1971 University Blvd.Lynchburg, VA 24502
Phone: (434) 582-2100
Fax: (434) 582-2205
Ian McCaw has a vision for Liberty Athletics, and he has worked quickly to make that vision a reality since being named the department’s 11th director of athletics on Nov. 28, 2016. His vision is for Liberty’s intercollegiate athletics program to Train Champions for Christ, provide a world-class student-athlete experience, and achieve victory with integrity.
Less than three months into his time at the head of the athletics department, McCaw helped guide Liberty into the top level of intercollegiate competition. On Feb. 16, 2017, Liberty received notification that the NCAA had approved its request to enter into a two-year Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) reclassification process.
Following Liberty’s last season as an FCS independent in 2017, McCaw will guide the Flames into their first season at the FBS level in 2018, fulfilling the vision of university founder Dr. Jerry Falwell for Liberty’s athletics programs to compete at the highest level of NCAA competition.
During Liberty’s final two seasons as a member of the Big South Conference, McCaw guided Liberty Athletics to its 13th and 14th Sasser Cup title, an annual award given to the top athletics program in the Big South Conference.
McCaw also helped pave the way for the future of Liberty Athletics on May 17 when it was announced 17 of its 20 NCAA Division I program will end a 27-year run in the Big South Conference to join the ASUN Conference for the 2018-19 athletics season.
McCaw is well equipped to lead Liberty through this transition process, having nearly two decades of previous service as a director of athletics at Baylor (2003-16), Massachusetts (2002-03), and Northeastern (1997-2002).
During his time at Baylor, the Bears experienced tremendous success on the field, in the classroom, and in fundraising and facility development. McCaw helped Baylor capture five national team championships (Acrobatics & Tumbling, 2015; Equestrian, 2012; Men’s Tennis, 2004; and Women’s Basketball, 2005 and 2012), had 17 student-athletes win individual national championships (track & field and men’s and women’s tennis), and captured 58 Big 12 Conference titles.
Baylor’s football team reached bowl games six consecutive years (2010-15) and won the Big 12 Championship in 2013 and 2014. In addition, the Bears’ Robert Griffin III became the nation’s top collegiate football player in 2011 when he was named the school's first-ever Heisman Trophy winner.
During his final five seasons at Baylor, the Bears’ football and men’s and women’s basketball programs posted a combined 350-84 record, the best mark in the country during that span.
Under McCaw’s watch, student-athletes thrived in the classroom as Baylor finished first or second in the Big 12 in graduation success rate in seven of his last nine years. Additionally, the school recorded its highest cumulative GPA in 2015-16 (3.34).
While Baylor enjoyed extraordinary academic and athletic success under McCaw’s leadership, his department also made significant administrative strides.
A five-year strategic plan for intercollegiate athletics, Above and Beyond, was developed and implemented inclusive of department goals and objectives. An outgrowth of this plan was the creation and successful completion of the Victory with Integrity and From Here We Build development campaigns. During his 13 years as Baylor’s director of athletics, the department raised more than $390 million toward capital projects and student-athlete scholarships.
While at Baylor, McCaw created a robust sports ministry program that included student-athlete and team mission trips and service programs, and he strengthened the school’s relationship with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Prior to his days at Baylor, McCaw served as the director of athletics at the University of Massachusetts during the 2002-03 academic year. At UMass, he was responsible for a 23-sport program, helping develop and implement a five-year strategic plan and secure funding for basketball locker room renovations.
McCaw previously served as director of intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation at Northeastern from 1997-2002. During the last of his five years with the Huskies, Northeastern captured a school-record six America East Conference championships and had five teams finish among the nation's top 20.
McCaw went to Northeastern from Tulane, where he served as senior associate athletic director for development and associate athletic director for external affairs from 1992-97. He was also Tulane's co-interim director of athletics in 1996.
Prior to his years at Tulane, McCaw worked in a variety of athletic administrative posts at the University of Maine from 1986-92, including sports information, marketing, and external affairs.
Recognized as a national leader in intercollegiate athletics, McCaw has served as chair of the NCAA Recruiting and Personnel Issues Cabinet. He was also a member of the Big 12 Television & Game Management and Officiating Committees. Additionally, he served on the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Executive Committee and was on the Division I-A Athletics Director Association Board of Trustees.
McCaw was named 2014-15 FBS NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and was a finalist for the 2012 and 2015 Sports Business Journal Athletics Director of the Year awards. He was named the 2012 NACDA West Region Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and 2010 Waco Tribune-Herald Central Texas Sportsman of the Year. He also received the 2013 VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Massachusetts Sport Management Program.
McCaw earned his master's degree in sport management from Massachusetts in 1987, after receiving a bachelor's degree in sports administration at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, in 1985.
McCaw and his wife, Heather, have four children: Christy, Paul, Callie, and Corinne.
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 various areas 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 and baseball programs. 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, Clarkson Clubhouse and the Liberty Athletics Center.
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 (14), Abe (12) and Levi (8), 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.
East and his wife, Piedad, and their son, Sebastian, currently reside in Forest, Va.
Todd Patulski joined the Liberty Athletics staff on April 7 when he was named the department’s Senior Associate Athletics Director and Chief Financial Officer.
In his role, Patulski is charged with overseeing all financial aspects of the Liberty University Athletics Department, including planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities for the department.
Patulski, who is a member of the athletics department Senior Staff, also works closely with the university’s executive leadership team to ensure the financial direction of the athletics department remains in line with the purpose and mission of Liberty University.
Patulski brought nearly 20 years of athletics administrative experience to the Liberty University Athletics Department, including 13 years in a similar role at Baylor.
As Baylor’s Deputy Athletics Director and Chief Financial Officer, Patulski was in charge of the department’s financial operations which experienced nearly 400 percent growth during his time in Waco, Texas.
Patulski developed and implemented Baylor’s Athletics Revenue Enhancement and Debt Service Plans, which were presented to and approved by the Baylor University Board of Regents.
Additionally, his responsibilities involved leadership within numerous athletics capital projects that led to the design, construction and operations of McLane Stadium, the home of Baylor’s football program.
As a senior athletics administrator at Baylor, Patulski played a significant part within the Baylor campus community and served in a role with the Faculty Athletics Council, the PCI Committee, the Risk Matters Community and the Institutional Policy Committees.
During his time at Baylor, Patulski also served a five-year stint on the NCAA Division I Track & Field Committee, including two years as committee chair from September 2008 to June 2010. The committee provided oversight for the NCAA Championship events in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. The committee also worked with the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association on issues related to the management and advancement of their respective sports.
Prior to his time at Baylor, Patulski served as the Senior Associate Athletics Director and Chief Financial Officer at Northeastern University from May 1998 to October 2003.
Patulski is a 1990 graduate of Central Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration (finance). He was a four-year letterwinner in track & field and served as team captain during the 1989-90 season. He was a three-time Mid-American Conference Invitational high jump champion, capturing an outdoor crown in 1990 and indoor championship titles in 1988 and 1989.
Patulski, a native of Michigan, and his wife, Rachel, have four children – Lauren, Hannah, Alicja and Izak. Prior to their move to Lynchburg, the Patulski family were members of the Fellowship Bible Church in Waco where they served as small group leaders for several years.
Erin Hagen has been a member of the Liberty Athletics Senior Staff team since being named Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator in May 2013. Hagen was promoted from her role as Director of Compliance, which she began in 2008.
In her role, Hagen leads the areas of Administration and Strategic Planning and Initiatives, Title IX, Gender Equity and Diversity. She prepares financial bids for the NCAA and postseason conference events, coordinates the degree completion award program, and serves as the liaison to the conference office, Department of Housing, Office of Community Life and The Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
Hagen serves as the sport program administrator for women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis and volleyball.
In addition to her duties as Associate AD/SWA, she has served as a commentator for the Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) since 2009. Hagen serves as the color commentator for Lady Flames volleyball broadcasts.
In her previous position, Hagen served as the Director of Compliance and was involved with the day-to-day operations of the NCAA compliance office, specifically financial aid and eligibility.
Hagen is a 2004 graduate of Liberty, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management. She was a four-year letter winner for the Liberty volleyball program and 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 in 2004, Hagen joined the Lady Flames’ volleyball coaching staff as a graduate assistant. 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 volleyball coaching position at San Diego Christian College, in El Cajon, Calif.
Hagen, a native of Arizona, resides in Lynchburg with her husband Mike and their daughter Emery.
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 responsible for scheduling appointments and meetings for Liberty Director of Athletics. 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.
Brett Gallian assumed his role as Athletics Business Manager in July 2017.
In his current role, Gallian manages financial-related activities for half of the Liberty Athletics administrative departments as well as for the following sports: baseball, golf, men’s basketball, track & field, cross country, field hockey, women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer. He is also involved in planning, implementing and managing budgets and is responsible for reviewing and approving purchases and expense reports.
As a member of the Business Office, Gallian plays a role in process improvement and planning strategically for the long-term financial success of Liberty Athletics.
Gallian and his wife, Aimee, reside in Lynchburg with their four children – Olivia, Emilee, Nora and Sam.
Field Hockey, Lacrosse and Women's Soccer
Courtney Hall joined the Liberty Athletics Department in summer 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 has a myriad of responsibilities, including: team travel, recruiting trips/official visits, PCard reconciling and requisitions, budget planning and maintenance, new hire checklists, pre-season housing, Staples orders, printing requests/university marketing design requests, game day operations assistance and IT department liaison.
Hall’s two most prominent responsibilities focus around team travel and budget planning and maintenance for women’s soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. Hall prepares itineraries as they pertain to team travel, handles hotel accommodations, reserves buses through LU transit, provides travel assistance on away games, produces trip budget reports and coordinates conference tournament and NCAA travel planning and arrangements.
For budget planning and maintenance, Hall assists coaches with budget requests, sends updates on current budget standing, serves as the liaison between the Flames Club and the status or each sports’ Flames Club Special Account Budget and confirms per-diem checks are received and correct.
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 graduated from Liberty in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. She currently resides in Forest, Va.
Softball, Women's Tennis and Volleyball
Melanie Spicer began in her role as Women’s Olympic Sports Director of Operations in September 2017.
In her current role, Spicer has a myriad of responsibilities, including: team travel, recruiting trips/official visits, PCard reconciling and requisitions, budget planning and maintenance, new hire checklists, pre-season housing, Staples orders, printing requests/university marketing design requests, game day operations assistance and IT department liaison.
Spicer’s two most prominent responsibilities focus around team travel and budget planning and maintenance for women’s volleyball, women’s tennis and softball. Spicer prepares itineraries as they pertain to team travel, handles hotel accommodations, reserves buses through LU transit, provides travel assistance on away games, produces trip budget reports and coordinates conference tournament and NCAA travel planning and arrangements.
For budget planning and maintenance, Spicer assists with budget requests, sends updates on current budget standing, serves as the liaison between the Flames Club and the status for each sports’ Flames Club Special Account Budget and confirms per-diem checks are received and correct.
Spicer graduated from Liberty in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management while earning minors in both accounting and business. In August 2017, Spicer completed her Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Liberty.
Spicer, formerly Via, was a member of the Liberty women’s lacrosse program for five years (2013-17). In 2016, she earned Big South All-Conference honorable mention accolades. As a fifth-year senior in 2017, Spicer served as a team captain for the Lady Flames alongside Faith Wells.
A native of Blacksburg, Va., Spicer currently resides in Bedford, Va. with her husband, Jamison.
Men's Golf, Men's Soccer, Men's Tennis and Women's Swimming & Diving
Clay Copeland joined the Liberty Athletics Department as the men’s Olympic sports director of operations. In his current position, Copeland works with the Liberty men’s golf, soccer and tennis programs, as well as the women’s swimming & diving team.
In his current position, Copeland oversees all travel arrangements for his respective teams, organizing hotel, rental car and flight arrangements for in-season competition, recruiting trips and official visits. Along with handling purchase card reconciling for his coaches and staffs, Copeland also manages the planning and maintenance of each team’s budget. On game days, he is responsible for coordinating pregame meals for his teams and serves as the point of contact for visiting teams upon their arrival.
Copeland earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in coaching from Liberty in 2013 before receiving his Masters of Business Administration with the university in 2015. As an undergraduate, Copeland was a student manager with the Flames football program, assisting the director of football administration with a variety of tasks in regards to practice, team travel and game day activities. Copeland also served on Liberty’s project crew, helping with construction and tear down for various on-campus events.
Outside of his service at Liberty, Copeland also worked for the Lynchburg Hillcats, a minor league baseball affiliate, in 2013. Copeland’s duties included selling individual and group tickets, gathering sponsorships and assisting with game day operations and in-game promotions.
Copeland resides in Lynchburg, Va., with his wife Heather. The couple married in March 2016.
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, a daughter-in-law, Allie, a daughter, Tyler, and a future son-in-law, Cooper. The Goodwins currently reside in Forest, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-2105
Men's Basketball, Football (Wide Receivers and Special Teams), Track (Sprinters)
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’ first 11 years at Liberty (through the end of the 2016-17 academic year), Flames student-athletes have earned a total of 27 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards. Among these awardees, 14 were named first team Academic All-Americans.
Over that same time span, a total of 15 Liberty student-athletes have earned the prestigious Christenberry Award from the Big South, for maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA through their careers.
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, Women's Basketball, Football (Linebackers), Track (Throwers)
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.
Men's Basketball, Football (Offensive Line), Women's Lacrosse and Women's Tennis
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.
She is a 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. Huffman 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.
Men's Soccer, Football (Safeties), Men's Golf, Track (Jumpers) and Divers
Lauren Amy began in her current role as Academic Coordinator in June 2014.
In her current role, Amy is responsible for the academic success of the Liberty football, men’s basketball, softball and volleyball programs. At the same time, she helps to facilitate the Academic Enhancement program and is also in charge of hiring and training the tutoring staff within Liberty Athletics.
Amy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise, sport and health education from Radford in 2014. She was a four-year student-athlete at Radford, competing for the women’s soccer program that won back-to-back Big South titles in 2011 and 2012. At the close of her career, Amy won the Senior Leadership Award for Radford University Athletics.
Amy obtained a master’s degree in sport management from Liberty in 2016.
Amy, formerly Markey, married her husband, Erik, in May 2017. The couple resides in Forest, Va.
Volleyball, Softball, Swimming and Football (Corners)
Ethan Chase began in his role of Academic Coordinator in September 2016 following roles in two different departments on campus.
Prior to his role in Academic Affairs for Athletics, Chase worked in Liberty University Online Consulting from 2011-13 and in Student Accounts from 2013-16.
In his current role, Chase is responsible for the academic success of the Liberty field hockey and swimming & diving team, as well as the jumpers and throwers from the Liberty men’s and women’s track and field programs.
Chase earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Liberty. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2012, before moving on to complete his master’s degree in sport management in 2015.
Chase currently resides in Lynchburg.
Women's Soccer, Men's Basketball, Track (Cross Country) and Football (Running Backs)
Rueben Gaines currently serves as an academic coordinator for the Academic Affairs for Athletics department. In his current role, he helps monitor the academic progress of Liberty’s men's golf and men's and women's track & field programs.
Prior to joining the staff full-time, Gaines served as a graduate assistant with Academic Affairs. In addition to working as an academic coordinator for the Flames’ football program, he also helped supervise student workers and the class check program. He earned a FLAMESPY award in 2012 as the Tutor of the Year.
Gaines is certified by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
Gaines earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Liberty. He and his wife, Cassandra, currently reside in Forest, Va. with their daughter, Paris.
Men's Tennis, Football (Defensive Line & Tight Ends), Field Hockey and Track (Multis)
Football (Special Teams)
Nicole Gignac assumed her role as Graduate Assistant for Academic Affairs for Athletics in July 2018.
In her current role, Gignac assists as an academic coordinator for football (special teams) and track & field. Prior to that, she worked for a year with the Liberty football program as a recruiting assistant, helping the Flames in recruiting their first FBS class in school history.
Gignac graduated from Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications in May 2018. During her undergraduate years, she was a member of the Liberty women’s track & field team (2015-18). Gignac is currently pursuing a master’s degree in executive leadership, which she expects to complete in May 2020.
Gignac currently resides in Lynchburg.
Cheerleading and Football (Quarterbacks)
Jennifer Burris stepped into her position as Student-Athlete Development Coordinator in Aug. 2018.
In her current role, Burris is tasked with preparing student-athletes for life after sport holistically, through community service, career development, leadership initiatives and professional programming. Burris also serves as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C) Advisor.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Burris served as a Student-Athlete Development Graduate Intern at North Carolina from January-July 2018. She assisted in leadership development, career development counseling, life skills and community outreach. In summer 2017, she was a Student-Athlete Development Intern at Old Dominion.
Burris graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science from Longwood in May 2016. While at Longwood, she was a member of the Lancers’ field hockey team. Burris then went on to obtain her of Master of Science degree in applied kinesiology & physiology from Florida in May 2018. She is also a PAADS Certified Professional Level Athlete Development Specialist.
Burris currently resides in Lynchburg.
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 has overseen Liberty’s Athletics Communications efforts since December 1999.
Wetmore coordinates 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 operates as the chief editor of the school’s athletics publications and manages four full-time staff members, a graduate assistant and several student workers.
Wetmore specifically coordinates all media efforts for the Flames’ football and golf programs. He has managed the publicity efforts for Liberty’s seven Big South football titles and the team’s appearance in the 2014 NCAA FCS Playoffs. Additionally, he has covered the Flames’ golf program at seven NCAA Regionals and the team’s 10th-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Wetmore got his start in the business as a student worker in Liberty’s Sports Information Office, working as the contact for the softball program. He served as Liberty’s softball contact for 15 years, which included working alongside his father, Paul Wetmore, the winningest coach in Liberty’s athletics department history (547 wins as head softball coach from 1994-2013).
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 16 different publications which have received distinctive honors from College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Nine 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 and 2014 football game program and 2010 and 2011 football media guides.
Wetmore’s most recent publication honor, a “Best in the Nation” honor for the 2014 Flames Illustrated football game program, finished ahead of the game day program for North Dakota State, the four-time NCAA FCS national champions, and the game day program for Virginia Tech's home football games.
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 and University Division men’s golf team since 2013.
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 joined the Athletics Communications Staff as an Assistant Sports Information Director in August 2004. In the summer of 2007, he was promoted to position of Associate Athletics Communications Director, while he was named the department's Senior Associate Athletics Communications Director in December 2016.
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
Steven Gonzalez was hired at Liberty in December 2016 in the role of Associate Director of Athletic Communications.
Before arriving at Liberty, Gonzalez was at Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. where he served as the Assistant Director of Athletic Communications. His primary sports were men's soccer, baseball, women's golf, men's & women's tennis and was the secondary contact for men's basketball. While at GCU, Gonzalez helped revamp a communications department by implementing a new social media plan. Gonzalez worked directly with former MLS Coach of the Year, Schellas Hyndman, as well as former Major League Baseball player and GCU baseball coach, Andy Stankiewicz. While living in Phoenix, Ariz. Gonzalez was hired as the Director of Media Accreditation for the Copa America Centenario Tournament in 2016. During the prestigious tournament, Gonzalez was in charge of serving as a liaison between the national soccer teams that included the United States, Mexico and Uruguay.
Prior to GCU, Gonzalez served as an Athletics Communications Graduate Assistant at Northern Arizona where he served as the primary media contact for the women's soccer and men and women's tennis programs. He also assisted with the coverage of all 15 intercollegiate sports at NAU. In 2014, Gonzalez was a part of the Big Sky champion women's soccer team that made an appearance in the NCAA College Cup.
Gonzalez graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in electronic media & film from NAU in 2013. During his time at NAU, Gonzalez worked as the sports director for NAZ Today News for three years. At NAZ Today News, his requirements to write scripts, interview athletes and coaches and anchor sports on a nightly newscast.
Additionally, Gonzalez also worked for the Northern Arizona men's basketball team serving as the social media manager under head coach Jack Murphy during the 2012-2013 season.
A Phoenix native, Gonzalez attended Saint Mary's High School. He is the son of Robert and Loretta Gonzalez and has an older sister, Amanda.
Gonzalez graduated with a Masters in Communications in 2015.
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. Carmany served as the official scorer at the 2014 and 2015 NCCAA Softball National Championships and the 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Harrisonburg Super Regional.
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, Men's Tennis, Women's Lacrosse and Women's Tennis
Bill Smith joined the Liberty Athletics Communications Staff as an Athletics Communications Assistant on July 1, 2018. Smith is the primary contact for Liberty field hockey, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and women’s lacrosse while also assisting with other sports.
Smith served for two years as the Athletics Communications Graduate Assistant at Liberty prior to stepping into his new role.
While serving as a graduate assistant, Smith completed his Master of Science degree in Sport Management in May 2018.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Smith served as the Sports Communications Assistant at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois for over three years. In that role, he was the primary media contact and handled all sports information for 12 Harper athletics teams. He also served as a Writing Specialist in the Harper College Writing Center for nearly three years, assisting students with their essays.
In May 2012, Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Communications from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois after receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Harper College in 2009. During summer 2012, Smith served as the media relations intern for the Rockford RiverHawks professional baseball team, an independent league team that played in Loves Park, Illinois.
Smith was a four-year college baseball starter, playing two seasons each at Harper and Trinity.
Smith currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-5719
Compliance Contact: Football, Baseball and Men's Golf
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 primary compliance contact for football, baseball and men's golf.
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).
Compliance Contact: Men's Basketball, Field Hockey, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Women's Lacrosse, Men's and Women's Cross Country and Men's and Women's Track & Field
Heather LaFon stepped into her current role as Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance on March 1, 2018.
LaFon serves as the primary compliance contact for men’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s tennis, lacrosse, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s track and field.
LaFon previously served for 10 years in the compliance office at Virginia Tech, specializing in eligibility and financial aid. LaFon also received two degrees from Virginia Tech, earning her bachelor’s degree in marketing management from the university in 2002 before obtaining her master’s degree in education in 2008.
LaFon has two daughters – Penelope (3) and Genevieve (1).
Compliance Contact: Women's Basketball, Volleyball, Women's Soccer, Men's Tennis, Softball and Swimming & Diving
Michelle Jack stepped into her current role as Assistant Director of Compliance in Sept. 2017.
Jack serves as the primary compliance contact for women’s basketball, volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s tennis, softball and swimming & diving.
Jack previously served for three-and-a-half years at North Texas as the Assistant Director of Compliance. She graduated from Kent State in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in classical humanities. She then went on to obtain her juris doctor from Akron in January 2014.
Jack currently resides in Forest, Va.
Ryan Amodei stepped into his role of Graduate Assistant for Compliance in July 2018.
In his current role, Amodei assists the compliance office with recruiting, eligibility, financial aid, awards and benefits, playing and practicing seasons, interpretations, education and administrative roles as needed.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Amodei worked as intern for Temple Athletics Compliance from May-December 2017. While at Temple, he also served as a recruiting intern with the football program in summer 2016. Most recently, Amodei served as a Director of Baseball Operations at Penn (spring 2018).
