Dynamo. She was the youngest and only female coach in the Atlantic Division.
Hain also has coached internationally. While serving as a missionary in Brazil, she was the co-head coach of the Cotia Women's Professional Soccer team based in Sao Paulo in 2007. The team played both outdoors and futsal, five-a-side soccer played indoors.
From 2004-06, Hain was an assistant coach under Todd Bramble at Clemson. Each of her three seasons with the Lady Tigers, Clemson received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in her final season in 2006. In her three seasons at Clemson, the Lady Tigers recorded a 40-25-9 mark.
Hain began her coaching career at Delaware in 2001, serving as an assistant until 2003, when she became an assistant at Creighton for one season.
She has been both a staff coach and state coach in the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Hain was a coach with the New Jersey ODP Under-17 Girls State team from 2002-03 and was both a staff and state coach with the Nebraska state program from 2003-04.
During her time with the Nebraska program, she was a staff coach with the Region II ODP, identifying top youth players from within a 12-state region, and coached the Nebraska ODP U-17 Girls state team.
Hain graduated cum laude from N.C. State with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1999. She also received a master's degree in educational leadership at Delaware in 2003.
A four-year letterwinner in the collegiate ranks, Hain played two years in the midfield at Ohio State (1995-96) and two seasons at N.C. State (1997-98). She was a three-time National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) of America Scholar-Athlete from 1995-97 and earned Academic All-ACC honors in 1998.
She competed at the semi-professional level in the W-League from 1996-2002 for the Charlotte Speed, Raleigh Wings and New Jersey Wildcats.
A native of High Point, N.C., Hain is married to Frank Hain and the couple resides in Lynchburg with their son, Samuel.
Adam Godwin joins Jessica Hain's staff for the 2013 season, returning to a familiar program as an assistant coach. Godwin begins his second stint as an assistant women's soccer coach after serving five years as a member of the Liberty Flames football program's support staff.
Upon rejoining the women's soccer program, Godwin brings with him 12 years of involvement with Liberty athletics as a student-athlete, alumnus, support staff member and an assistant coach.
During his stint with the football program as the Assistant Director of Operations and Recruiting, Godwin worked closely with the coaching staff across all areas of recruiting, while assisting Paul Rutigliano, Assistant AD for Football Operations, in the day-to-day operations of the program.
Godwin previously served as an assistant coach with Liberty's women's soccer program for two years (2006-07). In his duties, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of the program, recruiting, supporting the academic and compliance staff and fundraising through the Flames Club.
Godwin was responsible for recruiting the top ranked recruiting class in 2008 among Big South programs as named by SoccerBuzz.com. He helped the program achieve an APR score that ranked within the top five percent of all NCAA women's soccer programs and coached six all-conference selections.
As a student-athlete, Godwin made 70 appearances for the Flames men's soccer program, helping them to the Big South championship game in 2001. The defender scored one goal and tallied four assists during his four-year career (2001-04).
During his senior year, Godwin served as a team captain and earned Big South first team all-conference honors, as well as Big South all-tournament and VaSID second team all-state distinctions.
Godwin's performances for Liberty during his final year helped him earn an invitation to try out for Great Britain's U23 team, as well as professionally with Cheltenham Town Football Club in his hometown of Hereford, England. Godwin also served as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) president during his senior year at Liberty.
Upon graduating from Liberty in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in sport management, Godwin took up a position with sport hospitality giant THG Worldwide, as an International Account Executive, generating $87,000 in sales during his nine months with the company.
THG Worldwide provides sports hospitality for some of the world's largest companies to events, such as the Super Bowl, Masters, World Cup and Olympic Games. Headquartered in London, England, the company holds 50 offices in 34 different countries.
Adam and his wife, Morgaine, who works in the Academic Affairs for Athletics office, currently reside in the Lynchburg area.
Liberty Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jessica Hain has announced the addition of Kristin Eggert to the Lady Flames coaching staff. Eggert, who was selected 2015 Rising Star by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, brings a strong foundation of international and collegiate coaching experience to the program.