Amodei graduated from Temple in May 2018 with cum laude distinction and a bachelor’s degree in sport and recreation management. While at Temple, he played the snare drum in the Temple University Diamond Marching Band (2014-18) and also played the drum set in the Temple University Basketball Band (2015-18). He served as the social media coordinator for Temple’s band programs for three years (2016-18).
At Liberty, Amodei is pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, which he expects to complete in May 2020.
Amodei currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-2052
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 sport 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 2007-09. 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 2010-12. While at Georgia State, Dunfee was responsible for the equipment services for all Olympic sports. Dunfee has been a certified member of the Athletic Equipment Managers Association since 2009.
Dunfee and his wife, Kerensa, reside in Lynchburg.
Ryan Carr stepped into his role as an Assistant Equipment Manager in January 2013.
In his current role, Carr assists with the day-to-day operation with football, student managers, laundry and packing for home and away games.
In addition, he handles the ordering, inventory, management and maintenance of equipment and apparel for the Liberty men’s and women’s tennis, golf, softball, swimming & diving and field hockey teams.
Carr is certified by the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA).
Carr graduated from Liberty in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with journalism specialization as well as a minor in business.
Carr and his wife, Maggie, an athletic trainer for the Lady Flames’ softball and women’s soccer programs, currently reside in Lynchburg.
Dale Usry assumed his role of Assistant Equipment Manager in Feb. 2018.
In his current role, Usry is tasked with the ordering, inventory, management and maintenance of equipment for baseball, cheerleading, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track & field and women’s lacrosse.
Before arriving at Liberty, Usry attended Georgia Southern and received a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2013. He worked for four years as a student manager, working primarily with the Eagles’ football and baseball programs. Usry is currently working towards his Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA) certification.
Usry and his wife, Dana, currently reside in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-7097
Phone: (434) 592-5099
Robert Goodman joined the Flames’ athletic department staff as the Associate Athletics Director – Sales and Promotions in May 2017.
In his current position, Goodman directly oversees the marketing for all of Liberty’s 20 NCAA Division I sports along with the sale of season and individual game tickets at football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. He helped to create an outbound ticket sales team while working with The Aspire Group for training and best practices. His staff consists of the Director of Fan Experience, Assistant Director of Fan Experience, three graduate assistants and the internship program. Also, Goodman is the cheerleading and marching band administrator.
Goodman brings over 20 years of experience working in college athletics to Liberty. From 2002-16, he served as the Senior Associate Commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). In that role, Goodman oversaw marketing, sponsorship and tickets and championships. He was also directly responsible for the baseball and men’s and women’s golf championships while serving as an NCAA Site Representative for men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse.
Prior to his time at the CAA, Goodman was the Assistant Director of the Virginia Athletics Foundation at his alma mater, Virginia. From 1994-2000, he worked as the Director of Marketing and Promotions at William & Mary. Goodman was a Ticket Manager of the Richmond Braves (1992-94) after he graduated college.
Goodman earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Virginia in 1992 and a Mini-M.B.A. from Richmond in 2012.
Goodman and his wife, Kristyn, reside in Forest, Va. They have two daughters, Kelsey and Amy. Kelsey is a volleyball player at Roanoke College, while Amy plays volleyball at Eastern Mennonite University.
Phone: (434) 592-7097
Kassy McAloon joined the Liberty Flames athletic department staff as the Director of Fan Experience and Promotions in May 2017.
In her current role, McAloon works closely with the Associate Athletics Director for Sales and Promotions to implement marketing plans and strategies in an effort to increase department revenue and attendance while continually improving the fan experience. She creates and develops marketing plans for Liberty football and men’s basketball while overseeing the creation and execution of marketing plans for all of Liberty’s 20 NCAA Division I sports, the Flames Kids Club, and the Student Flames Club.
McAloon also provides oversight to the Assistant Director of Fan Experience & Promotions, two graduate assistants and the student intern program. Finally, she coordinates digital and social media efforts to drive attendance at home events for Liberty athletics.
Prior to working at Liberty, McAloon served as the Manager of Marketing & New Media for Penn Athletics from February 2013 until May 2017. McAloon was an Athletics Marketing Intern at Oklahoma (2011-12) before working at Penn. She received a bachelor’s degree in communication at Oklahoma in December 2012.
McAloon currently resides in Forest, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-4528
Tyler McNamara stepped into his current role of Assistant Director of Fan Experience and Promotions in Oct. 2017.
In his current role, McNamara works closely with the Associate Athletics Director for Sales and Promotions and Director of Fan Experience and Promotions to implement marketing plans and strategies in an effort to increase department revenue and attendance while continually improving fan experience. He works specifically with the volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball programs in these areas. McNamara also oversees the Liberty University Athletics Golf Tournament.
Prior to coming to Liberty, McNamara served as a Marketing Assistant at Western Kentucky from Aug. 2016-July 2017 and as a Marketing Intern at Florida State (2015-16).
McNamara obtained his bachelor’s degree in sport management from Southern Connecticut State in 2015. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in sport management from Florida State in 2017. While at Southern Connecticut State, McNamara played club lacrosse for the Owls and served as a captain for two years. At Florida State, McNamara served as an assistant coach for men’s lacrosse in 2015 and 2016.
Originally from Connecticut, McNamara currently resides in Lynchburg, Va., with his wife, Danielle. The couple got married in July 2018.
Phone: (434) 582-4453
James Nance stepped into his role of Fan Experience and Promotions Assistant in June 2017.
In his current role, Nance is responsible for creating and executing marketing plans, developing attendance and revenue generating promotions and coordinating game day activities to improve the fan experience at Liberty’s home athletics events. Nance also serves as the Director of the Flames Kids Club. He is the primary marketing contact for Liberty women’s soccer, field hockey and men’s soccer while also serving as the secondary contact for baseball.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Nance worked in marketing at both Western Carolina (2013-16) and Wake Forest (2015-17). At Western Carolina, Nance served as an Athletics Marketing Assistant. While at Wake Forest, he was an intern (2015-16) before earning the title of Marketing Coordinator (December 2016-May 2017).
Nance earned two bachelor’s degrees from Western Carolina in December of 2016 (business administration – sport management and business administration – marketing). At Liberty, he will be pursuing his master’s degree in marketing – sports marketing and media, which he expects to complete in May 2019.
Originally from Elkin, N.C., Nance currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-4698
Phone: (434) 444-1985
Robert Goodman joined the Liberty staff in May 2017. He directly oversees the marketing for all of Liberty’s 20 NCAA Division I sports along with the sale of season and individual game tickets at football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. He helped to create an outbound ticket sales team while working with The Aspire Group for training and best practices. His staff consists of the Director of Fan Experience, Assistant Director of Fan Experience, three Graduate Assistants and the interns program. Also, Goodman is the cheerleading and marching band administrator.
Prior to coming to Liberty, he served as the Senior Associate Commisioner of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). In his role with the CAA, Goodman oversaw marketing, sponsorship and tickets and championships departments, was directly responsible for the baseball and men's and women's golf championships, served as a member fo the NCAA women's golf and baseball committees and served as an NCAA site rep for men's and women's soccer and women's lacrosse.
Goodman also worked as the Assistant Director of Virginia Athletics Foundation (2000-01) and as the Director of Marketing and Promotions at William & Mary (1994-2000). From 1992-94, he served as the Ticket Manager for the Richmond Braves.
Goodman graduated from Virginia in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in sport managment. He earned a mini-MBA from Richmond in 2012.
Goodman and his wife, Kristyn, currently reside in Forest, Va. The couple has two daughters, Kelsey, who plays volleyball at Roanoke, and Amy, who palys volleyball at Eastern Mennonite.
Phone: (434) 444-1985
Phone: (434) 592-6193
Justin Matzker assumed his role of Sales Director for Liberty Athletics and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment in August 2017.
In his current role, Matzker is in charge of selling sponsorships and marketing for Liberty Athletics.
Prior to coming to Liberty, he was an area representative for the fundraising company Attractions Dining and Value Guide for three years.
Matzker graduated from Liberty in December 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Matzker and his wife reside in Forest, Va.
Phone: (434) 592-6261
Kyle Sikes assumed his role of Marketing Coordinator for Liberty Athletics and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment in July 2017.
In his current role, Sikes is responsible for the writing, implementation and fulfillments of Liberty Athletics sponsorship agreements.
Prior to his current role, Sikes worked as a Marketing Intern for Liberty Athletics. Sikes also gained experienced working at Duke as an Operations, Facilities and Championships Assistant.
Sikes graduated from Liberty in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, which he expects to complete in December 2017.
Sikes resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-7328
Phone: (434) 592-5014
Seth Mullen joined the Liberty athletics department in August 2012, assuming the position of Assistant Director of Ticket Operations. He was promoted to his current position of Director of Ticket Sales in May 2018 after three years as the Associate Director of Ticket Operations.
In his current role at Liberty, Mullen is the direct supervisor for the outbound athletics ticket sales team. He was instrumental in the creation of the outbound sales team while also maintaining his ticket operations duty before his promotion to Director of Ticket Sales. In their first year, the outbound sales team set new records in group revenue and ticket sales while being led by Mullen.
His responsibilities now include developing strategy to maximize season, group, and single-game ticket sales as well as revenue and customer retention for Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Baseball. Mullen also assists with the creation, planning and implementation of special ticket plans, projects, promotions, and programs.
He currently holds membership in the National Association of Athletic Ticket Sales and Operations (NAATSO). He is a member of the Down Syndrome Association, and is FEMA Certified through the Emergency Management Institute. Mullen was also the recipient of the 2018 Support Staff of the Year Award for Liberty Athletics.
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.
Phone: (434) 592-5013
Amanda Rider rejoined the Liberty Athletics department in August 2016, assuming the role of Assistant Director for University Events. She was promoted to her current position of Director of Ticket Operations in May 2018.
In her current role at Liberty, her responsibilities include coordinating all ticket operations for all home regular season ticketed NCAA events for football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. Rider also coordinates away game and post-season ticket operations for all NCAA sports. In addition to Liberty Athletics, she also serves as the primary ticket office liaison for various University and department-wide projects. Rider was instrumental in the implementation of a new ticket software system for the university for the 2018-19 school year.
Rider currently holds membership in the National Association of Athletic Ticket Sales and Operations (NAATSO.) She was one of five recipients of the 2018 Diversity Initiative Stipend to be able to attend the 2018 NAATSO convention in Washington D.C.
She graduated from Liberty in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in sport management and a minor in coaching. She then went on to earn master's degree in sport administration in 2014, graduating with honors. The Michigan native began working in Liberty's ticket office as a practicum student in August 2010. Rider was promoted from that position to an event assistant from 2011-2013 before finishing as a graduate assistant. After graduation, she moved to Colorado as a missionary before moving back to Lynchburg in 2016 where she currently resides.
Phone: (434) 582-3205
Drew Boykin assumed his role of Assistant Director of Ticket Operations in July 2018.
In his current position, he assists with the coordination of ticket operations for all home regular season ticketed NCAA events. Additionally, he serves as the primary office manager for day-to-day business operations of the ticket office. Boykin also coordinates operations for university events, including the creation of ticket sales reports, reconciliation statements and financial data summaries. Boykin holds membership in the National Association of Athletic Ticket Sales and Operations (NAATSO).
Prior to stepping into his current role, Boykin gained valuable experience through serving as an Office and Event Supervisor in the Liberty University Ticket Office in 2017 and 2018. He also worked as a Game Day Operations Intern for the Carolina RailHawks (now North Carolina Football Club) and was a Game Day Operations Trainee for the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team in Durham, N.C.
Boykin graduated from Liberty in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration: project management and another bachelor’s degree in business administration: international business. He earned summa cum laude distinction.
Boykin currently resides in Madison Heights, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-8728
Phone: (434) 592-4946
Phone: (434) 582-3204
Sierra Miles began in her role as Graduate Assistant of Ticket Operations in August 2017.
In her current position, Miles assists in day-to-day operations of the Liberty University Ticket Office, including management of part-time office staff, inbound and outbound sales, cash handling and equipment management. She also assists with event operations for all ticketed athletics and university events.
Prior to her position as a Graduate Assistant, Miles worked as an intern within the Liberty University Ticket Office for a semester. She assisted with group sales, event and season tickets for Liberty Baseball and served as an event supervisor for other university events.
Miles graduated from Liberty in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies: life coaching and psychology, which she expects to complete in May 2019.
Miles currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-3203
Kendall Ireland assumed her role as Graduate Assistant of Ticket Operations in June 2017.
In her current position, Ireland assists in day-to-day operations of the Liberty University Ticket Office, including management of part-time office staff, inbound and outbound sales, cash handling and equipment management. She also assists with event operations for all ticketed athletics and university events.
Prior to her position as a Graduate Assistant, Ireland worked in the Liberty University Ticket Office for a year, in which she was the Theatre Event Supervisor for a semester.
Ireland graduated from Liberty in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology: human development and counseling. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human services and counseling: marriage and family. Ireland expects to complete it in May 2019.
Ireland and her husband, Jacob, were married in July 2017. The couple resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-3905
Phone: (434) 592-3905
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. In October 2016, Keys’ role again was redefined and a new title of Executive Director of Broadcast Services was conferred. He remains a member of athletics senior staff, dealing mostly in the area of radio and TV broadcasting.
Keys, who brings a wealth of athletics experience and expertise in the area of external relations, oversees live event TV broadcasts for NCAA and Club Sports, the Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) radio productions, the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame as committee chair, and Liberty’s syndicated programming such as Convocation and the Game On sports weekly.
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, oversaw the earliest football TV broadcasts in 1980, and served as the radio play-by-play voice for two seasons. He also established and produced the athletics department’s first-ever corporate marketing/sponsorship 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. In 2000, he received the CoSIDA 25-year service award.
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 FBS athletic program. During his tenure at West Virginia, he co-authored a book chronicling the 100-year 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, 32, who graduated from Liberty in 2007 and is currently a college women’s basketball coach, and Jamie, 31, who graduated from Liberty in 2009 and is currently an event planner in Lynchburg.
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. York also serves as a television broadcaster for the Liberty baseball and softball teams.
Prior to his arrival in Lynchburg, York served 12 years as an assistant production manager for ISP in Winston-Salem, N.C. 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, N.C. York completed his master’s degree in sport administration from Liberty in 2016.
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.
Pierce is also in charge of radio production for women's basketball, baseball and softball broadcasts and does play-by-play for select men's and women's basketball 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 and promos for events. 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 NFL's 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.
Pierce currently resides in Lynchburg.
Tim Lavender was promoted to Lead Athletics Video Coordinator in 2016 after serving as an Athletics Video Content Coordinator since June 2013.
In his current role, Lavender leads the audiovisual team to produce video content distributed primarily to LibertyFlames.com, the club sports site and venue video boards, but also for LFSN, GameOn, internal staff and external media outlets, as well as conferences and institutions. He coordinates with staff and external entities to determine audiovisual needs for events. Lavender also hires, trains and schedules workers to operate venue video boards and other multimedia tasks.
Lavender leads the team to coordinate, produce and format video, images and motion graphics for sport venue video boards. Finally, he works with Liberty Information Technology (IT) on video board equipment use, best practices, system checks, upgrades and upkeep.
Lavender graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications: broadcasting from Liberty in 2012.
Lavender and his wife, Blythe, reside in Lynchburg with their two sons, Daniel and Henry.
Brian Whitesell joined the Liberty athletic department as an Athletics Video Content Coordinator in September 2015.
In his current position, Whitesell directs, films and edits video content for all 20 of Liberty’s NCAA programs for LibertyFlames.com. He also creates graphics and manages and produces content for athletics video boards. Whitesell coordinates video content internally for sports and externally for other institutions, local media and other entities. He also handles video and still content from other departments, sponsors and the conference to be used on video boards.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Whitesell worked for WSET: ABC 13 in Lynchburg for six years covering local news and international news. Whitesell also covered local college teams (Liberty, Virginia Tech and Virginia) while covering major bowl games and the NCAA Tournament.
Whitesell graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications with focus on electronic and print media from Virginia Tech in 2009. He also earned a minor degree and sports marketing cognate from Virginia Tech.
Whitesell and his wife, Estefania, reside in Lynchburg. Estefania is also employed by Liberty, working in the International Student Center as an Operations Assistant Health Insurance Representative.
Phone: (434) 582-2582
A former student-athlete and graduate of Liberty, Bob Good returned to his alma mater in August 2005 and currently serves as Associate Athletics Director for Development and Executive Director of the Flames Club.
In his current role, Good’s responsibilities include the growth and management of the Flames Club annual fund, coordination of capital campaigns, cultivation of major gifts and luxury suite sales. Under Good’s direction, more than $13 million in contributions have been secured for Liberty Athletics.
The total includes $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 2016, the Flames Club had 1,030 members contribute $833,000, representing a 13-fold increase in giving during the past 12 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 loyalty 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 (opened in 2010), and the four luxury suites in the Liberty Baseball Stadium (opened in 2013). The luxury suites have had 98% occupancy since the facilities were opened, and together generate nearly $600,000 in annual revenue.
Prior to coming to work for Liberty Athletics, Good served 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 has three children - Patrick (23), Sydney (20) and Conner (18).
Phone: (434) 582-7741
No stranger to Liberty University, Mike Hagen returned to his alma mater in November 2017 when he was named the department’s Assistant AD for Development and Director of Major Gifts.
A member of the Flames Club administrative staff, Hagen has leadership responsibility for all areas of athletics fundraising, including annual fund, legacy gifts for facility improvement and luxury suite sales. His primary focus is growing major gift relationships and selling premium game-day inventory including club seats, courtside seats, loge boxes and luxury suites.
Hagen joined the department after five years at the ASUN Conference, where he served on the senior leadership team as Associate Commissioner for Institutional Services. There his responsibilities included NCAA and ASUN Compliance, conference governance and administrator for many ASUN programs.
As sport administrator for cross country, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, and women’s lacrosse, Hagen served as the primary liaison for coaches’ committees, national issues and championships. In his diverse role, he also served as liaison to the faculty athletics representatives, athletic trainers, academic administrators and student-athlete welfare committee. In addition, he oversaw appeals of conference policy and sportsmanship issues. Prior to 2015 Hagen served the ASUN as Assistant Commissioner for Compliance.
From 2015 until his return to Liberty, Hagen served as Executive Director of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA), an NCAA Division I conference sponsoring men’s and women’s swimming & diving and, beach volleyball; and provided administration of women’s lacrosse for the ASUN and Southern Conferences (SoCon).
During his time as Executive Director, he oversaw the addition of beach volleyball and women’s lacrosse to the league, the first conference television broadcast agreement and the addition of thirteen teams to the association. As one of the first conferences in the nation to sponsor beach volleyball, the league quickly developed into a national power, and in the second year as a national championship sport, sent more teams to the NCAA Tournament than any other league.
Prior to his time at the ASUN, Hagen served on the senior leadership team at Liberty as the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance. His responsibilities included NCAA compliance administration along with sport administration for the track & field and cross country programs. Hagen’s involvement with compliance began in 2004 as coordinator, and later as director, before being appointed as Assistant AD for Compliance in 2008.
Hagen’s other roles at Liberty included serving as Director of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, committee member during NCAA recertification and as a track & field graduate assistant coach.
Well versed in college athletics at the national level, Hagen has served as a peer reviewer for NCAA certification and co-presented at the 2012 and 2014 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. He is a member of the National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC), and has previously served as a member of the NAAC Legislation and Governance, Reasonable Standards, and Professional Development Committees.
In addition, Hagen is NAAC Education Certified. From 2012 to 2017, he was a member of the Conference Commissioners Association of Compliance Administrators. He has also served on the National Letter of Intent Advisory Committee, and NCAA Technology Advisory Committee.
Hagen holds a bachelor’s degree in sport management (2005) and a master’s in business administration (2007) from Liberty, where he was a four-year member of the track & field program. He captained the Flames his senior season and was a Big South All-Conference selection in hurdles and pole vault. He was also a member of the LU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In 2009, Hagen graduated from the NACDA Sports Management Institute, participating in executive education sessions at the University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California.
The native of Eaton, Colo., remains active in the sport of track and field as an Association Level Official with USA Track & Field. He also serves as a board member for Saruni International, a missions organization dedicated to impacting the lives of young girls in east Africa.
Hagen lives in Lynchburg, Va., with his wife Erin, Liberty’s Associate AD for Administration & Strategic Initiatives/Senior Woman Administrator, and daughter Emery.
Phone: (434) 592-5896
Megan Robinson joined the Flames Club team in Feb. 2014, assuming the position of Director of Donor Relations. She was promoted to Director of Flames Club Operations in May of 2017.
In her current role, Robinson helps formulate and execute all strategies, policies and procedures necessary to operate the Flames Club and expand the number of donors and dollars contributed to Liberty Athletics. During her three years with the Flames Club, membership has increased by 65 percent, growing from 625 members in 2013 before Robinson arrived, to 1,030 members in 2016. A total of $3.9 million dollars has been contributed to Liberty Athletics during the three-year time period.
Robinson has primary responsibility for the donor experience, including management of football game day events for 1,500 members and guests in the 71 Club, 18 luxury suites, Club Pavilion and Flames Club Tent. She is responsible for fulfillment of member benefits and privileges, including priority seating and parking for football, basketball and baseball. Robinson coordinates daily Flames Club operations, including directing more than 50 annual events, managing the annual budget, serving as the liaison with University Marketing and supervising other staff members.
Robinson graduated from Liberty in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in fashion merchandising and interiors with a minor in business and was a four-year member of the Liberty cheerleading team. In 2013, she received her Master of Arts degree from Liberty in human services with a specialization in business. Robinson is from Chesterfield, Va. and currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Danielle Bradow assumed her role of Ticket Sales and Service Consultant for Liberty Athletics in June 2017.
In her current role, Bradow works with season tickets, group tickets and individual tickets. She is the liaison between the customer and Liberty Athletics, ensuring smooth transactions and satisfaction of experiences. She also maintains contact with account holders to ensure repeat business.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Bradow worked as an Account Representative for the Colorado Rockies for two years.
Bradow graduated from Dallas Baptist in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and minor in kinesiology with emphasis in photography.
Bradow and her husband live in Forest, Va. with their two golden retrievers.
Phone: (434) 592-5895
Logan Martinez assumed his role as Flames Club Associate in August 2017.
In his current role, Martinez is responsible for daily administrative tasks pertaining to the Flames Club. He is also responsible for donor parking on game day events and working game day events and member events.
Prior to his current role, he worked as an Athletics Fan Experience and Promotions Intern at Liberty for a year-and-a-half. In that role, Martinez assisted with marketing efforts and worked game days with promotional giveaways and in-game promotions.