“Kristin is a clear Champion for Christ,” Hain stated. “With many other great opportunities to choose from, it was evident to Kristin that the Lord was calling her to Liberty University. She has a wealth of experiences both as a coach and a player. Her confidence, joy and faith in God is contagious. We are looking forward to what the Lord will unfold with this group of women’s soccer players, coaches and support staff, as I have no doubt that His plan is immeasurably greater than all we can ask or imagine.”
"This is an exciting time to join the Flames Family and I am thankful the Lord directed my steps here,” Eggert said. “I am grateful to Coach Hain and the athletics department for the opportunity to be a part of the women's soccer program."
Eggert makes her way to Liberty after serving as an assistant coach of the Haitian Women’s National Team for the past three years. During her time with the program, Eggert was instrumental in helping guide the U-17 team to its first ever CONCACAF Championship point with a 1-1 draw versus tournament champion Mexico.
The following year, the national team participated in the Caribbean Cup, grabbing third place with a 4-1 record. The Haitian squad also went 2-0 in the Caribbean qualifiers, winning its respective group without allowing a single goal. Haiti finished the year with an international record of 6-5-1.
Along with her international coaching experience, Eggert was also an assistant women’s soccer coach at Carthage during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After a tough 2012 campaign, the Lady Reds turned things around in 2013, going 13-5-1 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Carthage reached the championship game of the CCIW tournament after advancing past No. 20 Illinois Wesleyan on penalty kicks in the semifinals.
Prior to her coaching stints, Eggert played professionally in Norway in 2010 and 2011. She competed on the 2010 Donn Toppfotball team in Norway's Toppserien (the highest level of women's soccer in Norway). The following year, Eggert joined Amazon Grimstad FK and helped the team achieve its best Toppserien finish in club history.
A native of Glen Ellyn, Ill., Eggert attended Wheaton College (Ill.). She was a goalkeeper for the Thunder's 2004-07 soccer teams and played on three NCAA Division III national-championship squads, including back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. She was twice named to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship all-tournament team, and she also set a postseason record for not allowing a single goal in NCAA tournament play. Eggert graduated from Wheaton (Ill.) in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in biblical studies.
Women's Swimming & Diving
Phone: (434) 582-2387
Fax: (434) 582-2076
Liberty University Director of Athletics Jeff Barber announced the hiring of Jake Shellenberger as the department's first-ever head women's swimming coach on July 29, 2009. Since that time, Shellenberger has set about building the Lady Flames into a strong contender in the pool.
Shellenberger has posted a 55-21 dual-meet record, leading the Lady Flames to one CCSA title (2014) and three conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2015) to date.
In just the fourth year in program history, Shellenberger coached the Lady Flames to the 2014 CCSA Championship title, holding off five-time defending champion Florida Gulf Coast, 732.5 to 718.5. During the 2014 conference meet, the Lady Flames recorded 18 podium finishes, nine B cuts, one A cut (200 medley relay), six CCSA records, six meet records and 16 program records.
During the 2013-14 season, Liberty was ranked as highly as 13th in the College Swimming.com Mid-Major Ranking, while making it to 48th in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com National Rankings.
Liberty placed 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving National Championships, making its third straight NCAA nationals appearance. Sophomore Jess Reinhardt became Liberty's highest-placing individual at nationals, finishing 10th in the 100 fly in a CCSA-record time of 51.72.
Shellenberger has earned two CCSA Swimming Coach of the Year honors, including 2012 (conference runner-up finish) and 2014 (conference championship).
Liberty posted its second runner-up finish in a row, taking second place at the 2013 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships. The Lady Flames earned their first national ranking in program history during the 2012-13 season, being ranked No. 37 in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25.
During Liberty's second year as a program, the team earned its first All-America honor, as Brye Ravettine placed 13th in the 50 free at the 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships. Ravettine was also named 2012 CCSA Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet.