Martinez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and a minor degree in psychology from Liberty in May 2017.
Originally from Chesapeake, Va., Martinez currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 592-3925
Phone: (434) 592-3925
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Football and Natatorium
Andrew Shumate assumed his current role of Director of Event Management in July 2018.
In his current position, Shumate oversees the event management staff and operations for all Liberty Athletics events. He serves as the primary event manager for home football and swimming & diving competitions.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Shumate served as an Event Coordinator at Washington State from June 2014-June 2018. He was tasked with comprehensive planning, coordination and oversight of various athletic events at the university. Shumate worked as the game manager for Washington State Olympic sports during those four years, including: volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf and swimming & diving. He assisted in hosting the 2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Regional in Spokane, Wash.
Shumate also gained experience in the event management field in 2013 and 2014, serving as the Assistant Director, Facilities and Operations, at Ohio. Before that, he worked at Wake Forest as an Event Management Assistant (2012-13). Also in 2012, Shumate was employed as an Operations Intern for the Greeneville Astros in Greeneville, Tenn.
Shumate holds membership with the Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA).
Shumate played college basketball at Maryville College (TN) from 2005-09. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational management and a minor degree in accounting from Maryville in 2009. Shumate then went on to obtain a master’s degree in sport management from ETSU in 2012.
Shumate and his wife, Holly, reside in Lynchburg.
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Men’s Golf
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.
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Tennis (Fall Only)
Mike Farris contributes to the Liberty athletics department as Assistant Event Management and 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 teams 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 nine 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.
Phone: (434) 592-6283
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Outdoor Track, Men’s and Women’s Tennis (Spring only)
Clint Lowe stepped into his role as Athletics Event Manager in July 2017 following two years as the Graduate Assistant for Event Management.
In his current role, Lowe facilitates game-day operations for Liberty’s athletics teams, working directly with coaches, visiting teams and officials. He also supervises a group of practicum students, interns and student volunteers to assist at events and gain valuable work experience.
Lowe graduated from Liberty in May 2015 with a B.S. in sport management. He then went on to earn a Master of Business Administration in May of 2017. Lowe is a member of the Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA).
Lowe was named the 2014-15 Sport Management Student of the Year after serving as a General Manager at Poplar Forest Golf Course and as an intern for the Liberty golf team.
Lowe currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-7364
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Field Hockey, Women’s Lacrosse, Indoor Track (Secondary)
Caroline Smith stepped into her role as Assistant Director for Events and Facilities in March 2018.
In her current role, Smith is the event management and facilities contact for field hockey, women’s lacrosse and indoor track & field (secondary). Prior to her current role, Smith served an Athletic Event and Facilities Graduate Assistant from Aug. 2017-March 2018.
“I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of the Flames family and represent the mission and vision of training Champions for Christ through my position in Liberty Athletics,” Smith stated.
In summer 2017, she served as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Intern. Prior to that, Smith held several positions within Liberty Athletics, including: Intern to Associate AD for Administrative and Strategic Initiatives/Senior Women’s Administrator (Aug. 2016-May 2017), Liberty Baseball Administrative Intern (Aug. 2015-Dec. 2016) and Liberty Game Operations CSER Student (Aug. 2014-May 2015). She also worked as a Data Analyst and Design Intern for Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. in Jupiter, Fla., from May through August 2015.
Smith competed on the Liberty women’s lacrosse team during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons. In her final season with the Lady Flames in 2017, the native of Palm City, Fla., appeared in 18 games (17 starts) and compiled 22 draw controls, fifth most on the squad.
Smith graduated from Liberty in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. She is pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Legal Studies from Liberty, which she expects to complete in May 2019.
Smith currently resides in Boonsboro, Va.
Phone: (434) 582-7430
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Softball and Volleyball
Jonathon Smith began his position of Athletics Event Manager in February 2016.
Smith recently graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s of science in sport management in December 2015. While an undergrad, Smith gained three years of experience with the event management department in Liberty Athletics.
In those three years, Smith also had the opportunity to help work the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Championships for both football and baseball. Smith is a native of Bowie, Md., where he attended Riverdale Baptist High School.
Phone: (434) 582-2692
Event Management and Facilities Contact: Cross Country, Indoor Track (Primary)
Patrick Donigan stepped into his role as Assistant Director for Events and Facilities in Sept. 2017.
In his current role, Donigan is the event management and facilities contact for cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field. His primary responsibilities include game day operations for track & field and cross country meets, while also assisting at other athletic events. His duties also include maintaining the Liberty University Indoor Track Complex.
Prior to assuming his current role, Donigan worked with the Liberty track & field program in various positions from 2013-17. He has worked numerous meets, varying from local high school and collegiate meets to meets such as the Virginia Commonwealth Games, VA Showcase, VHSL championships and collegiate championship such as the Big South, ASUN and CIAA Championships.
Donigan also competed for the Flames’ track & field team from 2012-15 as a high jumper. He earned All-Big South honors in 2013, placing third in the high jump at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Donigan is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Liberty, which he expects to complete in Dec. 2019.
Donigan currently resides in Lynchburg.
Phone: (434) 582-2407
Fax: (434) 582-4620
Scott Lawrenson, a 1986 Liberty graduate, returned to his alma mater in July 2018 when he was named the Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Medicine.
Prior to his return, Lawrenson served as the Head Athletic Trainer at nearby Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va., from 2012-18. While at Randolph, Scott was nominated by his peers and awarded the Virginia Athletic Trainers Association College and University Athletic Trainer of the Year award in 2016.
Scott previously worked at Liberty from 2006-12. He returned to his alma mater in January 2006, covering softball and working as the department’s athletic insurance coordinator. After spending the spring of 2006 with Lady Flames’ softball program, Lawrenson took over the sports medicine duties for the Flames’ baseball program. He served as the Athletic Insurance coordinator for four years, before taking over the rehabilitation coordinator duties during the summer of 2009. He also worked with the Flames men’s soccer team in 2011.
One of three Liberty graduates to work as an athletic trainer in Major League Baseball, Lawrenson spent 20 years as an athletic trainer in professional baseball. After graduating from Liberty, he began his career in 1986, spending 11 years in the New York Mets minor league system. Lawrenson was a Mets minor league athletic trainer with several of the organization’s teams from 1986 through 1990, before becoming the Mets Minor League Training and Conditioning Coordinator in 1991.
He served in the capacity until October 1996, when he was promoted to the Major Leagues. Lawrenson was an Assistant Athletic Trainer with the New York Mets through 2001. In 1999, the Mets advanced to National League Championship Series as a wild card. The following season, the Mets won the NL Pennant and played the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.
Lawrenson was named Interim Head Athletic Trainer for the team in September 2001. A month later, he became the Mets Head Athletic Trainer, a position he held for four years. In 2005, Lawrenson became an Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Washington Nationals inaugural season.
Lawrenson has traveled with professional baseball squads as an athletic trainer to Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He is an alumnus member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and also a retired member of the Major League Baseball Players Association. He is a certified member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and is a Virginia licensed Athletic Trainer.
Lawrenson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty in 1986. He is a third great grandson of James Lawrenson, the first person credited with singing the Star Spangled Banner. A Lynchburg native, he and his wife, Julie, two-time Liberty graduate, have two grown daughters. Bree is a public defender for the state of Florida and mother to Scott’s and Julie’s grandson. Carly is a hair stylist in Nashville and is married to former Flames football player Jay Coady.
Barry Finke is one of the senior members of the Liberty University Athletic Training staff, having joined the staff in August 2005, and he works with the Flames' 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, 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.
Men’s Basketball, Golf, Swimming & Diving
Aaron Schreiner joined the Liberty Sports Medicine staff in August 2005. Currently, Schreiner serves as the head athletic trainer for the men's basketball program. In addition, Schreiner also oversees athletic training for the men's golf program and the women's swimming and diving program. He is also responsible for coordinating in house rehab for all the Liberty Athletics programs.
Schreiner came to Liberty from Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio, where he served as a graduate assistant from August 2003 until May 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 the 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' Association 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's degree 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. Together, the couple has two daughters, Abby and Aubrey.
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 in 2006 and received his MSEd degree from Virginia Tech in 2008.
Prior to his position at Liberty, 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.
Preusser is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and is a Licensed Athletic Trainer in the state of Virginia. His additional qualifications include CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist), FMS (Functional Movement Systems), SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) and Graston Technique Level 1 certifications.
Women’s Soccer, Softball
Maggie Carr joined the Liberty Sports Medicine staff in December 2013, currently holding the position of Assistant Athletic Trainer. In her current position, Carr is responsible for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for Liberty women’s soccer and softball teams.
She 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 Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA).
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 summer collegiate baseball team in Xenia, Ohio.
Carr graduated from Gardner-Webb with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training in 2011. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Sport Administration from Liberty in 2014.
She is married to Ryan Carr, Assistant Equipment Manager, and the couple currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Women's Basketball, Cheerleading
Ben Galley is the Assistant Athletic Trainer for Liberty women’s basketball and cheerleading. He also helps to coordinate the sports medicine mental health program for student athletes.
Galley earned his Bachelor's of Science (B.S.) degree in Athletic Training from Liberty in 2009. The following year, he earned his Master's of Science (M.S.) degree in Athletic Training from California University of Pennsylvania.
Galley owns a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification as a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES). He is also 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).
Galley and his wife Katie have one son, Lawson. Their family currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Volleyball, Women's Tennis
Mary O’Berry joined the Liberty Sports Medicine staff in July 2013 and currently serves as the assistant athletic trainer for Liberty University’s football team.
Previous to Liberty, O’Berry completed her undergraduate work at Wingate University and received her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina where she was a graduate assistant with women’s golf, women’s tennis, track & field and cross country. O’Berry 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 Russia, the Caribbean, Guatemala and in the states with the Xenia Scouts baseball team in Ohio.
The former Mary Green, who is a native of Martinez, Ga., is married to Greg O’Berry II. The couple currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Track & Field
Lacrosse, Field Hockey
Joey Lyons is an Assistant Athletic Trainer who provides medical care for the women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams at Liberty. Lyons completed his undergraduate work at Liberty where he graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training.
Following his undergraduate studies at Liberty, Lyons remained for two more years as a graduate assistant working with the Liberty cheerleading, tennis, golf, lacrosse and field hockey teams. Lyons was then promoted to a full-time staff member where he has worked for the past year with the field hockey and lacrosse teams. He completed his Master of Education degree in Leadership in summer 2017.
Kayla Bailey started in her role as Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2018.
In her current position, Bailey assists with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty women’s soccer program.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Bailey attended Kent State and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in May 2017. She also completed a one-year internship at Cleveland State. Bailey is currently pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science with a cognate in exercise science, which she expects to complete in May 2020.
Bailey currently resides in Lynchburg.
Amanda Covington stepped into her position of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2017.
In her current role, Covington is responsible for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty swimming & diving program. During the 2017-18 academic year, Covington was responsible for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty men’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s swimming & diving programs during their offseasons.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Covington was an Intern Athletic Trainer at Auburn for the 2016-17 academic year. She worked with the women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s track & field programs for the Tigers.
Covington obtained a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Delta State in 2016, graduating cum laude. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science with a focus in human performance, which she expects to complete in May 2019.
Covington currently resides in Lynchburg.
Kristen Dodge stepped into her position as Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2018.
In her current role, Dodge assists with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty football program.
Prior to starting at Liberty, Dodge served as an athletic training intern at Presbyterian for the 2017-18 academic year for the volleyball and softball programs. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Erskine in May 2017. Dodge played college volleyball at Erskine, winning two conference titles with the Flying Fleet.
Dodge also gained experience in the athletic training field, as she served as an intern with USA Volleyball at its training center in Anaheim, Calif.
She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sport management – sports administration, which she expects to complete in spring 2020.
Dodge currently lives in Lynchburg.
Dillon Lesniak stepped into his current role as Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2018.
In his current position, Lesniak assists with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty men’s soccer and baseball programs.
Prior to stepping into the graduate assistantship, Lesniak served as a student athletic trainer at Liberty during his senior year, assisting the Lady Flames field hockey and lacrosse programs. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in May 2018 with magna cum laude distinction.
Lesniak is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human performance with a clinical cognate, which he expects to finish in May 2020.
Lesniak currently resides in Lynchburg.
Jamie Morris began in her role of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2017.
In her current role, Morris is responsible for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Lady Flames field hockey and lacrosse programs during their offseasons. Last year, she assisted in the same capacity for the Liberty cheerleading and men’s and women’s tennis programs.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training with a minor in health and psychology from Erskine in 2016. She was also a member of the Erskine women’s soccer team for four years (2012-16).
During the 2016-17 academic year, Morris interned at Charleston Southern and worked with the football, men’s and women’s track & field and cross country programs.
She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sport management, which she expects to finish in May 2019.
Morris currently resides in Lynchburg.
Jackson Roper began serving as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2017.
In his current position, Roper helps with prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty track & field programs. Last year, Roper served in the same capacity for the Flames' football program.
Roper earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Western Carolina in May 2017. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science with a human performance cognate, which he expects to complete in May 2019.
Roper currently resides in Lynchburg.
Noah Wilson assumed his role of Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer in July 2018.
In his current position, Wilson assists with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the Liberty football program.
Wilson graduated from Olivet Nazarene in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training and summa cum laude distinction. While at Olivet Nazarene, Wilson assisted with the football program from August-November 2016. From Feb.-April 2017, he gained athletic training experience at Bourbonnais-Bradley Community High School, helping out with the soccer, baseball, track & field and water polo programs. In 2017, Wilson received the Morris Lang Oak Orthopedic Award.
Wilson is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human performance with a cognate in strength & conditioning, which he expects to complete in May 2020.
Wilson currently resides in Lynchburg.
Kristyn Goodman joined the Flames’ athletic department staff in August 2017 as the Athletic Insurance Coordinator.
Goodman graduated with honors from Virginia in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. While at Virginia, she was a four-year scholarship athlete on the softball team.
Goodman’s other experience working in athletics includes serving as a front office intern for the Richmond Braves.
Goodman and her husband, Robert, reside in Forest, Va. The couple has two daughters, Kelsey and Amy. Kelsey is a volleyball player at Roanoke College, and Amy plays volleyball at Eastern Mennonite University.
Phone: (434) 582-8562
Phone: (434) 582-2106
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. He was promoted to his current position as Assistant AD for Strength and Conditioning during the Summer of 2018.
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 eight Big South titles (2007-10, 2012-14, 2016) 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 62-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 former associate strength and conditioning coach Dave Williams gave 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.
Following a four-year playing career with the Flames and a four-year stint on Liberty’s football coaching staff, Bryant Lewellyn has joined Liberty’s strength and conditioning staff.
Joining head football strength and conditioning coach Bill Gillespie’s staff in February 2017, Lewellyn is part of a staff charged with training Liberty’s football players to be ready for the program’s transition to being a FBS program in 2018.
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 (2009-12), head football 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 players 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 by 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 number since finishing with the same total in 1997. All 29 sacks were recorded by Liberty’s defensive linemen.
Liberty 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-highest win total in program history and advanced to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
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.
Chima Uzowihe closed out his stellar four-year career at Liberty in 2015 as the program and Big South record holder with 25.0 career sacks. The defensive lineman also ranks second in school history and third in the Big South record books with 44.0 career tackles for a loss.
Uzowihe was showered with honors during his senior year. The three-time All-Big South defensive end was named the 2015 Big South Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award. He earned All-America honors from STATS FCS and the Associated Press.
Lewellyn was part of three Big South championship teams as a player (2009, 2010 and 2012) and three more as part of the Flames’ coaching staff in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
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 in tackles for a loss (5.5) 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, a graduate from Liberty in 2013 with a degree in kinesiology, and his wife, Casey, reside in the Lynchburg area.
Phone: (434) 592-4861
Henry Barrera joined the Liberty men’s basketball program as its Director of Performance in June 2015 and was promoted to his current position as Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports in July 2018.
Barrera comes to Liberty from the state of Oregon, where he was a Performance Training Specialist at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton. While at Nike he was instrumental in designing training content for multiple projects including Jordan Brand's Terminal 23 in New York and The Hangar in Los Angeles. He continues to consultant with many training companies including Nike Basketball, the Jordan Brand, Nike N7, Shoot 360 and multiple others.
As a basketball player, Barrera began his college career with Leon Rice at Yakima Valley Community College helping rebuild a dormant program and eventually becoming league co-champs in 1996-97. After two years at Yakima Valley Community College Henry moved onto Multnomah University where he had a stellar career, averaging close to 20.0 ppg and dishing out almost 8.0 apg. Barrera was rewarded for his hard work and dedication by being named a three-time All-American and was ultimately honored with the 1999-2000 NCCAA Pete Maravich National Player of the Year award.
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. Along the way, Barrera made a stop at Concordia University, serving as the men's basketball strength and conditioning coach for four years, where he received a Master's degree. In addition, Barrera has spent the last decade serving in multiple capacities at the high school level, including the last seven years at West Linn High School where he helped build the Lions into one of the top programs in the country, winning three straight Oregon state championships.
Barerra has built a strong reputation for his relentless pursuit to improve human performance, specifically for basketball players. His history as a player and integrated training philosophy allow him to impact the program in multiple ways.
Barrera has owned and operated Hoop Diaries, a basketball and performance training company for the last seven years, training athletes world-wide with the mission of learning, sharing and growing.
He makes his way to the Hill City along with his wife of 15 years, Melody, and four children - three daughters, Maya, Malia, and Moriah, and son, Marquez.
Katie Guillory currently serves as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for Olympic Sports, a position she was promoted to in July 2016. In her current role, Guillory directs the strength and conditioning programs for Liberty’s softball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis teams. She is also the intern coordinator for the department, assisting Liberty’s intern with their developmental program.
Guillory joined the Liberty University Athletics Department in January of 2015 as a graduate assistant for strength and conditioning, primarily working with cheerleading and softball, while assisting with men’s golf.
Prior to joining the Flame’s staff, Guillory served as a Sports Performance Coach at Traction C.S.E, a private sector sports performance facility, in Baton Rouge, La. When at Traction, she trained athletes of all ages and assisted with elite football and basketball athletes of all professional levels. Additionally, Guillory also served as an Exercise Specialist in the Cardiology Department for Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, La.
Guillory served as an intern at Traction in the summer of 2012 before she was hired full time in August 2013. She also returned to LSU during the summer of 2016 to do an internship with Melissa Seal Moore, her mentor and former strength and conditioning coach, working primarily with softball, women’s basketball and men’s basketball.
Prior to her time at Traction, Guillory was a four-year member of the LSU Tiger softball program (2009-13). The team captain was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2012 and 2013 and helped the Tigers advance to the 2012 Women’s College World Series.
Guillory is a member of the Certified Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa), where she holds her Strength & Conditioning Coaches Certification (SCCC). She is also a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Guillory received her Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Louisiana State University in August of 2012. The native of Lafayette, La., earned a Master of Science in Exercise Science with a dual cognate in Performance and Nutrition from Liberty in May of 2017.
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.
Former Liberty volleyball standout Karyl Wiese returned to her alma mater in December 2012, and currently serves as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for Olympic Sports.
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.
Phone: (434) 582-2103
Fax: (434) 582-2912
No stranger to the Liberty baseball program, having served as the Flames’ pitching coach in 2008, Scott Jackson was named its seventh head coach in June of 2016.
In his first two seasons at the helm, Liberty has been among the nation’s top 50 teams in runs scored, on base percentage and walks at the end of its season. The Flames have finished each of the past two years in the top two in the country at the end of each of its season in bases on balls, finishing first in 2017 and second in 2018. In addition, Liberty led the Big South Conference in runs scored and on base percentage each year.
The Flames have also made their mark in the classroom, posting cumulative team GPA’s of 3.0 or better in each of Jackson’s seasons at the helm. The 2017 team posted a 3.03 team GPA and had 17 players selected the Big South Presidential Honor Roll. The 2018 squad boasted 19 Big South Presidential Honor Roll members and a team GPA of 3.11.
Despite losing three experienced pitchers to injury early in the season, Jackson was able to guide Liberty to a 32-26 overall mark and finished third in its final year in the Big South Conference with a 17-10 record. After dropping their first game at the 2018 Big South Championship, the Flames won three straight elimination games to force a winner take all game with eventual champion Campbell to move on to the title contest.
Jackson’s Flames set new single season program records for bases on balls (356), fewest errors (48) and fielding percentage (.977). In addition to runs scored and on base percentage, Liberty also led the Big South in RBI, doubles, triples and walks.
Following the season, Artis and catcher/outfielder Tre Todd were named to the all-conference first team, while third baseman Tyler Galazin and pitcher Garret Price received all-conference honorable mention. Artis and Todd, along with pitchers Jack DeGroat and Jackson Bertsch went on to be selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. Artis becomes the highest Liberty draft pick since outfielder Ian Parmley was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.
In 2017, Jackson led the Flames to a 33-23 record and a second place finish in the Big South regular season standings with a 16-8 mark.
Following the season, Jackson saw outfielder D.J. Artis named the 2017 Big South Player of the Year and earn selection to three different All-American teams: Baseball America, National Collegiate Baseball Writers and D1Baseball.com. In addition, he saw pitcher Caleb Evans drafted by the Oakland A’s in the MLB Draft.
Artis led the nation in walks and finished second in on base percentage, while on the mound, the Liberty pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in the conference.
During his one season with the Flames in 2008 as their pitching coach, Jackson helped Liberty post a 35-26-1 record and a 14-7 mark in Big South play. Liberty was the No. 2 seed at the 2008 Big South Baseball Championship and advanced to the event's title game.
Following the 2008 season, two of Jackson's pupils were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Left-hander Ryan Page was selected in the 20th round by the Toronto Blue Jays and right-hander David Stokes was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round.
In 2008, Jackson became an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of North Carolina, where he spent eight seasons (2009-2016). Jackson worked with the Tar Heels offense, as well as hitting, base running and infield play.
During his eight seasons in Chapel Hill, N.C., Jackson helped North Carolina post a 345-156 record, make three College World Series appearances (2009, 2011 and 2013), advance to six-straight NCAA Regionals (2009-14) and win the 2013 ACC Championship.
Prior the 2013 season, Jackson was recognized by Baseball America as one of the top assistant coaches in the country. His efforts in building the Tar Heel roster and player development helped produce the most successful season in UNC Baseball history. The Tar Heels advanced to the College World Series and were one of the final three teams remaining in Omaha. The 2013 squad finished 59-12 overall and 21-7 in ACC play, while recording Carolina’s third ACC Championship. However, perhaps the biggest feat by the 2013 Tar Heels was that they never lost back-to-back games at any time during the season.
During the Tar Heels' run to the 2011 College World Series, North Carolina had one of its top scoring seasons in school history. The Tar Heels finished the year ranked No. 10 in the country with 452 runs scored. Jackson's batters proved to be patient hitters, finishing the year ranked No. 2 in the country in walks (358).
North Carolina had continued success at the plate during the 2012 season, finishing the year ranked No. 4 in the nation in walks (304). The following season, the Tar Heels led the country in hits (759), runs (542) and walks (369).
After joining the coaching staff at North Carolina in July 2008, Jackson helped the Tar Heels have 44 players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft including coaching and/or recruiting eight 1st round picks, 7 top 5 rd. picks, and 10 top 10 rd. picks.
North Carolina's top offensive selection in 2016 was outfielder Tyler Ramirez, who was a seventh-round selection by the Oakland Athletics. He finished the 2016 season hitting .333, with 11 doubles, eight home runs, 47 RBI and a .540 slugging percentage.
Jackson worked with freshman All-America second baseman Levi Michael who was the 30th overall selection in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins.
Third baseman Colin Moran came to North Carolina as an unheralded recruit but developed into one of the top hitters in the country as he earned All-America honors and was named the Baseball America Freshman of the Year in 2011. As a junior, Moran was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, led the nation with 91 RBIs and was the No. 6 overall pick of the Miami Marlins in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Jackson helped coach three-time All-American Dustin Ackley to Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year honors and also mentored all-conference selection Kyle Seager. Both Ackley and Seager were selected in the top three rounds of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, and Seager was both an AL All-Star and UNC's first Gold Glove winner in 2014.
Jackson's efforts on the recruiting trail paid off for the Tar Heels, as the program consistently signed classes that ranked among the nation's best. The 2010 group of newcomers ranked No. 7 nationally, the 2011 class was ranked No. 6, the 2012 crop was ranked No. 4, the 2013 edition was ranked No. 5, the incoming class of 2014 was ranked No. 1 and the 2015 edition was ranked No. 5.
Prior to his single season at Liberty, Jackson served five seasons on staff at UNC Wilmington as pitching coach (2003-07). The Seahawks posted a three-consecutive seasons and captured the Colonial Athletic Association titles in 2004 and 2006. Having never been to a regional in school history, UNC Wilmington also advanced to NCAA Regional play in 2003 (Baton Rouge), 2004 (Kinston) and 2006 (Chapel Hill).
Under Jackson's tutelage, six Seahawk pitchers were selected in the MLB Draft after going undrafted out of high school including Brad Holt who was a 1st Rd. pick in 2008 (33rd overall) by the New York Mets. His pitching staffs established a number of school records at Wilmington, including strikeouts and saves.
Jackson also had coaching stints at Campbell (2002), Barton (2001) and Wofford (2000). In addition to his collegiate work, Jackson also spent two seasons with the Wilmington Sharks, where he was an assistant 2000 and Head Coach in 2002. He led the Sharks to a league-best 31-17 mark in 2002 as head coach and coached five MLB draft picks.
Jackson is a 1998 graduate of Campbell with a bachelor's degree in physical education and he earned a master's degree in education in 2000, also from Campbell. During his playing days with the Camels, he played seven different positions and posted a career .268 batting average in 182 games.
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Jackson is married to the former Sara Moore, who was a standout basketball player at Campbell. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Tyler.
Tyler Cannon joined the Liberty Baseball staff as an assistant coach in the summer of 2016. Cannon assists in all aspects of the Liberty baseball program, while focusing on the team's infielders and hitters.
This past season, Liberty posted 32-26 overall mark and finished third in its final year in the Big South Conference with a 17-10 record in Cannon’s second season on the Flames coaching staff.
Cannon’s work with the team’s infielders produced new single season records for fewest errors (48) and fielding percentage (.977). In addition for the second consecutive year, Liberty hitters set a new single season record for bases on balls (356). The Flames also led the Big South in RBI, doubles, triples and walks.
At season’s end, Cannon saw outfielder D.J. Artis, catcher/outfielder Tre Todd and third baseman Tyler Galazin were named to the all-conference teams. Artis and Todd, went on to be selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. Artis became the highest Liberty draft pick since outfielder Ian Parmley was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.
In his first season with the Flames, he helped guide Liberty to a 33-23 record and a second place finish in the Big South regular season standings with a 16-8 mark in 2017. An infielder in his playing days, Cannon played a key role in the development of the Liberty infield, as the Flames started freshmen at both shortstop and third base.
Following the season, Cannon saw outfielder D.J. Artis, named the 2017 Big South Player of the Year and earn selection to three different All-American teams: Baseball America, National Collegiate Baseball Writers and D1Baseball.com.
Paced by Artis, who led the nation in walks and finished second in on base percentage, the Flames led the Big South in runs scored and on base percentage.
Cannon joined the Liberty coaching staff after two years as an assistant coach at Army. Before his time at West Point, Cannon served as a student assistant coach at his alma mater Virginia, helping the Cavalilers finish as the 2014 National Runner-up.
Cannon helped play a key role in the development of 2016 Patroit League first team shortstop Kris Linder. After two seasons at second base, Linder had a breakthrough season in 2016 for the Black Knights, leading the team with a .315 batting average and 53 hits. He also posted a .430 on base percentage, starting 46 of Army's 48 games.
In 2014 on the staff of his former Head Coach Brian O'Connor at his alma mater Virginia, the Cavaliers posted a 53-16 overall record and a 22-8 mark in ACC play. In addition, Virginia had a stellar 34-4 mark at home.
The Cavaliers hosted the NCAA Charlottesville Regional and Super Regional, before advancing to Omaha for the College World Series.
A two-time All-ACC shortstop and four-year letterwinner at Virginia, Cannon played in a school-record 244 games, starting 238. He started on four NCAA Tournament teams and was the shortstop for the 2009 Cavaliers squad which captured the ACC Championship and advance to the program's first College World Series. Cannon was named to the 2009 All-College World Series Team.
Cannon hit .303 during his time in Charlottesville. He collected 276 hits, which his tied for the second most in school history. The infielder also holds school records with 62 career doubles and 910 at bats. In addition, the former shortstop ranks third in program history with 12 triples and 185 runs scored, fifth with 380 total bases and eighth with 49 stolen bases and 107 walks.
Cannon was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft on two occasions. In 2009, he was the 41stround selection of Pittsburgh Pirates, before returning to Virginia for his senior year. The following year, Cannon was chosen in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He played three seasons in the Indians' farm system, reaching Double-A in 2011. He retired in 2013.
Cannon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia in 2014. The Pigeon Forge, Tenn., native is married. He and his wife Allison have two daughters, Brooklyn and Savannah.
A member of the Liberty baseball coaching staff since July 2016, Bryant Gaines serves as the Flames' pitching coach and assists in all aspects of the Liberty baseball program.
The Flames pitching staff has posted a lower ERA, walked fewer batters, recorded more strikeouts and held opponents to lower batting average in each year than in 2016, the year prior to his arrival. In addition, Liberty has been among the conference leaders in wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, hits allowed and opponent batting average.
With freshman pitchers throwing 215 2/3 innings of Liberty’s 510 1/3 innings pitched in 2018, the Flames were among the Big South leaders in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, saves and opponent batting average. Two of those freshman, Brady Stamper and Noah Skirrow, each earned Big South Freshman of the Week honors during the season.
Second-year pitcher Garret Price, who pitched more innings and increased his strikeouts over his freshman year in 2017, went on to be an all-conference selection, Jackson Bertsch also flourished during his senior season. The right-hander lowered his ERA by 2.50 runs over his 2017 season, while pitching 25 more innings.
Bertsch and fellow right-hander Jack DeGroat went on to be selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. DeGroat was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the 11th round, while Bertsch was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 29th round.
In 2017, the Flames pitching staff’s first under Gaines’ watch, Liberty allowed the fewest runs in the Big South Conference and finished second in ERA. With only one new pitcher on the staff from the previous season, the Flames’ lowered their ERA by over one run and yielded 100 less bases on balls than in 2016.
DeGroat, who went on to be a Cape Cod All-Star during the summer of 2017, lowered his ERA by over 1.50 runs and struck out five more batters per nine innings than the previous year in 2017. Senior Caleb Evans, who was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2017 MLB Draft, also significantly lowered his ERA by over 4.50 runs from the previous season.
Gaines spent nine seasons as a member of the North Carolina Tar Heel program. During his time with the Tar Heels, North Carolina advanced to five College World Series, including four consecutive appearances as a player from 2007-11.
A number of mound standouts pitched for the Tar Heels during Gaines’ time in Chapel Hill.
Eight Carolina pitchers went on to be drafted or sign major league contracts during his four years on the Tar Heel coaching staff. In addition, three UNC pitchers earned All-American and All-Region honors, while five pitchers, including 2013 ACC Pitcher of the Year Kent Emanuel were selected All-ACC perfomers.
Gaines battled back from Tommy John surgery twice, once in 2004 and once in 2009, during his time at North Carolina, to make 35 appearances for the Tar Heels and served as team captain in 2010 and 2011. Off the field, he was an Athletic Director Scholar Athlete award winner and a John Lotz Scholar Athlete Award winniner in 2011. Gaines graduated from North Carolina in 2011 with a degree in sports administration and a minor in coaching.
A Coastal Plains League All-Star as a player during the summers of 2007 and 2011, the Weddington, N.C. native was the head coach of the Coastal Plains League's Wilson Tobs in 2015. He recruited the entire 40-man roster, seeing two of his pitchers, Jared Janczak of TCU and Carson Teel of Oklahoma State go on to pitch, while Cole Bedford caught for Texas A&M in the 2016 College World Series. Six members of the Tobs, Janczak, Teel, Carson Sherrod of Texas A&M, Marcus Mooney of USC, Chris Clare of High Point and Trey York of ETSU were all drafted by MLB teams.
Gaines is married to the former Riley Foster, who played field hockey at North Carolina. Foster played on two national championship teams during her four years with the Tar Heels.
The Director of Baseball Operations for the Liberty baseball program since July 2014, Daniel Brown 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.
Former Liberty catcher Payton Scarbrough joined the Flames coaching staff in July of 2018. Scarborough works with the team’s catchers and hitters and is responsible for field maintenance and camps.
In two seasons at Liberty, Scarbrough played in 79 games, posting a .261 batting average with eight home runs, 33 RBI and 43 runs scored. The catcher threw out 39 percent of the runners trying to steal during his Flames career. In addition, Scarbrough earned inclusion on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll in each of his two years for his efforts in the classroom.
Before transferring to Liberty, he hit .383 with 39 RBI and 42 runs scored in 46 games at Eastern Oklahoma State in 2015.
Scarbrough graduated from Liberty with a degree in criminal justice in 2017 and is currently, working on his master’s degree in Christian Ministry. A newlywed, Scarbrough and his wife Danielle, a Liberty student, married this past summer.
Jordan Ballard brings 15 years of college cheerleading experience with him to Liberty, including four years as an assistant coach and three years as head cheerleading coach.
He came to Liberty in 2001 and was a three-year member of the cheerleading squad, competing at Cheersport Nationals with the Coed team. While at Liberty, he was a member of the honors program and received his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2004.
For fourteen years (2003-16), Ballard worked for Christian Cheerleaders of America, serving as instructor (2003-04), team leader (2005-12), senior team leader (2013-15) and camp director (2016). While with the organization, Ballard 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 in 2014. Ballard is a part of a coaching staff that has helped Liberty’s cheerleading team with nine top 10 finishes at UCA and NCA College Nationals. He also coached Liberty’s second competition team to four national grand championships at CCA Nationals (2013-16), the women’s STUNT team to a top five national ranking (2016) and helped the mascot team win a national championship (2016).
Ballard earned graduate 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 School of Divinity. 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 four young children: Jenna, Kara, Blaze, and Brett.
Assistant Coach Nicholas Thomason was born and raised in South Carolina where he received his undergraduate degree from North Greenville University in 2010. He cheered at NGU for three years and then cheered for two years at Liberty while pursuing his graduate degree, competing with the Flames at the UCA College National Championship in 2013 and 2014. Thomason has staffed for Christian Cheerleaders of America (2010) and for the Universal Cheerleading Association (2011-present) and is a certified Virginia High School League (VHSL) cheerleading official. He currently works at Liberty as an academic advisor and is pursuing a second master’s degree. Thomason enjoys fishing the river with his dog, Copper, during his free time.
Phone: (434) 582-2393
One year after joining Liberty’s staff as an assistant coach, Nikki Parsley-Blocker was named the program’s second head coach on January 16, 2017.
Parsley-Blocker joined Liberty’s staff as an assistant coach on May 1 in time for Liberty’s first season as a part of the BIG EAST Conference. Parsley-Blocker is the second head coach in the history of the program, taking over for program founder Jodi Murphy, who left in December 2016.
In her first season as head coach, Parsley-Blocker guided Liberty to an 8-11 mark and a No. 23 national ranking at season's end. The Lady Flames finished 5-2 in BIG EAST regular-season play for a second straight year and placed as the runner-up at the 2017 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship. The Lady Flames faced nine nationally ranked foes in 2017, including all four 2017 Division I Field Hockey Championship Final Four participants.
Parsley-Blocker instructed Liberty's four All-BIG EAST selections in 2017 - Agueda Moroni (first team), Jill Bolton (first team), Ashley Dykema (first team) and Allison Schaefer (second team). Moroni also went on to become the third All-American in program history, earning NFHCA Division I All-America second team recognition.
Moroni (first team) and Bolton (second team) both garnered inclusion on the NFHCA All-South Region team. In addition, Moroni (first team), Bolton (second team) and Dykema (second team) all garnered recognition on the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Field Hockey All-State University Division team.
During her first season with the Lady Flames in fall 2016, Parsley-Blocker helped Liberty post an 8-10 record and finish in second place in the BIG EAST with a 5-2 conference mark. The Lady Flames squared off against 10 nationally ranked opponents in 2016, spotlighted by a 2-1 overtime victory against No. 20 American on Oct. 6.
Parsley-Blocker coached Liberty’s five All-BIG EAST selections in 2016, including BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Allison Schaefer and BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year Serena Barr. Barr also went on to earn NFHCA Division I All-America second team honors, becoming the second All-American in program history.
“From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew there was something unbelievably special about Liberty University and its field hockey program,” commented Parsley-Blocker. “I truly believe Liberty is set apart from any other institution in the country to allow the school to glorify Jesus Christ. There is absolutely no place I would rather coach at than Liberty, and I’m blessed for the opportunity to lead such a unique group of young women.”
"In just six short years, the Liberty field hockey program has established itself as a nationally prominent team, competing against the top teams in the nation, and I look forward to ushering LUFH into its next chapter,” continued Parsley-Blocker. “My mission is to prepare players for lifelong success on and off the field by leading them closer to Christ, whilst developing a highly competitive and intense environment. After working with the team for the last year, we will look to build upon our success, continue to grow and make history.”
Parsley-Blocker came to Liberty after spending the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an assistant coach at Yale.
Prior to her two-year stint at Yale, Parsley-Blocker concluded a standout career at Northwestern in 2014, where she earned second team All-America honors as a senior. Parsley-Blocker was a four-time All-West region pick and a three-time All-Big 10 selection.
A forward/midfielder, Parsley-Blocker started 76 games, totaling 33 goals and 76 points. The Wildcats went 54-27 in Parsley-Blocker's playing career, earning a share of the Big Ten championship in 2014.
Parsley-Blocker also has extensive experience with USA Field Hockey, including playing for the U.S. at the Four Nations Tournament in New Zealand in April 2013. She also played on the junior national team at the Junior World Cup in Germany in August 2013, helping the U.S. to a seventh-place finish, tied for the best in the team's history.
In January 2013, Parsley-Blocker played in the Australian Youth Olympics, and in September 2012 she played in the Junior Pan American Games in Mexico. She helped the U.S. to a third-place finish at the Junior Pan Am Games, leading the team with eight goals.
Parsley-Blocker has also played for the U.S. U-21 team (on a tour of England in April 2012) and the U.S. U-19 team (on a tour of Chile in April 2011). She is currently an assistant coach for the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team.
Parsley-Blocker received her B.S. in education and social policy from Northwestern in 2014. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three times, was on the Dean's List three times and was also a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.
Parsley-Blocker is originally from Milford, Del.
Parsley-Blocker, formerly Parsley, is married to Liberty Assistant Athletic Trainer Hugh Blocker, who serves as the athletic trainer for the Lady Flames and Flames cross country and track & field programs. The couple was married in Jan. 2018.
After spending five years on the Liberty field hockey staff, Jacki Bolt returned to Liberty as an assistant coach beginning on March 1, 2017.
Bolt returns to the Liberty field hockey staff as the goalkeeping and defensive coach after spending 2016 as an assistant at William & Mary. Bolt served as an assistant coach for the Lady Flames under Jodi Murphy during the program’s first five years (2011-15).
“I am thrilled to be back with the Flames and extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with (head coach) Nikki (Parsley) as we look to continue to further develop the championship culture within the program,” Bolt stated. “I was blessed to be a part of the program’s early success and I am humbled by the opportunity to be a part of this next era of Liberty Field Hockey.”
Bolt served as the goalkeepers coach in her first stint with Liberty while also providing administrative support for the program, assisting with recruiting and team travel. Under Bolt’s guidance, Liberty goalkeepers, Mallory Cuccio (1st, 1.01 GAA in 2012) and Ann Jefferis (3rd, 0.95 GAA in 2013), ranked in the top-three in the nation in goals-against average. The Lady Flames also won back-to-back NorPac Championships in 2013 and 2014, earning NCAA Tournament berths in both years.
In Bolt’s lone year with the William & Mary Tribe, she worked with the Tribe goalkeepers and also assisted with administration, recruiting and on-the-field coaching. With Bolt’s aid, Tribe freshman goalkeeper, Morgan Connor, was named to the CAA All-Rookie team. Connor was also named the CAA Rookie of the Week on one occasion (Sept. 21, 2016).
“Jacki’s deep-rooted passion for Jesus and extensive knowledge of Liberty make her an immediate asset to our team. Her joy in life is infectious, and her hockey knowledge will help take our program to new heights,” stated Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Nikki Parsley. “For student-athletes who desire to grow athletically, socially, academically, and spiritually, Jacki will be an incredible mentor to the players during their time at Liberty and beyond. I’m ecstatic to have her in back in red and blue.”
Heather Hefner (formerly Wiley) joined the Liberty field hockey staff as an assistant coach on May 1, 2018.
“I am thrilled to be getting the opportunity to join the LUFH staff. I have always admired and respected Liberty’s field hockey program and the way they carry out their business both on and off the field,” Hefner stated. “This team is and has always been about something bigger, and it shows in its work ethic and passion. I am so excited to join them on this journey of honoring and glorifying God through the game of field hockey.”
Hefner joins the Lady Flames field hockey program after spending a year as a volunteer assistant coach for the Delaware Blue Hens and head coach Rolf Van de Kerkhof. In her one year with the Blue Hens, the 2016 national champions, Delaware posted a 15-5 record and captured its fifth consecutive CAA title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Hefner coached two All-American selections (Greta Nauck and Taylor Lister), the NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year (Nauck), four Longstreth/NFHCA All-Region honorees and eight CAA All-Conference players. With Hefner on staff, Delaware ranked in the top 10 in nine NCAA statistical categories, including: scoring average, goals per game, goals-against-average, scoring margin, winning percentage, assists per game, points per game, save percentage and defensive saves.
Hefner was a defender and four-year letter winner at Wake Forest (2013-17). She made 76 appearances and 48 starts during her career with the Demon Deacons. Wiley was a three-time NFHCA All-Academic team honoree while at Wake Forest and graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minors in journalism and communication.
“Heather is an excellent addition to our staff. Her love for Jesus and collegiate playing experience under Jen Averill at Wake Forest has prepared her to thrive as a coach at Liberty,” Parsley-Blocker said. “I could not be more excited to have such a passionate person as a part of my program. I know that she will be an immediate asset to our players both on and off the pitch. Heather will primarily work with our defensive unit and play a major role in recruiting and the spiritual development of our program.”
Hefner currently resides in Lynchburg, Va., and is married to Hunter Hefner. The couple was married in June 2018.
Phone: (434) 582-2040
Fax: (434) 582-2049
Since taking over Liberty’s football program, head football coach Turner Gill has elevated Liberty’s winning tradition to the next level. The coaching veteran of nearly three decades has the Flames positioned for success as they transition to the highest level of collegiate football.
Liberty has posted a winning record in each of Gill’s six seasons at the helm of the program, extending the Flames’ streak to 12 seasons in a row with a winning mark. Liberty is one of five FCS teams in the country to have posted a winning record for 11 or more consecutive seasons.
Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when Gill guided the Flames to a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
The 2017 season-opening win over the Bears was Liberty’s third over an FBS team during Gill’s time at Liberty and the program’s first-ever over a Power 5 opponent. Gill also guided the Flames to FBS wins over Appalachian State in 2014 and Georgia State in 2015, accounting for three of the program’s five total wins over FBS teams.
Prior to Liberty’s current transition to the FBS level, Gill guided the Flames to four Big South titles during his first six seasons on Liberty Mountain (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016). The successful run was spotlighted when he led Liberty into uncharted waters in 2014, leading 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 given annually to the top Division I coach in the Commonwealth of Virginia (both FBS and FCS coaches).
He was also selected the top Division I coach in Virginia by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID), the second for any head football coach in program history.
In his last 11 seasons as head coach at three different programs, Gill has led his teams to first-place conference finishes six times (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016).
Gill was hired as Liberty’s eighth head football coach 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 had the No. 2 ranked schedule in the country (ranked by the NCAA), which included a top-25 ranked FBS team and five top-25 ranked FCS programs.
During the 2015 campaign, Liberty squared off against three top-10 ranked FCS teams and faced two FBS opponents. Against the daunting slate, Liberty posted wins over No. 4 Coastal Carolina, No. 7 Montana, and Sun Belt foe Georgia State.
During Gill’s first three years at Liberty (2012-14), the Flames opened each year with a competitive game against a top-notch FBS opponent. 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 comeback victory in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In 2013, Kent State was able to break a 10-10 tie with less than five minutes left in the fourth to escape with a seven-point victory over the Flames.
The Flames opened 2014 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 19 nationally ranked FCS programs since Gill took over the program. Under his leadership, Liberty has posted wins over No. 1 Coastal Carolina, No. 4 Coastal Carolina, No. 6 Stony Brook, No. 7 Montana, No. 15 James Madison, No. 15 Charleston Southern, and No. 25 Bryant.
Three of Liberty’s seven ranked wins during Gill’s 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 in 2014 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 for their regular season finale. 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 archrival. 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 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 Robertson 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.
The Flames used the momentum of a postseason playoff run in 2014 to continue its success against the nation’s best teams in 2015. Liberty upended No. 7 Montana in front of a Williams Stadium record crowd of 22,551 fans while closing the year with a thrilling 24-21 victory over No. 4 Coastal Carolina. That final game aired on ESPNEWS, Liberty’s first-ever nationally televised game.