Ravettine was listed on the Mid-Major All-America list by CollegeSwimming.com during 2011 and 2012, while Cori Gary was named to the honorable mention team in 2012. In addition, the 2011-12 recruiting class received mention on CollegeSwimming.com.
The Lady Flames have also competed on the national stage, including USA Swimming Nationals and Winter Nationals, in addition to the Olympic Trials. Ravettine placed 17th in the 50-meter free at the 2011 USA Swimming Winter National Championships, qualifying her for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Ravettine, Laura Day and Reinhardt all competed in Olympic Trials during 2012. Most recently, Emilie Kaufman and Day qualified for finals in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Open, with Kaufman taking 13th place overall.
Prior to joining the Liberty staff, Shellenberger served as an assistant coach on Penn State's men's and women's swimming and diving coaching staff. During his three-year stint with the Nittany Lions, Shellenberger worked primarily with Penn State's male and female sprinters.
While at Penn State, Shellenberger instructed 15 NCAA qualifiers, 13 school record holders, eight NCAA All-America honorable-mention performers, two Olympic Trials finalists, two NCAA All-Americans and the Nittany Lions' first-ever individual national champion (Pat Schirk/2008 national champion in the men's 200 backstroke).
Besides writing and directing Penn State's dryland and yearly plyometric and strength programs, Shellenberger focused on the Nittany Lions' recruiting efforts. His first recruiting class at Penn State was ranked No. 21 nationally by CollegeSwimming.com, while his second was listed at No. 15.
During the summer of 2007, Shellenberger served as a volunteer assistant coach at Arizona, where he worked under Arizona head coach and USA Olympic coach Frank Busch and Rick DeMont, the Wildcats' world-renowned sprint coach.
Prior to his days at Penn State and Arizona, Shellenberger got his collegiate coaching start as the head women's swimming coach at Millersville University in 2006. He also gained valuable coaching experience as an assistant coach under Pete Clark at the Trident Swim Club in Lancaster, Pa., and as an assistant coach under Donnie Miller at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.
Shellenberger graduated from Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Arts in history in December 2005, while receiving a minor in coaching. He was a four-year member of the Raiders' swimming program, captaining the team during the 2004-05 season.
Shellenberger is a former certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a current member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Swimming Coaches Association, and the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
During the summer of 2012, Shellenberger married the former Lorin Milotta, and the couple resides in Forest, Va.
In 5 years of program history
• Two-time CCSA Coach of the Year (2012, 2014)
• 1 CCSA Conference title (2014)
• 3 CCSA Conference Runner-up finishes
• 55–21 Dual Meet Record
• 12 CCSA Individual Championships
• 6 CCSA Relay Champions
• 9 CCSA Conference Records (5 individual, 4 relay)
• 10 CCSA Conference Meet Records (6 individual, 4 relay)
• 3 NCAA Championship Appearances
• 2 NCAA All-Americans
• 3 CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-Americans
• 1 CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Year
• 1 CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Meet
• 2 CCSA Women's Freshmen of the Meet
• 14 CCSA Swimmer of the Week Honors
• 8 CSCAA Team Scholar All-American Awards
• 13 CSCAA Scholar All-America Individual Awards
• 1 VaSID Academic All-State Mention
• 1 US Olympic Trials appearance (2012)
• 2 USA Swimming National scoring performances (2012 Winter Nationals, 2013 US Open)
Jessica Barnes joined the Liberty staff as an assistant swimming coach, becoming the first assistant coach in program history, as the 2010-11 women's swimming team completed its inaugural campaign.
Barnes has been instrumental in recruiting and training. The recruiting class for 2011-12 received mention from CollegeSwimming.com for deepening its talent pool with a large class.
During her time at Liberty, the Lady Flames have posted a 55-21 dual meet record. Additionally, Liberty has won one CCSA title in 2014 and posted three conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2015).
Liberty's strong recruiting and training helped the Lady Flames win their first-ever CCSA title in 2014. During the 2014 conference meet, the Lady Flames recorded 18 podium finishes, nine B cuts, one A cut (200 medley relay), six CCSA records, six meet records and 16 program records at the conference championship meet.