During the Flames’ final non-conference contest of 2015, Liberty knocked off Georgia State, 41-33, at the Georgia Dome. The eight-point victory was Liberty’s fourth over an FBS team and the second under Gill’s leadership.
Liberty posted wins over top-25 ranked teams during the first four years under Gill’s leadership — Liberty’s first coach to accomplish that feat in the program’s 43-year history.
Gill has helped develop some of the most gifted players in the Big South Conference during his six seasons at Liberty, with 80 players earning Big South all-conference honors and 36 selected to the VaSID all-state squads.
Gill’s player-development skills were put on full display during his first season at Liberty while coaching quarterback Josh Woodrum. Gill, with his vast personal knowledge as a highly decorated college quarterback, was able to help shape and mold Woodrum’s abilities.
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).
The quarterback 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 ranked as the second-highest passing total by a sophomore quarterback in program history.
Woodrum continued to excel during his four-year career under Gill’s leadership, allowing the quarterback to finish as the program’s all-time passing leader with 10,266 yards.
However, Woodrum wasn’t Liberty’s only football standout during this time. All-America safety Jacob Hagen led the nation in interceptions during the 2014 season. 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).
Chima Uzowihe, a fellow senior with Woodrum, capped off his career at Liberty by being named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award, both a first in program history.
Under Gill’s guidance, quarterback Stephen Calvert rewrote Liberty’s passing record book in 2017. The quarterback’s record-breaking season started when he threw for a school record 447 yards in Liberty’s win over Power 5 opponent Baylor. By season’s end, Calvert established new season program records for passing yards (3,363) and touchdowns (29), while tying the school’s completions record (257).
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 star cornerback in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (No. 125 overall pick).
Additionally, several other Flames received NFL training camp workout invitations shortly after the 2014 and 2015 NFL Drafts: Francis Bah (DL) – Chicago Bears; Kevin Fogg (CB) – Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins; Cory Freeman (DL) – Cleveland Browns; Aldreakis Allen (RB) – Indianapolis Colts; Jacob Hagen (DB) – St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers; and Dominique Davis (DL) – Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gill played an instrumental role in helping Woodrum and Flames All-America kicker John Lunsford receive invitations to the 2016 NFL Combine to showcase their talents for coaches and general managers at the next level.
Woodrum and Lunsford were the second and third players in program history to receive an NFL Combine invite and were two of only 22 FCS players at the showcase event.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 NFL Draft, Lunsford (San Francisco 49ers), Darrin Peterson (Chicago Bears), and Woodrum (N.Y. Giants) each signed free agent contracts with NFL franchises.
Gill was essential 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 as the No. 4 overall pick, signed with 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 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).
Liberty also 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).
CAREER BEFORE LIBERTY
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 highlighted 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.
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 year 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 was at his alma mater, Nebraska, where he served as an assistant coach from 1992 to 2004. He served as the Huskers' 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, Tommy Frazier (1995) and Eric Crouch (2001). Crouch became the third player in the storied history of the Husker program to win the Heisman Trophy, doing so in 2001.
Gill was honored in 2002 as 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 Huskers 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 Jan. 1, 1983.
Gill was a three-time Big Eight all-conference selection, and he earned second-team All-America honors and was a Heisman Trophy award finalist, where he finished fourth in the voting in 1983.
He 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 recently completed his second term as an American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees member (2009-11 and 2013-16).
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
2012-present – Liberty (Head Coach)
2010-11 – Kansas (Head Coach)
2006-09 – Buffalo (Head Coach)
2005 – Green Bay Packers (Director of Player Development/Off. Asst.)
1992-04 – Nebraska (Asst. HC, QB, WR)
1991 – SMU (WR)
1990 – Nebraska (GA)
1989 – 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)
Joe Dailey is no stranger to Turner Gill. As the former starting quarterback at both Nebraska and North Carolina, he has worked under Gill as a player and as a member of his coaching staff.
Their extensive working relationship led to Dailey’s promotion to the position of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The promotion was the second during Dailey’s time at Liberty. After joining the staff as quarterbacks coach in 2012, he was promoted to passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach heading into the 2014 season.
During his time at Liberty, Dailey instructed Josh Woodrum, the most successful and decorated quarterback in program history.
Woodrum finished the 2015 season as the program’s and Big South’s all-time leader with 10,266 passing yards. The four-year starter set a new program standard with 10,690 total offensive yards and ranks second in program history for touchdowns with 59.
Following Woodrum’s senior year, Dailey’s top pupil was invited to participate in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He was also one of 22 FCS players invited to the 2016 NFL Combine. Woodrum and fellow teammate John Lunsford were Liberty’s first invitees to the NFL Combine since 2009.
Woodrum signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants following the 2016 NFL Draft and then began training camp with the Indianapolis Colts. Following the 2017 season, the Baltimore Ravens added Woodrum to their practice squad list where he worked out with the team during the offseason.
Additionally, Dailey has helped with the development of two younger quarterbacks, each leading the Flames to a Big South title. With Woodrum on the sidelines due to an injury in 2014, Stephon Masha guided Liberty’s offense during the Flames’ upset win over No. 1 Coastal Carolina, a victory that pushed Liberty into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
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.
Prior to Liberty’s move to the FBS level, Dailey helped Liberty win four Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty 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-highest win total in program history.
In 2016, Stephen Calvert took over as the starting quarterback midway through the season, and the true freshman guided the Flames to the program’s eighth Big South title. Calvert was named a HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America honorable mention selection and finished in 10th place in the final voting for the Jerry Rice Award (top freshman FCS player in the country).
Calvert followed his breakout freshman season by rewriting Liberty’s single-season passing record books in 2017. He finished the year with a program record 3,636 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, while matching the program record for completions. If Liberty was eligible for FCS national rankings, Calvert would have ranked No. 9 in the country in passing yards per game (303.5) and No. 7 in passing touchdowns (Liberty was not eligible due to its FBS transition process).
Dailey helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
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. 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.
As a sophomore at Nebraska, Dailey established new quarterbacking standards. In Nebraska's matchup against Colorado, he became the first quarterback in program history to throw 300 yards in a game and also set a single-game passing record with 342 yards in a 59-27 victory over Baylor.
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.
Dailey transferred to North Carolina where he finished the last two years of his playing career. In 2006, he started seven games as quarterback and led the program with 1,316 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The following year, Dailey finished his Tar Heel days as a starting wide receiver.
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).
After his college career, Dailey worked under Gill during his final two seasons at Buffalo as 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’s most recent connection with Gill was at Kansas, when he served as Gill’s on-campus recruiting coordinator in 2010.
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 a run-oriented spread offense.
Dailey at a Glance
2012-present – Liberty (QB, Passing Coord., Off. Coord.)
2011 – Bethune-Cookman (QB)
2010 – Kansas (On-campus RC)
2008-09 – Buffalo (TE, Off. GA)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Virginia Beach area), Connecticut, Florida (Central Florida/West Palm), Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont
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's coaching staff gained another member with vast levels of experience when Scott Downing was named the program's special teams coordinator and running backs coach on Feb. 1, 2016.
Following his first season with the program, Downing's coaching staff responsibilities shifted when he was named the special teams coordinator, tight ends, and fullbacks coach on Dec. 14, 2016.
During Downing's first season with the Flames, Liberty had four special teams players earn All-Big South honors. Kicker Alex Probert, punter Trey Turner, and long snapper Hunter Winstead each garnered first-team honors, while return specialist Frankie Hickson was a second-team honoree.
Probert was named to the HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America honorable mention listing. Probert, who set a program record in scoring by a freshman, also finished in 17th place in the final voting for the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman in the country).
Winstead finished his career as an All-American both on the field and in the classroom. The long snapper was named to the STATS FCS All-America third team in 2016 and 2017, while he was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America ® second team.
Downing helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
Downing brought over three decades of NCAA coaching experience 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 semifinals game.
Under Downing’s guidance, Toronto had the No. 1 and No. 3 individual 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 University of Central Florida in the championship game before defeating 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 leading scorer with 299 career points.
Prior to his days at Tulsa, Downing served as head coach at Northern Colorado for five seasons from 2006-10 during its first years at the FCS level and in the Big Sky Conference.
Downing coached nine All-Big Sky performers as 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 Huskers (2003-04). Downing served as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach from 2003-05. In 2003, Nebraska tight end Matt Herian was named to the All-Big 12 first team.
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.
He worked with punter Kyle Larson at Nebraska, helping him earn All-America honors and become a finalist for the 2003 Ray Guy Award (top punter in the country).
Downing’s recruiting efforts paid off for Nebraska as the Huskers had the No. 5 recruiting class in the country, ranked by Rivals.com. Nebraska also had a pair of freshman All-Americans in 2003 and 2004.
During his time at Nebraska, Downing coached punter Sam Koch, who was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award and is currently a punter for the Baltimore Ravens.
Downing spent six years at Purdue as assistant head coach, special teams coordinator, and running backs coach from 1997-2002.
Purdue made 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 Huskers’ freshman team in 1986.
Nebraska was the Big Eight Champion and won the Sugar Bowl in 1984, leading the nation in total defense.
Downing started his coaching career 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 letter-winner 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.
Downing at a Glance
2016 - Present – Liberty (ST Coord./RB/TE&FB)
2015 – Toronto Argonauts (ST Coord.)
2011-14 – Tulsa (Asst. HC, TE, ST Coord.)
2006-10 – Northern Colorado (HC)
2003-05 – Nebraska (Rec. Coord., TE)
1997-02 – Purdue (Asst. HC, ST Coord., RB)
1987-96 – Wyoming (Asst. HC, ST Coord., RB, Def. Coord., LB)
1986 – Nebraska (HC Freshman)
1984-85 – Nebraska (GA)
1982-83 – Sterling College (HC)
1980-81 – Sterling College (OL)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Hampton/Newport News/Williamsburg), Alabama (Southeast/Mobile/Montgomery), Colorado, Florida (Panhandle), Georgia (Western), Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania (Western/Pittsburgh)
Education: B.A., History (Sterling College, ’79)
Hometown: Parkville, Mo.
Children: Matthew, Andrew and Zachary
Aaron Stamn is one of several coaches who has served under Turner Gill in at least two different programs, having also worked under Gill at Buffalo and Kansas.
Stamn serves as Liberty's offensive line coach, the same role he worked in under Gill at Buffalo during the 2009 season. During his six years with the Flames, Stamn served as offensive coordinator from 2012-15 and tight ends and fullbacks coach from 2012-16. Additionally, Stamn has worked with Liberty's kickers since he joined Liberty’s staff.
During Stamn’s four-year stint as offensive coordinator, Liberty had 23 offensive players selected to All-Big South teams (13 first team, 10 second team) and 18 players named to VaSID All-State teams (10 first team, eight second team).
Additionally, two players earned All-America honors for their play on the gridiron during Stamn’s tenure as offensive coordinator.
Prior to Liberty’s move to the FBS level, Stamn helped Liberty win four Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty 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-highest win total in program history.
Four 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 with 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 and No. 35 in rushing offense. After finishing No. 53 in the country in scoring offense in 2012, 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.
Stamn’s offensive leadership also helped with the development of quarterback Josh Woodrum, who finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in passing yards (10,266) and total offensive yards (10,690).
Following the four-year starting quarterback’s career, Woodrum was selected to play in the 2016 NLFPA Collegiate Bowl and was one of two Liberty invitees to the NFL Combine, the program’s first since 2009. Woodrum signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants following the 2016 NFL Draft and then began training camp with the Indianapolis Colts.
The running game also benefited 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).
During his first season with Liberty’s offensive line, Stamn’s unit helped quarterback Stephen Calvert throw for a school record 3,636 yards and 29 touchdowns. If Liberty was eligible for national rankings, Calvert would have ranked No. 9 in the country in passing yards per game (303.5) and No. 7 in passing touchdowns (Liberty was not eligible due to its FBS transition process).
Stamn helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
Stamn began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as a student assistant at Minnesota State — Mankato for two seasons (2000-01).
After graduating, 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 first worked alongside Gill at Nebraska during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. During his two-year stint, 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 later worked under Gill at Buffalo, quickly helping the Bulls gain respect at the FBS level. Stamn was the coordinator of Buffalo’s special teams unit during his first three years, and Buffalo blocked seven kicks in 2006 and five more in 2007. Stamn coached the program’s single-season and career scoring leader, A.J. Principe, and the Ray Guy award finalist punter, Ben Woods. Stamn also coached Buffalo’s offensive line in 2009.
Stamn served as Gill’s tight ends coach at Kansas, and during Stamn’s first season, 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 named a 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.
During each of his five years at Buffalo and Kansas, Stamn had a tight end make the John Mackey watch list, and nine times had a conference special teams player of the week.
Stamn at a Glance
2012-present – Liberty (Off. Coord., TE/FB, OL)
2010-11 – Kansas (TE, ST)
2006-09 – Buffalo (TE, ST, OL)
2004-05 – Nebraska (GA - DL)
2002-03 – St. Cloud State (GA – DL, LB)
2000-01 – Minnesota State – Mankato (SA – OL, DB)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Northern Virginia), Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth), Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin
Education: B.A., Physical Education (Minnesota State - Mankato, ’02)
Hometown: Madison, Wis.
Children: Rylan, Jackson and Cooper
LIBERTY COACHING CAREER
Kyle DeArmon is no stranger to Liberty's football program, and the former player now serves as Liberty's wide receivers coach, a position he played toward the end of his playing career with the Flames.
DeArmon joined Liberty's coaching staff in 2013 and served as Liberty's offensive quality control staff member for four seasons (2013-16). He was promoted to wide receivers coach on Dec. 14, 2016.
Since joining the staff in 2013, DeArmon has helped Liberty win three Big South titles (2013-14, 2016) 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 in 2013, DeArmon worked with 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).
DeArmon was given additional responsibility in Spring 2015. During this time frame, he served as interim wide receivers coach and had recruiting responsibilities in the South Florida regions prior to the hiring of former wide receivers coach Ron Brown.
DeArmon's efforts with the offensive staff have helped 24 players earned All-Big South honors, 15 VaSID all-state honorees, and All-America honors for wide receiver Darrin Peterson (2014) and offensive lineman Jonathan Burgess (2015).
DeArmon’s wide receivers helped quarterback Stephen Calvert throw for a school record 3,636 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2017. If Liberty was eligible for national rankings, Calvert would have ranked No. 9 in the country in passing yards per game (303.5) and No. 7 in passing touchdowns (Liberty was not eligible due to its FBS transition process).
DeArmon helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
LIBERTY PLAYING CAREER
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 a special teams coordinator and an assistant football coach at Westminster, working with the wide receivers and linebackers.
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 Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. Additionally, he received his Master of Arts in Executive Leadership – Business in May 2016.
DeArmon at a Glance
2017-present – Liberty (WR)
2013-16 (4 years) – Liberty (Off. Quality Control)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Richmond/Petersburg/Chesterfield County), Georgia (East/Central), Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina (Central), North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming
Education: B.S., Sport Management (Liberty, ’10), M.A., Executive Leadership - Business (Liberty, ’16)
Hometown: Clearwater, Fla.
Former Flames standout and NFL player Mike Brown returned home when the 2011 Liberty graduated was named the Flames running backs coach on June 29, 2018.
Mike Brown returns to his alma mater, where he had a stellar four-year career and graduated with a degree in finance and a minor in coaching in 2011. During his time in a Liberty uniform, Brown was a two-time All-American, earning the honor at both wide receiver and quarterback.
Brown helped the Flames win three Big South Conference titles (2008, 2009 and 2010) and his graduating senior class posted the second-best, four-year win total in program history (33-12 overall, 20-3 in Big South play).
Brown led the Flames in receiving yards in 2009, earning CSN Fabulous FCS All-America honors. He finished the season with 698 yards on 60 receptions and two touchdowns.
Brown posted a pair of 100-yard games in 2009, including a breakout game onto the national scene against West Virginia on Sept. 5. Against the Mountaineers, Brown had 11 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown, while finishing the game with 271 total all-purpose yards after adding three kickoff returns for 107 yards.
Brown guided the Flames’ offense during his final two seasons at Liberty as the starting quarterback. He was named to the CSN Fabulous FCS All-America team in 2010 after finishing the year with a program-record 3,810 total offensive yards. He led the Flames in both rushing yards (854 on 160 carries) and passing yards (2,956 yards on 223-of-351 passing attempts) and was responsible for 32 total touchdowns (23 passing, nine rushing).
Brown was named the Big South Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010 and finished his career as a three-time All-Big South honoree.
Brown finished his senior season completing 196-of-299 passing attempts for 2,664 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also rushed for 437 yards and nine touchdowns, giving him 3,103 all-purpose yards during his final collegiate season.
Brown completed his career with a 150.35 passing efficiency rating and a 65.0 completion rate (469-of-722 with 21 interceptions), both of which are still school records. He also ranks third in program history with 7,947 career total offensive yards.
Following his career at Liberty, Brown signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing for the franchise for three seasons (2012-14). He finished his career with 39 receptions for 534 yards and two touchdowns, including a 32-catch, 446-yard, two-touchdown season in 2013.
The native of Charlottesville, Va., began his collegiate coaching career in 2016, when he served as an offensive analyst and running backs assistant under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. The Wolverines finished the year with a 10-3 overall record after losing to No. 2 Ohio State (30-27 in overtime) and to No. 10 Florida State in the Orange Bowl (33-32) to wrap up the season.
Brown was reunited with Danny Rocco, who he played under during his time at Liberty, in 2017. Brown joined Rocco’s staff at Delaware in March 2017 as the program’s offensive quality control assistant and running backs coach. He helped the Blue Hens finish the season with a 7-4 overall record and tied for third in the CAA with a 5-3 mark.
Brown was responsible for supporting the Blue Hens’ full-time staff in various areas, including leading the running backs unit, practice preparation and film breakdown.
Brown at a Glance
2017 (1 year) – Delaware (QC/RB)
2016 (1 year) – Michigan (OA/RB)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Richmond/Petersburg/Chesterfield County), Georgia (East/Central), Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina (Central), North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming
Education: B.S., Finance (Liberty, ’11)
Hometown: Charlottesville, Va.
CURRENT LIBERTY CAREER
Robert Wimberly is no stranger to Liberty. His return to Turner Gill’s coaching staff in January 2012 marked his second stint as an assistant coach with the Flames. Wimberly previously worked on Liberty’s staff for five seasons (2004-08) before joining Gill at Buffalo in 2009 to coach linebackers.
Gill gave Wimberly additional responsibility on his return to Liberty Mountain by naming him defensive coordinator, with direct supervision over safeties. Just prior to the start of the 2018 season, Gill elevated Wimberly to the position of associate head coach.
Wimberly’s outstanding ability to teach football has not gone unnoticed; he was named the 2014 American Football Coaches Association FCS Assistant Coach of the Year.
Since his return to the Flames, Wimberly has had 30 players receive All-Big South accolades and the program’s first-ever Big South Defensive Player of the Year award in Chima Uzowihe in 2015. Additionally, the defensive lineman was also named a finalist for the 2015 STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award and STATS FCS and Associated Press All-America second teams.
Wimberly coordinated a top-20-ranked defense in his first two seasons at Liberty. The Flames finished 2012 ranked No. 15 in the country in total defense and No. 9 in 2013. The Flames also ranked No. 5 in the country in scoring defense in 2013, as Liberty held 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).
Prior to Liberty’s move to the FBS level, Wimberly helped Liberty win four Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty 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-highest win total in program history.
Wimberly helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
Wimberly was a four-year letter-winner during his undergraduate studies at Alabama A&M. His senior year abruptly ended after two games due to a season-ending neck injury. Wimberly then served as a quality control assistant and graduate assistant at Wisconsin during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
During his first stint on Liberty’s coaching staff (2004-08), Wimberly’s on-field responsibilities were to coach Liberty’s linebackers. He also served 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 was the Big South Conference’s second all-time leading tackler 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, No. 32 in scoring defense, and No. 40 in total defense. Wimberly also coached Vince Redd during his final collegiate season before the linebacker signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. Redd went on to play two seasons (2008-09) with the Patriots.
Safety Jacob Hagen rewrote several of Liberty’s records under Wimberly’s watch, including 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 then worked one season as Buffalo’s linebackers coach (2009) and two seasons as Kansas’ safeties coach (2010-11). In 2009, the Bulls ranked No. 42 in the country in total defense, allowing 342.67 yards per game.
Wimberly has also helped develop some of the rising and top-tier stars in the professional ranks. He was the coach responsible for noticing the talents of Khalil Mack, whom 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.
Wimberly at a Glance
2012-present – Liberty (Assoc. HC, Def. Coord., LB, S)
2010-11 – Kansas (S)
2009 – Buffalo (LB)
2004-08 - Liberty (LB)
2002-03 – Wisconsin (QC, GA)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Richmond/Hanover/Henrico County), Arizona, Florida (Brevard/Dade/Duval/Jacksonville), Georgia (Atlanta/Gwinnett), Nevada, New Mexico and Utah
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 is a 25-year collegiate and NFL coaching veteran hailing from the coaching trees of Turner Gill and Mike Singletary.
Singletary’s experience includes having coached with two conference Defensive Player of the Year award winners (Hawaii’s Travis LaBoy in 2003 and Liberty’s Chima Uzowihe in 2015).
Singletary also worked alongside his uncle and NFL Hall of Famer, Mike Singletary, when he served as the inside linebackers coach of the San Francisco 49ers (2009-10). While coaching with the 49ers, Singletary worked with NFL Pro Bowlers Takeo Spikes, Patrick Willis, and NaVarro Bowman.
Upon joining Gill’s staff at Liberty, Singletary was named the program’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.
Singletary has helped mold some of the top defensive linemen in the conference, resulting in eight all-conference selections, three all-state honorees and the program’s first-ever Big South Defensive Player of the Year honoree.
Under Singletary’s guidance, 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).
Under Singletary’s guidance, Uzowihe, the 2015 Big South Defensive Player of the Year, closed out his stellar four-year career at Liberty as the program and Big South record holder with 25.0 career sacks. He also ranks second in school history and third in the Big South record books with 44.0 career tackles for a loss.
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 leadership. In 2012, Liberty ranked No. 24 in rushing defense (126.1 yards allowed per game), while ranking No. 15 in the country by allowing only 12 rushing touchdowns and in red zone defense (66.7 conversation percentage) in 2013.
Since Singletary joined the staff in 2012, Liberty’s defensive linemen have continually led the team in getting behind the line of scrimmage. Liberty’s front four have accounted for 53.4 percent of the team’s tackles for a loss (151.0 of 283.0) and 84.8 percent of the team’s sack total (78.0 of 92.0).
Four of Singletary’s biggest stars on the defensive line have had the chance to showcase their talents at the professional level. 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 in 2015 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016.
Uzowihe joined this group following the 2016 NFL Draft when he received tryouts with the Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts.
Prior to Liberty’s move to the FBS level, Singletary helped Liberty win four Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty 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-highest win total in program history.
Singletary helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
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-highest win total in program history.
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, coaching under his uncle Mike Singletary.
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.
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.
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.
Over the course of his career, Singletary has coached in seven different 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, Shawndra, have four daughters – Courtney, LaShea, Briauna and Keona.
Singletary at a Glance
2012-present – Liberty (DL)
2011 – Kansas (LB)
2009-10 – San Francisco 49ers (NFL) (ILB)
2008 – Buffalo (DT)
2006-07 – Chattanooga (DL)
1999-05 – Hawaii (DL)
1997-98 – Southern (DL)
1992-96 – Trinity (Def. Coord., DL, LB, Rec. Coord.)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Fredericksburg/Eastern Shore), Arkansas, Georgia (Atlanta/DeKalb), Hawaii, Texas (Houston – Below Beltway)
Education: B.S., Social Sciences (Kansas State, ’90)
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Children: Courtney, LaShea, Briauna and Keona
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 the position of special teams coordinator before shifting him to outside linebackers coach in February 2013. Bookbinder worked alongside Flames’ defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly with Liberty’s linebackers in 2013, before Gill gave Bookbinder full reins to the position in the spring of 2014.
During his first year as a member of the 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.
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 with 216 career tackles and 30.5 career tackles for a loss.
Bookbinder has helped Nick Newman follow in Sigmon’s footsteps, as Newman earned All-Big South second team honors in 2014 and 2015. Newman transitioned from safety after his freshman season and finished 2015 as Liberty’s leading tackler (74 stops).
Prior to Liberty’s move to the FBS level, Bookbinder helped Liberty win four Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty 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-highest win total in program history.
Bookbinder helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
Bookbinder worked as an undergraduate coach at Baylor during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, specifically with the Bears’ linebackers.
In 2009, Bookbinder served in defensive quality control at the University of 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 came to Liberty after spending 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 as assistant recruiting coordinator.
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 there, the Eagles won five national championships, 21 South Atlantic Conference titles, and produced more than 100 Division II All-Americans.
Bookbinder at a Glance
2012-present – Liberty (Def. QC, OLB, LB)
2010-11 – Carson Newman (LB, ST, DE)
2009 – Richmond (Def. QC)
2007-08 – Baylor (Under. Grad/LB)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Bedford/Roanoke County), Idaho, Montana, North Carolina (Charlotte/Mecklenburg/Union), Oregon, South Carolina (Lower State/Midlands), Texas (Houston – Above Beltway/North/Central) and Washington
Education: B.A., Sports, Sponsorships and Sales (Baylor, ’09)
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Marshall Roberts is the senior veteran on Liberty’s coaching staff, having started his coaching career on Liberty Mountain in 2004. He brings an array of knowledge, 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 years of coaching at Liberty, Roberts helped the Flames win eight Big South titles (2007-10, 2012-14, 2016) and secure their first-ever NCAA FCS Playoffs win in 2014.
Roberts has seen several adjustments in his responsibilities during his time at Liberty, but his current on-field coaching task is working with Liberty’s cornerbacks.
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-America kicker Matt Bevins left the program as Liberty’s all-time leading scorer with 309 points, in addition to his career records for most field goals (58) and most field goal attempts (77). In 2011, Roberts instructed another All-America special teams player, Kevin Fogg, who led the country with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and averaged 33.5 yards per kickoff return.
Roberts has also coached Liberty’s defensive backfield, playing 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).
During Roberts’ time with the Flames, Liberty’s defense has ranked in the top 20 in the country multiple times, including No. 12 in scoring defense in 2006 and No. 5 in 2013. 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 top six Flames defenders were from the secondary — an impressive accomplishment with Liberty’s linebacker-heavy 3-4 defensive scheme.
Individually, Roberts has had an impact on several of his players, with 17 defensive backs taking home Big South all-conference honors under his tutelage.
Roberts also helped train a rising star in the professional ranks — three-time All-Big South honoree 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. Aikens was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins (No. 125 overall pick), becoming the seventh player in Liberty’s history selected in the NFL Draft and the third highest overall.
Roberts helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
Roberts is a graduate of Rutgers, where he was a four-year letter-winner 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 played professionally in the Arena Football League (AFL) for four years and another year with the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played for the CFL’s Sacramento Gold Miners as a defensive back and punt returner in 1993. He then played with the AFL’s Orlando Predators in 1994 and 1995 as a defensive/return specialist. Additionally, Roberts spent the 1996 season with the Albany Firebirds as a defensive specialist. He then coached the receivers and defensive backs with the Anaheim Piranhas in 1997.
Roberts served as a graduate assistant for the East Stroudsburg Warriors and was responsible for the secondary in 1998. 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.
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.
Roberts came to Liberty from East Stroudsburg University, 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.
Roberts at a Glance
2004-present - Liberty (DB, ST, CB, Rec. Coord.)
2000-03 – East Stroudsburg (DB, ST)
2002 (Spring) – Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (Intern)
2002 – Frankfurt Galaxy (NFL Europe) (DB)
1999 – Abington HS (HC)
1998 – East Stroudsburg (DB)
1997 – Anaheim Piranhas (AFL) (WR/DB)
1996 – LaSalle HS (DB)
1994-95 – Abington HS (Asst. Coach)
Recruiting Area: Virginia (Lynchburg/29 North), Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina (Eastern), Ohio, Pennsylvania (Eastern/Philadelphia), South Carolina (Northwest) and West Virginia
Education: B.S., Administration of Justice (Rutgers, ’93); M.A., Education (East Stroudsburg, ’03)
Hometown: Abington, Pa.
Children: Tripp, McKenzie and Micah
Aaron Wilkins was promoted to a full time assistant coach in January 2018 as part of Liberty’s FBS transition process and he spent the spring working with the Flames’ defensive line. Just prior to the start of the 2018 season, Liberty Head Coach Turner Gill named Wilkins the news new SPUR and Nickels position coach.
Wilkins joined Liberty's staff during the summer of 2014 as the program's defensive quality control staff member, a position he held for two years. As part of Liberty's FBS reclassification process, Wilkins transitioned into the role of defensive line graduate assistant during the 2017 season.
Liberty captured its seventh Big South title during the 2014 season and made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The Flames advanced to the second round of the playoffs and finished the year ranked No. 17 in the country, its highest ranking since 2008. Wilkins also helped the Flames capture the program's eighth Big South title in 2016.
In 2014, both placekicker John Lunsford and punter Trey Turner were named All-Big South first team honorees. Lunsford earned All-America honors as he ranked No. 5 in the country in field goals per game (1.58) and set a program record with 94 consecutive extra points made.
Wilkins started working with Liberty's defensive units in 2015, helping Chima Uzowihe become the program's first player to be named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year.
Uzowihe closed out his stellar four-year career at Liberty in 2015 as the program and Big South record holder with 25.0 career sacks. The defensive lineman also ranks second in school history and third in the Big South record books with 44.0 career tackles for a loss.
Uzowihe, a three-time All-Big South defensive end, was a finalist for the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015 and earned All-America honors from STATS FCS and the Associated Press.
Wilkins helped Liberty capture the program's eighth Big South title in 2016 and he was a part of Liberty's staff that led the Flames to a thrilling 48-45 win over Baylor to open the 2017 season.
Wilkins started his collegiate coaching career at Reedley College, a junior college located in Reedley, Calif. During the 2013 season, he served as the Tigers secondary coach and recruiting coordinator.
Wilkins broke into the coaching rankings at Firebaugh High School in Firebaugh, Calif. During his time at Firebaugh (2008-11), he worked in a variety of athletics roles, including defensive coordinator and secondary coach, head women's basketball and baseball coach, men's basketball assistant coach and sprints and jump coach for the track & field program.
Wilkins also worked at his high school alma mater, Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, Calif., in 2012. During his time with the Badgers, he worked as defensive coordinator and secondary coach for both the junior varsity and varsity teams.
Wilkins is a 2007 graduate of Fresno State where he completed his degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on physical education.
Wilkins at a Glance
2014-17 (4 years) – Liberty (Def. QC/GA)
2013 (1 year) – Reedley College (Secondary/RC)
2012 (1 year) – Yosemite High School (DC/Secondary)
2008-11 (4 years) – Firebaugh High School (DC/Secondary)
Recruiting Area: California (Junior Colleges), Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington
Education: B.A., Kinesiology (Fresno State, ’07)
Hometown: Oakhurst, Calif.
A familiar face to Liberty’s football program returned to the Football Operations Center in January 2018 when CJ Holden was hired as Liberty’s defensive graduate assistant, who will work with Liberty's safeties during their first season at the FBS level.
After graduating from Liberty with a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management in May 2017, Holden served as an assistant football coach at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., during the 2017 season.
The Dutchmen posted a 7-4 record in 2017 and finished in third place in the Liberty League standings with a 3-2 conference record. Holden coached the outside linebacker, helping Union lead the league in sacks (26) and ranks second in interceptions (13).
Holden helped linebacker Jack Reiley earn Liberty League first-team all-conference honors after ranking third in the conference with 16.5 tackles for a loss, while finishing the year with 51 total tackles (30 solo, 21 assisted).
Outside linebacker Evan Gillard also earned Liberty League honorable mention all-conference honors in 2017, finishing the season with 53 tackles (25 solo, 28 assisted).
While at Union, Holden was responsible for defensive and special teams film breakdown and assisted with game planning in both special teams and defensive meetings. He also ran the scout team offense and special teams during daily practice sessions.
Holden oversaw the Dutchmen’s recruiting efforts in the states of Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas.
Prior to graduating from Liberty in 2017, Holden served in a pair of roles within the Flames football program. The native of Latham, N.Y., was a student equipment manager from March 2014 to May 2017 where he oversaw the defensive student managers during practice and helped maintain inventory and the organization of the equipment room.
Following a successful college and professional playing career, Scott Mitchell joined Liberty’s football coaching staff in August 2017 as an offensive graduate assistant. During the 2018 season, Mitchell’s graduate assistant duties will have him focusing on the Flames’ offensive line.
In 2017, Liberty’s offense flourished under quarterback Stephen Calvert, who set single-season program records in passing yards (3,363) and touchdowns (29).
If Liberty was eligible for the NCAA FCS statistics rankings in 2017, the Flames would have ranked No. 9 in the country in passing offense (309.9 yards per game), No. 12 in total offense (449.2 yards per game) and No. 23 in scoring offense (32.5 points per game).
Prior to joining Liberty’s staff, Mitchell spent three months working as a football strength and conditioning intern at Alabama from May to July 2017. In this role, he also assisted with offensive line drills for the Nick Saban Football Camp.
Mitchell also worked as a defensive line coach during the winter and spring of 2017 at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.
Mitchell played five seasons in the Canadian Football League after being selected as the No. 2 overall draft pick in the 2011 CFL Draft. Mitchell played three seasons for the Edmonton Eskimos (2011-13) and two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts (2014-15).
During his professional playing career, Mitchell also spent time working at the Ottawa Gridiron Academy (2011-17) and as an assistant football coach at St. Mark Catholic High School (2010-16) in Manotick, Ontario.
Mitchell graduated from Rice in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports management. He made 38 consecutive career starts for the Owls before a foot injury brought his collegiate playing career to an end during his senior season.
The native of Ottawa, Ontario, was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team in 2007 and was a C-USA all-conference second-team offensive line selection in 2009. Leading into his senior season at Rice, Mitchell was named to the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award preseason watch list, given annually to the top collegiate lineman (offense or defense) or linebacker.
Mitchell graduated from St. Mark Catholic High School in 2007. He earned All-City and All-Region honors during his senior year on both offense and defense. He helped the Lions finish the year with a perfect 11-0 record, guiding the team to an Ottawa Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Bowl victory.
Mitchell started at defensive tackle for Canada at the NFL Global Junior Football Championships, held as part of Super Bowl XLI, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Canada won the gold medal, defeating the team from the United States. He also played basketball and rugby in high school, as well as hockey at the club level.
J.R. Rozier joined Liberty Head Football Coach Turner Gill’s staff on Feb. 17, 2017, as the program’s Offensive Quality Control staff member.
Rozier joins Gill’s staff after serving the last two seasons at Augustana University, a Division II program in Sioux Falls, S.D. He served as the Vikings’ running backs coach in 2015 and tight ends coach in 2016.
Rozier helped coach a high-powered offense at Augustana the last two seasons, setting new program standards for total offense (2015: 5,527 yards; 2016: 5,617); passing yards (2015: 3,603; 2016: 3,786) and total touchdowns (2015: 64; 2016: 65).
Augustana posted a combined 17-6 record during Rozier’s two seasons with the program and helped the Vikings tie for the NSIC South Division title in 2015 with a 6-1 conference mark.
Rozier worked with a talented group of All-NSIC performing running backs in 2015, including seniors CJ Ham and Justin Greenway. Ham earned All-NSIC second team honors after rushing for a career-high 1,097 yards and 16 touchdowns. Ham tied the school’s single season record and led the NSIC in rushing touchdowns in 2015 and became the fourth running back in Augustana’s program history to eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark.
Following the 2015 season, Ham signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player at Augustana to sign with an NFL team in seven years. Greenway earned All-NSIC honorable mention honors as a running back in 2015 after rushing for 307 yards and six touchdowns. Greenway also recorded 16 receptions for 353 yards and two scores, while returning 13 kickoffs for 328 yards (25.2 yards per return).
Rozier spent three years as a physical education teacher and defensive coordinator at Lyman High School in Longwood, Fla. Along with defensive coordinator duties, Rozier coached the linebackers at Lyman. Rozier coached six players at Lyman who went on to play at the FBS level (Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Ball State).
Rozier also served as the head boys’ lacrosse coach at Lyman. He began his coaching career at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla., where he coached running backs and defensive backs.
Rozier played one season at Louisiana College in Pineville, La. before suffering a career-ending injury. He earned his bachelor of science degree in exercise science with a minor in education from UCF in 2013.
Rozier, a native of Oviedo, Fla., resides in Lynchburg with his wife, Savanah, and his daughter, Raegan.
Darren Jackson joined Liberty’s football staff in June 2017 as the program’s Defensive Quality Control staff member.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Jackson served as the linebackers coach at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Ky. During the 2017 spring season, he helped the Tigers implement a 4-2-5 defensive scheme and assisted with the player’s weight room workouts.
Jackson served as the head coach at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, N.D., during the 2016 season. During his one year with the Lions, Jackson helped Trinity post a 4-7 overall record after the Lions had gone without a win during the previous two seasons.
He had three players earned NCCAA National Player of the Week honors and five players were named to the All-NCCAA team. Senior Clint Stout spotlighted the five-player listing, as the linebacker led the NCCAA with 147 tackles during his final year with the program.
Jackson worked at University Christian School in Jacksonville, Fla., during the 2015 season, serving as inside linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator. The Christian Knights won the 2A Florida State championship during the 2015 season.
Jackson worked for three seasons at The Apprentice School in Newport News, Va. He served in a variety of roles including linebackers coach (2012-13) and defensive backs coach (2013-15), while working all three years with the special teams units (assistant special teams coach: 2012-14; special teams coordinator: 2014-15). Jackson coached All-USCAA kicker Austin Wall, All-USCAA punter Blake Penix and All-USCAA linebacker Brandon Hampton during his final season with the Builders.
Jackson graduated from Liberty in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. During his time at Liberty, Jackson was a part of Liberty’s 2008 Big South Conference championship football team. He also served as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator at Virginia Episcopal School in 2011 while completing his undergraduate degree. He completed his Master of Arts degree in human services counseling – life coaching from Liberty in August 2016.
The native of White Marsh, Va., and his wife, Tina, have two sons – Keon and Maceo Jackson.
Dr. Ed Gomes is entering his 18th 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.
Paul Rutigliano has been a part of Liberty’s football program for more than two decades, including his second stint with the team that began in January 2006.
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. After his return to Liberty Mountain, the Flames 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.
Rutigliano also took on additional responsibilities when he resumed his role as the football program’s recruiting coordinator during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Prior to returning to Liberty in 2006, 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, working alongside his father as his 11-year career (1989-99) allowed him to becoming the winningest coach in program history.
While working on staff under the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame coach, Rutigliano served as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator (1989-93) and as the director of football operations (1994-99).
During his time as wide receivers coach, Rutigliano helped Pat Nelson set a then school record with 1,075 receiving yards during the 1991 season. He also worked with James McKnight, who had a 10-year playing career in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks (1994-98), Dallas Cowboys (1999-2000) and the Miami Dolphins (2001-03).
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.
The Rutigliano File
Education: B.A., Communications (Cleveland State, ’80)
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Children: Kristin and Amanda
Former All-America kicker Matt Bevins returned to the football program when Liberty Head Coach Turner Gill named him the program’s new Director of High School Relations on Feb. 1, 2017.
Following five years of service in Liberty’s compliance office, Bevins now handles many of the aspects that help high school student-athletes make the transition to Liberty’s football program.
Bevins will coordinate daily recruiting operational and logistical processes for the Liberty football program. He will also supervise, plan and coordinate official and unofficial visits to campus for potential student-athletes.
The native of Newport News, Va., will coordinate Liberty’s Junior Day events, College For a Weekend presentations and hospitality for all guests visiting the Football Operations Center. He will also assist with the operational logistics of the Turner Gill Football Camps.
Bevins will be a liaison between all departments and the football program at Liberty, including compliance, academics, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, procurement, travel, facilities, housing and financial aid.
He will assist Gill and the football staff with matters related to cost of attendance, scholarship tracking and roster management with the compliance department. He will also organize and maintain recruiting brand through print and social media outlets.
Following a successful career on the gridiron for the Flames, Bevins transitioned into Liberty’s administrative offices when he joined the compliance staff in the fall of 2012 as a compliance coordinator. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Compliance in May 2015.
In his role within the compliance office, Bevins oversaw Liberty’s playing and practice sessions. He administered the Jump Forward Compliance Software, while coordinating official and unofficial visits in recruiting.
Bevins monitored practice logs, while also serving as a liaison between student-athletes and agents. He facilitated promotional activities, donation requests, awards and benefits, along with the Student Assistance fund. Bevins administered the annual NCAA coaches’ exam in addition to other day-to-day compliance tasks. He also was responsible for Bylaws 13, 16 and 17.
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 (309 points). He was named a consensus first team All-America kicker in both 2009 and 2010.
Bevins was also honored for his efforts in the classroom. He was twice named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District teams (2009 and 2011) and the FCS Athletics Director Association Academic All-Star team (2010 and 2011).
Bevins graduated from Liberty in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in sport management in May 2012 and completed his master's degree in sports adminstration in May 2015. Bevins and his wife, Chelsea, currently reside in Lynchburg.
Danny Wenger is entering his 18th 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 eight Big South titles (2007-10, 2012-14, 2016). 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) 582-2048
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.
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.
Derek Johnston joined Liberty's coaching staff in May of 2018.
Johnston comes from the University of Alabama Huntsville where he served as an assistant coach under head coach Lennie Acuff. During his three years at UAH, Johnston helped the Chargers win two Gulf South Conference (GSC) regular season titles and a GSC tournament title. Alabama Huntsville appeared in two NCAA Division II tournaments including hosting the 2016 NCAA South Regional, the same year UAH advanced to the final.
While at UAH, Johnston led the program's recruiting efforts and was in charge of opponent scouting. A native of Lexington, Ala., Johnston was a part of a coaching staff that developed a potent offensive attack, averaging 83.7 points per game, which ranked No. 32 throughout Division II this past season.
Johnston has quickly moved up the coaching ranks over the last eight years. Prior to UAH, Johnston was an assistant coach for one of the best Division III programs in the country in Williams College. During his time in Massachusetts, Williams College advanced to the Division III Elite Eight in 2013 and the Final Four in 2014. Johnston was instrumental in recruiting at Williams College including the d3hoops.com National Rookie of the Year. From 2010-12, Johnston began his coaching career as the head coach at Lexington High School (Lexington, Ala.) Johnston revamped the program, guiding the school to its first county championship since 1995.
Liberty men's basketball and head coach Ritchie McKay announced the hiring of Kevin Anderson in August of 2018 as assistant coach.
Anderson is acquainted with Liberty basketball as he spent 2017-18 at Campbell working as the assistant director of basketball operations. While working at Campbell, Anderson's duties included breaking down film for games and practices while also building great relationships with the players. Anderson helped the Camels post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in school history while making the postseason in both of his seasons on staff.
Anderson will be a familiar face in the state of Virginia as he played his collegiate ball at Richmond where he was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in 2008 and went on to earn A-10 Player of the Year and conference tournament MVP honors in 2011, when he led the Spiders to the league title and to a berth in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen. He was a two-time Associated Press honorable mention All-American.
The former All-American will bring a player's perspective on the bench as he embarked on a professional career that included stops in France, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Poland after his career at Richmond. Anderson played with the NBA D-League's Canton Charge in 2012, was invited to the Cleveland Cavaliers training camp in 2012 and also was a member of the Orlando Magic summer league team.
Chelsea Mangino enters her second year with the Flames, and her first year as the Director of Basketball Operations for the program. She organizes travel and recruiting, runs summer camps, oversees team meals, handles scheduling and helps make sure all aspects of the program run smoothly.
While earning a bachelor's degree in religious studies and a Master of Teaching in elementary education at Virginia, Mangino served four years as a student manager with the Cavaliers men's basketball program (2010-14). After graduation, Mangino spent a year teaching third and fifth grade at an elementary school in Charlottesville.
Last year, Mangino served as a graduate assistant for Liberty Men’s Basketball. In her role, she oversaw recruiting, planned road trips and team meals, helped train a group of managers and assisted in other administrative and facility needs. She is pursuing a Master of Business Administration, and hopes to complete it while serving in her current position.
Joe Pierre III was hired as Director of Player Development in April of 2018.
Pierre joins Liberty's staff after serving as a graduate assistant for Middle Tennessee working for Kermit Davis. During his two years at Middle Tennessee, the Blue Raiders went 56-13 with two postseason tournament appearances. In his first season at MT, Pierre and the Blue Raiders advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Minnesota in the first round. This past season, Middle Tennessee went 25-8 and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
Pierre joined the Blue Raiders' staff after spending the spring of 2016 as an assistant coach at Pawnee High School in Oklahoma under six-time state champion coach David Page where he also was a middle school teacher. His 2016 squad started 28-0 before falling in the state semifinal game.
He also spent a season as the head coach of the eighth grade team at Stillwater Junior High School in 2015. Prior to his high school coaching stint, Pierre served as a student manager from 2011-15 at Oklahoma State University working under Travis Ford and his father, former Cowboys assistant Butch Pierre.
During his four seasons assisting with the Cowboys men's basketball program, OSU tallied 78 wins and made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. Pierre graduated from Oklahoma State in December 2015 with a B.S. in secondary education and is now working on his M.Ed. in administration at Middle Tennessee.