Liberty then went on to place 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, as Jess Reinhardt placed 10th in the 100 fly in a CCSA-record 51.72.
During her first season, she helped lead the Lady Flames to a 7-9 overall record and a sixth-place finish at the CCSA Championships. Liberty followed up with a 12-2 record in 2011-12, improving to second place at the conference meet. The Liberty coaching staff was honored when head coach Jake Shellenberger was named 2012 CCSA Swimming Coach of the Year.
The 2012-13 edition of the Lady Flames followed up with another second-place finish at the conference meet. The Lady Flames earned their first national ranking in program history during the season, being ranked No. 37 in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25.
Brye Ravettine earned CCSA Co-Freshman of the Meet and Mid-Major All-America honorable mention honors in 2011. Ravettine, along with Bethany Wakeley, earned qualifying times for the 2011 USA Swimming National Championships.
In 2012, Ravettine was named CCSA Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet, and became Liberty's first swimming All-American and first Lady Flame to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in swimming.
Barnes, who won two Big Ten team titles as an athlete for Penn State, came to Liberty from Rutgers, where she served as an assistant coach. During her time with the Scarlet Knights, she coordinated all aspects of recruiting and developed a training plan for the sprinters. Her 2010 recruiting class at Rutgers earned honorable mention status from CollegeSwimming.com.
Prior to coaching at Rutgers, Barnes worked as an assistant high school swim coach for the State College Area School District in State College, Pa. While there, she designed and implemented a training program for sprinters, and coached the third-place finisher in the 50-freestyle event at the 2009 PIAA State Championship meet.
As a competitive swimmer, Barnes was a two-time honorable mention All-American in the 800 freestyle relay, a two-time NCAA Academic All-American and a three-time Big Ten Academic all-conference member. She was also a Big Ten second team selection for the 800 freestyle relay in 2006, and won the Nittany Lion Award for Most Improved in 2007.
Barnes earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Penn State in 2007, where she was a seven-time Dean's List honoree. In May 2012, she received a Master of Education - Teaching and Learning in Special Education from Liberty.
Bert Locklin joined the Liberty swimming & diving coaching staff in August 2015, and currently serves as the team’s diving coach. Locklin, Liberty’s Associate Athletics Director of Compliance since September 2012, brings a wealth of diving experience to the program.
Prior to his time in compliance, Locklin spent four seasons (2002-06) as head men’s and women’s diving coach at Virginia Tech. Locklin also served on the Advisory Board for the Christiansburg Aquatic Center from 2008-11.
Locklin was an All-American diver at Nebraska, finishing seventh in men’s three-meter diving at the 1998 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. He was also named a team captain and SAAC representative.
In his role as Liberty’s Associate Athletics Director of Compliance, Locklin serves as the liaison between the university and NCAA as well as the Big South Conference. He is responsible for supervising the compliance team that is tasked with educating the athletics administration, coaches, student-athletes and our entire Flames Nation on current NCAA rules and regulations. He and his staff are responsible for monitoring recruiting rules, communicating eligibility certifications, monitoring financial aid and awards limits, submitting waivers of NCAA Legislation, and reporting violations to the Big South Conference Office and the NCAA. He also serves as an ex-officio member of the Liberty's Faculty Senate Athletics Committee and sits on the Athletics Compliance Committee.
Locklin brought a wealth of experience to Liberty, previously serving in the compliance office at Virginia Tech from 2006 until 2012. He served as the Assistant Director of Compliance and Director of Compliance, before being promoted to become Virginia Tech’s Assistant Athletics Director of Compliance, a title he held until coming to Liberty in 2012. He was appointed to the ACC Committee on Student-Athlete Welfare during his final year on the Virginia Tech staff.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Locklin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Nebraska in May 2001, and graduated with distinction with a Master’s of Science in Sports Administration from Liberty in May 2014.
Locklin and his wife, Kellan, currently reside in Lynchburg with two daughters – Dylan and Fiona Bean– and one son, Hagen.
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