Pierre played high school basketball at Stillwater High School for coach Michael "Chick" Davis before suffering a career-ending ACL injury and graduated in 2011. Pierre replaces Marcus Conrad, who joined Charlotte's staff.
Henry Barrera joined the Liberty men’s basketball program as its Director of Performance in June 2015.
Tyde Coffey joined the Liberty men’s basketball program in the summer of 2017. As graduate assistant, Coffey is responsible for coordinating video for the program, serving as basketball system analyst, and conducting internal gameday and practice operations. Coffey manages the recruiting database, breaks down video for the men’s basketball coaching staff and assists with day-to-day operations in the office.
As a native of Athens, Ala., Coffey recently graduated from Covenant College with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration. While at Covenant, he played his first two years and served as student-assistant for the program during his final two years. His role was conducting day-to-day operations, all internal practice and gameday operations, advanced scouting, coordinating video for all games and meal plans for the team on road games. During the last two months of the 2015-16 season, Coffey served as the interim assistant men’s basketball coach and interim head junior varsity coach.
Over the past four years, Coffey has worked numerous basketball camps including Alabama, Baylor, Iowa State, North Alabama and Virginia. Coffey also coached on the AAU circuit for the Alabama Basketball Academy. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sport management at Liberty.
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.
Phone: (434) 841-1347
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 five conference titles, eight 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 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 Flames won their fourth Big South title under Thomas during the 2015-16 season, winning by 12 strokes over Campbell. Liberty's 11-under par 853 is the team's second-best total at a Big South Men's Golf Championship event and earned the Flames a trip to the NCAA Albuquerque Regional.
Liberty finished the 2016-17 season ranked No. 49 in the final Golfstat national rankings, spending each week of the season in the top-50 national rankings. The Flames spotlighted the run with a No. 22 ranking on Oct. 22.
Following a second-place finish at the 2017 Big South Men's Golf Championship, the Flames earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Regional. Liberty was the No. 8 seed at the NCAA Austin Regional, which was contested at the University of Texas Golf Club (par 71, 7,355 yards) in Austin, Texas, May 15-17.
Thomas helped Liberty capture its fifth Big South title in eight seasons when the Flames won the conference championship by a 19-stroke margin of victory over second-place Campbell.
The Flames finished the year ranked No. 42 in the final Golfstat rankings. Liberty posted six top-three team finishes in 2017-18, including a first-place finish at the Oregon's Duck Invitational and the Big South Men's Golf Championship. The Flames wrapped up their season at the NCAA Raleigh Regional in Raleigh, N.C., the team’s seventh NCAA Regional appearance in the last eight years.
The golf team has rewritten the program’s record book under Thomas’ leadership. Liberty has won 18 of the program’s 28 Division I team tournaments victories with Thomas as head coach. His squads also hold the top eight 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, 26 Big South all-conference award winners, 10 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 been named Big South Coach of the Year three times (2010, 2011 and 2018) 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 three times (2011, 2013 and 2018 ) and the Virginia State Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2018.
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
2018 Big South Coach of the Year
2018 Virginia Sports Information Directors Coach of the Year
2018 Virginia State Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year
Conference Championships (5):
2011 Big South Conference Champions
2012 Big South Conference Champions
2014 Big South Conference Champions
2016 Big South Conference Champions
2018 Big South Conference Champions
NCAA Regional Appearances (8):
2006 NCAA East Regional
2011 NCAA Arizona Regional
2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional (Team Champions)
2013 NCAA Fayetteville Regional
2014 NCAA Eugene Regional
2016 NCAA Albequeque Regional
2017 NCAA Austin Regional
2018 NCAA Raleigh Regional
NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship Appearances (1):
2012 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship
Former men’s golfer Andrew Nelson has returned to his alma mater to help the Flames continue their success on the course as he was named the program’s assistant coach on July 15, 2016.
During his first year on staff, Nelson helped Liberty finish the 2016-17 season ranked No. 49 in the final Golfstat national rankings, spending each week of the season in the top-50 national rankings. The Flames spotlighted the run with a No. 22 ranking on Oct. 22.
During his second year back on Liberty Mountain, Nelson helped Liberty capture its fifth Big South title in eight seasons when the Flames won the conference championship by a 19-stroke margin of victory over second-place Campbell.
The Flames finished the year ranked No. 42 in the final Golfstat rankings. Liberty posted six top-three team finishes in 2017-18, including a first-place finish at the Oregon's Duck Invitational and the Big South Men's Golf Championship. The Flames wrapped up their season at the NCAA Raleigh Regional in Raleigh, N.C., the team's seventh NCAA Regional appearance in the last eight years.
Nelson started his career at Liberty as a freshman during the 2006-07 season and was a four-year member of the Flames’ golf program (2006-10).
Since graduating with a student ministry degree in May 2011, Nelson has worked in the private sector, while remaining connected to the sport that brought him to Liberty.
Nelson spent the summer of 2011 working as part of an urban impact team at Castle Rock Community Church in New Orleans, La., before moving to Holtville, Calif., to work two years as the student ministries pastor at Cornerstone Community Church.
While serving on staff at Cornerstone Community Church (2012-14), Nelson also worked as the Campus Life Director in the Holtville Unified School District. Part of his duties included assisting the men’s golf coach with player development and knowledge of the game of golf.
Between his ministry opportunities in Louisiana and California, Nelson spent time working at Ballamour Golf Club in Egg Harbor, N.J. He served as a member of the ground and maintenance staff during the fall of 2011.
Following his collegiate days, Nelson competed as an amateur on mini tours in Georgia and Florida during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He also played in state and U.S. Amateur events.
The native of Port Republic, N.J., played three seasons for the Flames and redshirted during the 2008-09 season. He played in 21 events during this career, posting a 76.8 career stroke average.
As a freshman, Nelson recorded four top-25 finishes, doing so in seven events. He recorded two rounds at par or better during his rookie 2006-07 campaign and his best showing of the season was a 14th-place finish at the William & Mary Invitational.
During the 2007-08 season, Nelson also posted four top-25 finishes in eight events. His best showing of the year was a 13th-place finish at the Troy Invitational to jumpstart his sophomore season for the Flames.
As a senior (2009-10), Nelson played in six events, playing two rounds a par or better. He opened the year with a 22nd-place finish at the Manor Intercollegiate.
Phone: (434) 582-2381
The Liberty men's soccer program has 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 conference title. During his tenure, the Flames have won the program's only two conference championships (2007 & 2011), earning Liberty's inclusion in the NCAA Tournament field. This year, Alder will take his program into new territory as the Flames join the ASUN Conference.
Alder's Flames have posted 10 or more wins in eight of their last 11 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 on Sept. 13, 2011, with a 2-0 victory over No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
Alder has seen 23 of his players move on to the professional ranks, with Sachem Wilson becoming the first Liberty player to ever play in the Europa League. Wilson made his debut in the June 2016 as a member of ND Gorcia. In addition, Alder has seen midfielder Joshua Boateng taken in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Super Draft and seven others picked in the MLS Supplemental Draft.
Alder has seen several of his players earn prestigious honors during his tenure. In 2008, Boateng was listed on the Hermann Trophy watch list throughout the season and became the program's first Division I All-American. In 2002, Darryl Roberts, the program’s all-time point leader, became Liberty’s first Freshman All-American.
Roberts and defender Osei Telesford went on to play for their country’s national team, Trinidad and Tobago in 2006.
In addition, junior forward Tresor Mbuyu became the first Liberty player to be named the Big South Attacking Player of the Year in 2016 and the second Flame in program history to be selected as a Big South Player of the Year. Mbuyu led the Big South with 29 points and tied for the conference lead with 10 goals. He finished the year second in the conference with nine assists.
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 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. 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 17 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, one Big South Player of the Year honor, three Big South Freshman of the Year awards and 61 all-conference selections, including 32 first-team members.
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.
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 (2-0) 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.
In Alder’s first season as head coach, 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 2001 Big South Championship.
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 and currently serves as a voting member on the Atlantic Region Rankings Committee.
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 recently graduated from 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.
In his four seasons, Gomez has helped Liberty become a consistent contender for a conference title. This past year, the Liberty alum assisted in guiding the Flames to their eighth year of 10 or more wins in the last 11 seasons. Liberty posted a 10-6-1 overall record in 2017.
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 National Collegiate Athletic Association (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 season with a 14-4-2 record. The Sailfish went on to claim their seventh consecutive NCCAASouth 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 team 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 the Director of Performance Analysis for his alma mater. After joining Head Coach Jeff Alder's staff as a graduate assistant in 2010, Madero has served as assistant coach with the program and became the Director of Performance Analysis for the program in 2017.
Madero directs supporting personnel in enhancing athletic performance and improving player development. A member of the 2006 and 2007 Flames, the former goalkeeper oversees physical development, nutrition, recovery and conditioning, while developing uses for performance data, research and innovation. In addition, he is involved in opposition scouting and analysis and developing key pre-match tactical concepts for both players and staff.
This past year, the Liberty alum assisted in guiding the Flames to their eighth year of 10 or more wins in their last 11 seasons. Liberty posted a 10-6-1 overall record in 2017. Madero has been a part of the Liberty staff during five of those seasons.
In two of Madero’s six seasons on Alder’s staff, the Flames 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 helped 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, when 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 sport management in May of 2014. He also has been involved in youth soccer coaching and instructional camps throughout the east coast.
He and his wife Sara, an assistant coach with the Liberty Lady Flames women's hockey team and a staff member with Club Sports at Liberty, live 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.
During her time at Liberty, Richardson has helped guide a resurgence of the softball program. The Lady Flames have improved in the win-loss column every year under her guidance.
The 2018 Lady Flames had a record-setting season, going 49-14 and 18-3 in Big South play, winning the Big South regular-season title for the second year in a row. The Lady Flames claimed the Big South Softball Championship title by sweeping through the conference tournament. Then, Liberty won its first two games at the NCAA Columbia Regional, upsetting No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 10/11 South Carolina to advance to the Regional final. At the end of the season, Liberty received a program-record 17 votes in the final NFCA Top 25 Poll.
For her efforts, Richardson was voted both the Big South Coach of the Year and VaSID Coach of the Year in 2018, the same year Liberty was voted the NFCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. Also in 2018, Julia DiMartino repeated as Big South Pitcher of the Year and was one of three NFCA All-Region honorees.
The 2017 season saw Richardson's Lady Flames post a 46-24 record and claim the program's first-ever postseason championship. Liberty went 16-5 in league play, winning the Big South regular-season title before falling to Longwood in the conference final. The Lady Flames went on to claim the first-ever National Invitational Softball Championship, winning five straight elimination games to earn the title. The 2017 Lady Flames set 22 program single-season team records, including victories, conference wins and home victories.
Richardson was named 2017 Big South Softball Coach of the Year, the same season she coached the Big South Freshman of the Year (Amber Bishop), Big South Pitcher of the Year (Julia DiMartino) and Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Kenzie Friesen). She also coached four players to NFCA All-Region mention.
In 2016, she led the Lady Flames to a 31-28 record, the team's first 30-win season since 2011. The 2016 Lady Flames also finished third in the conference with a program-record 16 Big South victories. Liberty posted a conference-leading 12 shutouts and a program single-season-record 377 strikeouts.
Richardson guided the Lady Flames to an 18-win improvement over the previous season in 2015, the largest improvement in NCAA Division I softball from 2014 to 2015. During Richardson's second season at the helm, 2015, the Lady Flames went 29-30, a season highlighted by wins over Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Virginia. Her first collegiate coaching victory came Feb. 15, 2014, a 5-1 win over Norfolk State.
She was instrumental in the planning for the state-of-the-art Liberty Softball Stadium, which debuted during the 2015 season. Liberty Softball Stadium, a 1,000-seat structure, opened March 19, 2015 with the Lady Flames defeating Rider, 9-2.
Under Richardson's direction, Megan Robinson was twice named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team, including first-team mention in 2015. Robinson is the first Academic All-American in program history. Also, Alexia Taylor was named 2015 Big South Freshman of the Year, while Richardson has coached 18 all-conference players and 11 members of the Big South All-Freshman team.
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. Before coming to Liberty, 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 took over Liberty's head coaching position after Paul Wetmore retired from the position in May 2013. Richardson became the program's second head coach at the Division I level since the program was reinstated in 1994.
Richardson is considered 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). As a member of the team, the U.S. won 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), the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (1996) and the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Hall of Fame (2015).
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 community during her time in Central Florida, Richardson was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year for 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.
Paige Cassady joined the Liberty softball coaching staff in July 2013 and was promoted to her current role of associate head coach in August 2018 by head coach Dot Richardson. She primarily focuses on the development of the Lady Flames' pitching staff.
Cassady's pitching staff has improved in ERA in each of her years as pitching coach. Cassady has guided the pitchers to some of the best seasons in program history. Under her tutelage, Julia DiMartino has already set program career records for wins (68), shutouts (24) and strikeouts (592), while in 2018, DiMartino broke program single-season records for wins (29), shutouts (10), saves (6) and strikeouts (230).
In the 2018 season, she led the Liberty staff to another dominant season, posting a 2.04 ERA and 19 shutouts, one shutout shy of the program record of 20, set in 1999. Four different Lady Flames (Julia DiMartino – program-record 10; Chase Cassady – 5; Elizabeth Engler – 2; Emily Kirby – 1) posted at least one shutout. In the final 23 games of the season, Liberty recorded a 0.97 ERA as a team. For the second year in a row, Julia DiMartino was named Big South Pitcher of the Year, while Chase Cassady was voted second team all-conference. The Liberty coaching staff was named the 2018 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaching Staff of the Year.
The 2018 Lady Flames had a record-setting season, going 49-14 and 18-3 in Big South play, winning the Big South regular-season title for the second year in a row. The Lady Flames claimed the Big South Softball Championship title by sweeping through the conference tournament. Then, Liberty won its first two games at the NCAA Columbia Regional, upsetting No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 10/11 South Carolina to advance to the Regional final. At the end of the season, Liberty received a program-record 17 votes in the final NFCA Top 25 Poll, while holding a program-best RPI of 29.
During 2017, Cassady guided the Lady Flames as they led the Big South in team ERA (2.63), shutouts (18) and strikeouts (351). At one point in April, Liberty held opponents scoreless for 44 straight innings, tossing six straight shutouts. Under her guidance, Julia DiMartino was named 2017 Big South Pitcher of the Year, leading the Big South with a 22 wins, also leading the conference in shutouts and strikeouts. Redshirt senior Kenzie Friesen went 15-3 with a 2.16 ERA, being named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Cassady coached Liberty's pitchers to a program-record-setting 377 strikeouts in 2016, as the team led the Big South in both strikeouts and shutouts (12). The 2016 Lady Flames' staff finished with a 3.00 team ERA. DiMartino was named to the Big South All-Conference first team, setting new program freshman records with 17 wins, a conference-best seven shutouts, 187 strikeouts and two no-hitters.
During her second season, Cassady guided a Lady Flames' pitching staff which posted seven shutouts and finished third in the Big South with a 3.63 team ERA. Under her guidance, Chandler Ball was named to the 2015 Big South All-Conference team, Liberty's first all-conference pitcher since 2011. Additionally, Ball went 20-11, tying for the second-most wins by a Lady Flame in a single season in program history.
Her coaching efforts helped the Lady Flames post an 18-win improvement from 2014 to 2015, the largest win improvement in NCAA Division I softball over that span. Additionally, the Lady Flames posted wins over Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Virginia.
Before joining Liberty's coaching staff, Cassady served as pitching coach at Lipscomb under head coach Kristin Ryman in 2013. 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 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 pitching instruction responsibilities, 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 the Orlando, Fla., area. Several of her students have gone on to pitch collegiately. She has 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.
Former SEC standout and Auburn graduate assistant Kasey Fagan joined Dot Richardson's staff as an assistant coach in June 2017.
Fagan serve as the defensive position coach while also assisting with the offense. She handles many administrative roles in addition to her work in recruiting.
The 2018 Lady Flames had a record-setting season, going 49-14 and 18-3 in Big South play, winning the Big South regular-season title for the second year in a row. The Lady Flames claimed the Big South Softball Championship title by sweeping through the conference tournament. Then, Liberty won its first two games at the NCAA Columbia Regional, upsetting No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 10/11 South Carolina to advance to the Regional final. At the end of the season, Liberty received a program-record 17 votes in the final NFCA Top 25 Poll, while being holding a program-best RPI of 29.
Liberty was voted 2018 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. Fagan’s assistance with the defense helped Liberty improve its fielding percentage to .977 in 2018 after the team fielded at a .957 clip the previous year.
While at Auburn over the last two seasons, Fagan worked with the Tigers as they advanced to back-to-back NCAA Super Regionals. In 2016, Auburn competed in the Women’s College World Series final, falling to Oklahoma. The Tigers posted a 107-24 record during Fagan’s two seasons on staff.
After playing two seasons (2011, 2012) at Florida, Fagan completed her playing career at Arkansas, where she was a 2014 NFCA All-South Region second team selection. That season saw her bat .306 with nine homers and 46 RBI. She finished her time at Arkansas with a .313 career batting average, which was ranked fourth in program history at the time of graduation. She posted 10-game hitting streaks as both a junior and senior. Her 46 RBI in 2014 are the third most in a single season in Arkansas program history.
Fagan’s high school honors were highlighted in 2010, when she was named the Gatorade Florida State Player of the Year. Her younger sister, Sami, won the award the following year.
A native of Dunnellon, Fla., Fagan comes from an athletic family. Her father, Kevin Fagan, played for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL from 1986-93, winning two Super Bowl titles. Her younger sisters, Sami (Florida, 2012; Missouri, 2014-16) and Haley (Auburn, 2014-17) both played softball in the SEC and are currently teammates on the Akron Racers in the NPF.
Fagan graduated from Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in business management in May 2015, before earning a master’s degree in adult education from Auburn in May 2017.
Fagan currently resides in the Lynchburg area.
Former Liberty softball standout Alexia Taylor joined Dot Richardson’s staff in August 2018, and currently serves as a graduate assistant.
In her current role, Taylor assists in practice setup, while also generating travel itineraries. She assists coaches during practice and in games. Fagan also coordinates food orders for games.
A native of Oviedo, Fla., Taylor batted .302 for her career at Liberty (2015-18), graduating as the program career record holder with 10 sacrifice flies. Upon graduation, she ranked in the top 10 in program history in nine different statistical categories. She was the fourth player in program history with 200 or more career hits, 100 or more career runs scored and 100 or more RBI.
A highly decorated player, Taylor was voted the 2015 Big South Freshman of the Year. Additionally, she was named to the Big South All-Conference second team as a third baseman in both 2015 and 2017. Taylor received Big South All-Tournament Team honors as both a junior and a senior, becoming the first player in program history to be named to the Big South All-Tournament team in back-to-back years.
Taylor graduated from Liberty in May 2018 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in elementary education.
Phone: (434) 582-2409
Derek Schwandt assumed his role as Liberty Men's Tennis Head Coach in May 2017.
In Schwandt's first year as head coach, he guided Liberty to a 4-0 start in the Big South for the first time in program history. The Flames captured 12 matches in 2018, a five-win improvement from the previous year. For his efforts, he was named Big South Men's Tennis Coach of the Year.
Schwandt instructed two Big South All-Conference selections in Sam Matheson (first team) and Chase Burton (second team). Matheson was among the top-125 singles players in the country in the 2017-18 Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Collegiate Tennis Rankings seven times during the spring season.
Schwandt came to Liberty after serving as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech (2013-17), Fresno State (2011-12) and Virginia (2009-10). Schwandt helped his teams claim four conference titles and advance to the NCAA Men's Team Championship seven times.
During his five seasons with Georgia Tech, the team advanced to the NCAA Men's Team Championship the last three years, making second round appearances in 2016 and 2017.
The 2017 Yellow Jackets' squad reached a high of No. 12 in the nation and finished the year ranked No. 19. During the 2017 season, Georgia Tech posted a 17-7 dual match record, including wins over No. 16 Stanford, No. 21 South Carolina, No. 31 Florida State and two wins over No. 35 Duke.
Schwandt helped garner some of the nation's brightest stars with Fresno State and Georgia Tech's recruiting classes ranked No. 12 in the country in 2012, No. 11 in 2013 and No. 14 in 2014.
Schwandt recruited and coached the 2016 and 2017 ACC Player of the Year Christopher Eubanks. The ITA All-American Eubanks is ranked No. 7 in the nation and made his third-straight appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship, reaching the quarterfinals in 2017.
Schwandt was named to the USTA Collegiate National Team staff during the summer of 2014 and 2015, coaching the top American college players on the ITF Futures pro circuit. He led Virginia standout Mitchell Frank to the 2014 Tulsa, Okla., Future title and a runner-up performance in Godfrey, Ill.
In his two years at Fresno State, the Bulldogs won two-straight Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships and rose to No. 14 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings in 2012.
In 2012, Schwandt coached Fresno State to a win over No. 9 Stanford for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs went to their second-straight NCAA Tournament and fell to No. 27 San Diego in the first round.
In 2011, he led Fresno State to their first WAC Tournament title since 1999 and a No. 37 national team ranking. The Bulldogs defeated No. 19 Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Championship before falling, 4-3, to No. 14 Cal in the second round.
Schwandt served as the Volunteer Assistant Coach at Virginia during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. During Schwandt's time at Virginia, the Cavaliers won the 2009 and 2010 ITA National Team Indoor championship, the 2009 and 2010 ACC Championship and the 2009 and 2010 NCAA doubles title.
The Cavaliers also reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Team Championship in 2009, and the semifinals in 2010. He coached under Brian Boland, the 2008 and 2016 ITA National Coach of the Year and winner of four of the last five national championships (2013, 2015-17).
From 2005-08, Schwandt played ITF Futures and ATP Challengers around the world, including tournaments in South America, Mexico, Canada, Central America and India. He earned an ATP world ranking in singles and doubles. His top singles victory was over Marcus Fugate (587 ATP) 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in the 2008 Binghamton Challenger.
Schwandt is a 2005 graduate of the University of Richmond where he received his bachelor's degree in business administration, concentrating in economics. The two-time All-Atlantic 10 selection (2004 and 2005) helped the Spiders win three Atlantic 10 conference championships (2002, 2004 and 2005) and make three team appearances in the NCAA Men's Team Championship.
Schwandt completed his master's degree in sport psychology from Fresno State in May 2012 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Schwandt's book review on John Wooden was published in the June 2012 issue of The Sport Psychologist.
Schwandt is a native of Kennett Square, Pa., and is married to the former Rachel Eddy. The couple resides in Lynchburg, Va.
What They Are Saying about Derek Schwandt
"Derek Schwandt is a great hire for Liberty University. I have known Derek from his early days as a successful player and coach. Derek is a man of deep faith and integrity. He is the type of person that every parent wants their child to play for as he represents all that is right about college athletics. I am excited for everyone who loves Liberty Athletics, but most importantly, the student-athletes who have Derek as their coach and mentor. Derek has the leadership skills and knowledge to build a nationally competitive program at Liberty. He will lead Liberty to new heights and build a championship program on and off the court. Today is a great day for Liberty Men's Tennis."
Head of Men's Tennis for USTA Player Development
Former Head Coach, Virginia
"Derek is one of the most talented up and coming young coaches in the country in my opinion. Not only does he possess the tools to win at the highest level, his relationship with Christ is the most important thing to him in his life. For these reasons, I believe this is an incredible hire by Ian [McCaw] and a perfect fit for the future of the Liberty Men's Tennis program."
Head Coach, Arizona State
"Derek has done an incredible job at Georgia Tech, on and off the court. He brought an impeccable work ethic to recruiting and development. He has a passion for tennis, coaching and people and he is well deserving of this opportunity at Liberty. He represented Georgia Tech with the highest level of integrity and was a big part of our success over the past few years. We will definitely miss him here, but I know great things are ahead for Liberty. We all thank him for the time and effort he gave to Georgia Tech. We are better because of him."
Head Coach, Georgia Tech
"I'm excited to see Derek build an excellent tennis program for Liberty! He's an exceptional on-court coach that will create meaningful relationships with each of his student-athletes. Derek is a relentless worker whose character is second to none and he'll be a great role model for his teams."
Head Coach, Oklahoma State
Beck Pennington joined the Liberty's mens tennis staff in July 2017 following a distinguished five-year playing career at the University of Kentucky.
In Pennington's first year as an assistant coach for the Flames, he helped lead Liberty to a 4-0 start in the Big South for the first time in program history. The Flames captured 12 matches in 2018, a five-win improvement from the previous year. Pennington instructed two Big South All-Conference selections in Sam Matheson (first team) and Chase Burton (second team).
“Beck is an extremely hard worker and fierce competitor,” Liberty Men's Tennis Head Coach Derek Schwandt said. “He developed his game and coaching philosophy under Cedric Kauffmann (195 ATP Singles, Kentucky head coach) and legendary ATP Tour coach Bill Tym. I’m excited to see Beck’s energy and impact on our training environment and team culture. He knows what it takes to compete at the top level of college tennis.”
Pennington served as a team captain for Kentucky from 2014-17. He was a three-time second team All-SEC selection and three-time All-SEC Academic honoree in his time with the Wildcats.
Pennington helped Kentucky to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Team Tournament. The Wildcats finished No. 9 in the nation in 2013, No. 12 in 2014, including a win over No. 1 Ohio State, and No. 23 in 2016. Pennington, a Bowling Green, Ky., native, climbed as high as No. 39 in the Oracle/ITA Division I singles rankings and No. 23 in doubles.
As a senior, he won 17 singles matches in his final spring campaign, which was tied for the most on the team. Pennington led his squad to a second-round appearance in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship.
Pennington and doubles partner Enzo Wallart competed in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Doubles Championship after defeating five nationally ranked opponents throughout the year.
“I have been given a great opportunity to work under Coach Schwandt with Liberty University,” Pennington stated. “I am looking forward to building a new culture for the Flames’ tennis program and cultivating leaders on and off the court.”
Pennington graduated from Kentucky in May with a bachelor’s degree in business communication and a minor in business marketing. He currently resides in Lynchburg, Va.
Former Liberty men's tennis player Egon Samaai began serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the program in spring 2017 and is continuing as a volunteer assistant on head coach Derek Schwandt's staff.
Samaai enjoyed a successful playing career for the Flames from 2012-16 and served as a volunteer assistant for the team in spring 2017. In his role, Samaai will provide assistance to the program's coaching and administrative operations.
"It's an honor to have Egon join our team. He loves the game, is hungry to coach, and he is an outstanding model of servant leadership," Schwandt stated. "As a Liberty alum, Egon is passionate about building something special with Flames tennis."
Samaai compiled 74 singles victories in his four-year career at Liberty, which is tied for the most in program history. He also racked up 76 doubles triumphs (No. 3 in Flames' history) and was named to the Big South All-Conference Doubles team in both 2013 and 2014.
As a senior, the Cape Town, South Africa, native served as a team captain and captured a singles crown at the Wake Forest Invitational. During his junior campaign, Samaai was tabbed Big South Player of the Week three times and earned ECAC Men's Tennis Player of the Week honors once.
Samaai made an immediate impact during his first two years at Liberty. He was declared a Big South flight winner at the No. 1 doubles position as a freshman and was the Big South No. 1 doubles leader with teammate Dillon Segur as a sophomore.
Samaai earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from Liberty in 2016. He is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Sport Management and expects to complete it in December 2018.
Phone: (434) 582-2614
Fax: (434) 582-2631
Trevor Johnson was named the eighth head coach in Liberty volleyball history on Dec. 18, 2017.
An accomplished player turned coach, Johnson came to Liberty having the distinction of being the only athlete in the history of the NAIA to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Johnson brings a unique blend of coaching experience to Liberty Mountain, which includes an 86-14 career record as head coach, having led a program to the 2013 NAIA national championship and earning NAIA AVCA National Coach of the Year honors.
Johnson spent two seasons (2016, 2017) as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M. The Aggies landed the No. 18 ranked recruiting class in the country in 2017, as listed by PrepVolleyball.com.
During Johnson’s first year in College Station, Texas A&M posted a 21-9 record and earned an at-large bid to the first round of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Johnson’s specific coaching duties with the Aggies included working with the program’s setters. He helped Stephanie Aiple earn All-SEC honors in 2016 and she was named an AVCA honorable mention All-American.
Prior to his time with Texas A&M, Johnson served as the top volleyball assistant coach at Baylor in 2015. The Bears posted a 20-12 record that season, the program’s highest win total in four seasons. Shelly Fanning was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team, a first in Baylor program history.
Johnson spent five years at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., including two years as an assistant women’s volleyball coach (2011-12), one year as head men’s volleyball coach (2013) and two years as Director of Volleyball (2013-15).
During the 2011-12 seasons with Concordia’s women’s program, the Eagles won the NAIA national title in 2012 with a perfect 38-0 overall record and posted a 37-2 mark en route to a national-runner-up finish in 2011.
Johnson’s efforts with the Concordia were recognized by the AVCA in 2011 when he was named the AVCA 30 Under 30 Award recipient and the Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Johnson also led the men’s volleyball program to a NAIA national championship in 2013 during the program’s inaugural season. Following a 25-7 record, he was named the NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year and MAMVIC Conference Coach of the Year.
During his final three seasons at Concordia, Johnson served as Director of Volleyball, serving as head women’s coach and oversaw the men’s volleyball and sand volleyball programs.
Johnson guided the women’s program to back-to-back GSAC conference championships and he had seven players earn NAIA All-America honors. In 2014, Rachel Flynn was recognized as the AVCA NAIA Freshman of the Year under Johnson’s guidance.
Johnson served as an assistant men’s and women’s volleyball coach at California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif., during the 2007-09 and 2010-11 seasons. The Lancers posted a 127-39 record in his five seasons with the programs, spotlighted by the men’s team winning the 2011 NAIA national championship.
The NAIA powerhouse also recorded wins over nationally-ranked Division I men’s volleyball programs during Johnson’s time at California Baptist, including No. 2 BYU, No. 3 UC Irvine, No. 4 Stanford and No. 6 UC Santa Barbara.
During the 2010 season, Johnson served as Director of Volleyball Operations at Cal State Fullerton.
Johnson was an accomplished volleyball player on the court during his time as a four-year starter at California Baptist. He helped the Lancers win back-to-back NAIA national titles in 2004 and 2005 and he trained with the USA Men’s National Volleyball team in 2005 and 2006.
He was the NAIA national championship assists leader in 2003 and 2004 and finished his career as CBU’s all-time assists leader with 3,820, a record that stood until 2011.
Johnson graduated from California Baptist in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology. He earned a Master of Science degree in kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton in 2009.
Born in Phoenix, Ariz., and raised in Cerritos, Calif., Johnson and his wife, Jane, have an 8-year-old son, Riley, and a 5-year-old daughter, Chloe.
Cassie Crumal began her time at Liberty in June, 2015, when she was hired to serve as an assistant volleyball coach under head coach Shane Pinder.
Focusing primarily on instructing Liberty's setters, she helped guide sophomore Anna Willey to a breakout season in 2015. Willey was named to the Big South All-Conference honorable mention team, leading the conference with 11.29 assists per set in conference play. She posted a team-high 12 double-doubles, also adding 12 40-assist matches, seven 50-assist contests and one 60-assist match.
The next year, 2016, saw continued development from Liberty’s setters, Willey and freshman Hannah Morris. Willey was named to the second team for both Big South and VaSID All-State. She ranked second in the Big South in assists, and Willey entered her senior year ranked eighth in program history in career assists. Morris dished out a career-high 51 assists against USC Upstate, becoming the first Liberty freshman setter with a 50-assist match since Jade Craycraft in 2010.
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 the youngest head volleyball coach in the nation at that time.
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.
Brett Anema was hired to Head Coach Trevor Johnson’s coaching staff in January, 2018 and currently serves as an assistant coach.
Coach Anema is involved in all aspects of running a Division I program, including practice and match instruction and planning. He focuses mostly on Liberty’s middle blockers and blocking systems.
Anema, an accomplished player and coach, came to Liberty after spending the 2017 season serving as a volunteer assistant coach on Laurie Corbelli’s staff at Texas A&M. While there, he coached alongside current Liberty Head Coach Trevor Johnson, who was an assistant coach for the Aggies.
Following his playing career, Anema returned to California to coach both the JSerra Catholic High School and TStreet Volleyball Club for three years. TStreet was the top-ranked club in California while he served as coach.
Prior to his coaching career, Anema played volleyball professionally in Schuttorf, Germany.
Anema played collegiately for three years at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., where was recruited by current Liberty Head Coach Trevor Johnson.
A middle blocker hailing from La Mirada, Calif., he was a first-team all-conference selection during his first season, hitting .448 as Concordia won the NAIA national championship. During his senior year, 2015, he hit .444 with 2.32 kills and 0.81 blocks per set, earning AVCA/NAIA All-America honors.
Anema and his wife, Madison, were married in April 2017.
Phone: (434) 592-6259
Jeff Maren has been the head coach of the Liberty women's tennis program since the summer of 2012 and has built a highly successful program since his arrival.
During his first six seasons at Liberty, Maren holds a 90-56 overall record, including a 42-10 Big South mark. Under Maren's guidance, Liberty reached the semifinals or finals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship in each of his first six seasons, including two championship match appearances (2016, 2018).
In spring 2018, Maren guided Liberty to an 18-9 overall mark and a 7-1 record in the Big South. The Lady Flames placed a program-record seven players (Maria Medina, Lara Soares, Ashley Bongart, Rebekah Anderson, Grace Hashiguchi, Evangeline Crist and Anna Dollar) on Big South All-Conference teams. The 18 wins by Liberty were the second most in a season in school history.
In spring 2017, Maren guided Liberty to a 7-1 record in Big South play, allowing the Lady Flames to share the conference crown for a second consecutive year.
In spring 2016, Maren led the Lady Flames to the finals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship for the first time. The team's eight Big South wins set a new single-season program record. Liberty shared the regular season Big South title for the first time since 2011 and second time in program history. Maren was named the 2016 Big South Coach of the Year.
The Liberty women's tennis program also hosted the ITA Atlantic Regional for the first time in program history in October of 2015. The program then hosted the Big South Women's Tennis Championship in April of 2016.
During the 2015 spring season, Maren led the Lady Flames to 19 victories, setting a new single-season program record. The team also won seven conference matches for the second consecutive season.
Under Maren's tutelage, Liberty has seen 11 Big South All-Conference singles honorees, six Big South All-Conference doubles teams, three Big South doubles flight winners, eight VaSID first team doubles honorees, four VaSID second team doubles honorees and one VaSID second team singles honoree.
On March 4, 2014, Maren's squad earned Liberty's first ever ITA National ranking, coming in at No. 74.
Maren has also fostered academic success for the Liberty women's tennis program. The team currently has the third-highest cumulative GPA among Liberty's 20 NCAA Division I programs. Additionally, the Lady Flames were tabbed an ITA All-Academic team for the fifth straight year in 2017. Maren had four players on the 2017 ITA Scholar-Athlete team.
Maren has also had three players, Brittany Yang, Evangeline Crist and Emily Groeneveld, on the Big South All-Academic team. Yang made the team in 2013, 2014 and 2015, while Crist earned the honor as a sophomore in 2016 and as a senior in 2018. Groeneveld garnered the distinction in 2017.
Maren came 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.
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 at the No. 1 position 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 continues to play competitively on a yearly basis.
Maren and his wife, Julie, have one son, Zachary.
Giancarlo Lemmi joined the Lady Flames' coaching staff in the fall of 2012 as a graduate assistant and during the summer of 2013, he was promoted to a full-time assistant by head coach Jeff Maren. In May 2018, Lemmi received a promotion to associate head coach.
Lemmi's strong knowledge of the game and Liberty tennis stems from his four-year playing career for the Flames.
During his first five seasons as the full-time assistant, Lemmi has helped the Lady Flames to a 79-45 overall record, including a 36-7 mark in Big South Conference matches and a share of the Big South regular-season crown in two of the past three seasons (2016, 2017) along with Big South Championship title match appearances in both 2016 and 2018.
In the spring of 2016, Lemmi helped lead the Lady Flames to the finals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship. The team's eight Big South wins set a new single-season program record. Liberty has reached the semifinals or finals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship in each of his first five seasons with the program.
Liberty’s two winningest seasons in program history have both come with Lemmi as an assistant coach – 19 wins (2015) and 18 wins (2018).
The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native helped the Flames reach double-digit victories in each of his four total seasons as a player—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 upon graduation. 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).
Lemmi and his wife, Meredith, currently reside in Lynchburg, Va., with their daughter, Olivia.
Phone: (434) 582-2135
Brant Tolsma, Liberty's Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, is in his 33rd year coaching the Flames in 2018-19. During his three-plus 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, overseeing the men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track & field and men's and women's outdoor track & field programs.
Tolsma, who at the present time primarily coaches the Flames' decathletes, heptathletes and assists with the pole vaulters, celebrated his 100th conference championship at Liberty when the women's cross country team won the 2016 Big South title. Under Tolsma's guidance, Liberty's cross country and track & field squads have now won 98 Big South championships, seven Mason-Dixon championships, three IC4A team titles and one ECAC crown, which came in 2018.
The summer of 2018 was an exciting one for Tolsma, who was chosen as the head coach of the USA team for the inaugural FISU America Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also coached Markus Ballengee to seventh place in the NCAA decathlon, fifth place in the USATF decathlon and a spot on Team USA for the Thorpe Cup.
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). Liberty nearly repeated the feat in 2016-17, but fell seven points short in men's cross country.
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 won a total of 71 Big South Coach of the Year honors and twice was named the NCAA District Coach of the Year. Meanwhile, Tolsma's athletes have earned a combined 56 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. Twelve Liberty cross country/track & field student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors at the Division I level under his guidance, with the most recent being Kat Bouton in 2017.
Tolsma's track coaching career began at Campbell in Buies Creek, N.C., where he served as the head men's cross country and track & field coach for seven years (1979-86). He then took the helm of the Camels' women's cross country and track & field programs when those sports were inaugurated in 1982-83.
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 former indoor track & field facility bearing his name.
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 43 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 associate head track & field coach Clendon Henderson; Regina Hurst; Joey and recently married Tami Acree, a four-year member of the Liberty women's track & field team who graduated in May 2012. Tolsma also has 12 grandchildren.
Andrew "Pete" McFadden serves on the Liberty track & field coaching staff, primarily working with the sprints (up to 800 meters) and relays.
After serving in a part-time role during the 2007 season, he is working full-time with the Flames for a 12th consecutive season in 2019 and was promoted to Associate Head Track & Field Coach in January 2018.
Since McFadden joined the coaching staff, the Flames have won 37 Big South team championships, the men's squad captured back-to-back IC4A outdoor titles (2007 & 2008) and the Lady Flames earned their first ECAC indoor crown (2018).
The 2018 ECAC indoor team title was one of many highlights during arguably McFadden’s finest coaching season to date. His athletes excelled on international, national, regional, conference and historical levels.
Olympian Alejandro Perlaza Zapata set both the South American indoor men’s 400 record (46.14) and the Colombian outdoor men’s 400 record (44.86) during his first season with the Flames. Meanwhile, Tanner Ealum raced to the world’s No. 4 women’s 500 time of 2018, 1:11.17. At season’s end, McFadden traveled to Perlaza Zapata’s home continent as an assistant coach for the USA team at the inaugural 2018 FISU America Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Perlaza Zapata qualified to the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men’s 400. He also helped the men’s 4 x 400 relay qualify to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. That squad, along with the women’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 units, became the first Liberty relay teams ever to compete at the Preliminary Round.
McFadden’s charges won the 2018 IC4A 400 (Perlaza Zapata) and 4 x 400 relay, along with the ECAC 500 (Ealum). Finally, the athletes McFadden coaches combined to win 15 Big South titles and break 10 different program records on the year.
McFadden coached the 2017 Big South Indoor Women's Freshman of the Year (Tanner Ealum) and the 2017 Big South Outdoor Men's Outstanding Track Performer (Stephen Racanelli). That season, the Flames also took down long-standing program records in the outdoor men's 800 (Michael Todd), indoor men's 4 x 400 and outdoor women's 4 x 400.
In 2016, the Flames won 13 of the 22 events McFadden coaches at the Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Additionally, Liberty set five program records in women's relay events, including the indoor 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 and the outdoor 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 800.
McFadden's charges also enjoyed a successful year in 2015, winning nine Big South event titles. Abigail Flower captured four Big South sprint championships (indoor 60, indoor 200, outdoor 100 and outdoor 200), while Stephen Racanelli won three Big South crowns (indoor 200, indoor 400, outdoor 400). Liberty also took top honors in the Big South men's indoor 4 x 400 relay and women's outdoor 4 x 100 relay.
In 2009-10, McFadden helped coach Jaime Watson to one of the finest seasons in school and conference history in the 400 and 800. She broke numerous Liberty and Big South Conference records and qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
McFadden was a standout sprinter for the Flames in the mid to late 90s and held the Big South Championship meet record at 100 meters (10.32) until 2010. In 1996, he led off for Liberty's victorious 4 x 100 meter relay squad at the IC4A Championship, helping the Flames capture the team title. The quartet ran a school-record 39.86 seconds. In total, he was a six-time All-East selection at 100 meters, 200 meters and in the 4 x 100 relay.
McFadden also excelled on the football field at Liberty. He played for the 1995 Flames who went 8-3 and were ranked No. 19 nationally. That season, McFadden returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged a school-record 37.8 yards per return. His 93-yard punt return against Delaware State is still a school record. At season's end, he was named a first-team All-American as a return specialist by both the Football Gazette and the Sports Network.
McFadden participated in the Indianapolis Colts' 1998 preseason training camp, but was released just before the team's last cut. He then spent the 1999 season with the Portland Forest Dragons of the Arena Football League.
In addition to his position on the Flames' coaching staff, he works part-time with troubled youth in Lynchburg as a home-based therapist. He also works with an inner-city youth group at Power of God Deliverance Church in Lynchburg and founded an organization called Dream Again Life, which teaches children the importance of being educated, while also motivating them to chase after their dreams.
Clendon Henderson has served on the Liberty track & field staff as an assistant coach ever since becoming the second Flames track & field athlete to be both an All-American and an Academic All-American during his own collegiate career. In January 2018, he was promoted to Associate Head Track & Field Coach.
Henderson, who coaches Liberty's throwers, has helped guide Flames to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships during seven of his 10 years on staff. Most recently, Dasiana Larson (women’s hammer) and Denzel Pratt (men’s javelin) both qualified for the 2018 NCAA national meet.
Larson and Pratt were two of eight different Flames throwers to qualify for the 2018 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet. The successful year saw the Lady Flames win all six Big South women’s throwing events, indoors and outdoors. Newcomers Naomi Mojica (52-3.25 women’s shot put) and Patria Vaimaona (168-7 women’s discus) both set Big South all-time records.
In total, Liberty throwers have won 54 Big South event titles and five ECAC event crowns, while breaking school records in seven different events during the past 10 seasons, as well as a Bahamian national record (Denzel Pratt – men's javelin). Three of the five Liberty throwing event records which have not been broken during that time are owned by Henderson himself.
Certified as a Throwing Specialist by the USTFCCCA and as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Henderson earned an All-America certificate during his final college meet, the 2008 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The senior recorded a third-place finish in the discus final, becoming the first thrower in Liberty history to win All-America recognition.
During his senior season of indoor track & field, Henderson qualified for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, placing 14th in the shot put. He ended his career with three Liberty and Big South records, including indoor shot put (61-10.5), outdoor shot put (61-3) and discus (204-3).
Henderson, who graduated with a 3.72 grade-point average in kinesiology in May 2008, garnered many academic awards, headlined by a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America notation. He was additionally a two-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic team member and won two Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. Henderson was also presented with the inaugural Dr. Jerry Falwell Leadership award.
At Meadow High School, Henderson starred in both track & field and six-man football. He then began his collegiate career at South Plains College. As a sophomore at South Plains in 2005, Henderson was a junior college All-American, after placing second in the discus at the NJCAA national meet.
Henderson married Head Coach Brant Tolsma's daughter Brenda in June 2007, and the couple resides in the Lynchburg area. The Hendersons have two sons, Colton and Adrian, and a daughter, Cheyanne.
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 seventh year in 2018-19. She is serving as the interim head coach for the men's and women's cross country teams in 2018, directing all of the Flames' distance runners.
Ricksecker helped coach Noel Palmer to an outstanding freshman season in 2017-18. After arriving at Liberty with personal bests of 10:47 in the 3,200 and 17:45 in the 5K, Palmer improved to 16:28 in the 5K and 34:41 in the 10K during her first year on campus.
Ricksecker also played a leading role in recruiting a talented group of 15 freshman distance runners for the upcoming 2018-19 athletic year.
During the 2016 cross country season, Ricksecker was responsible for the day-to-day coaching of both the men's and women's squads. She coached the Lady Flames to their first Big South title since 2012 and guided the Flames to their top finish (ninth) at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships since 2012.
On the track, Ricksecker's charges placed inside the top two of every women's race 1,500 meters and longer at the 2017 Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Redshirt freshman Anna Van Wyk led the way, winning the outdoor 5K title to go along with four runner-up finishes.
In 2014-15, 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.
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 conference titles 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 is part of Liberty's school record-setting squad in the 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.
Shawn Venable joined the Liberty track & field staff as an assistant coach for jumps and hurdles in the fall of 2016, after spending the previous four seasons at Oral Roberts. In January 2018, he added the title of recruiting coordinator.
During 2018, Venable coached Jovaine Atkinson to a fourth-place finish in the NCAA men’s 60 hurdles final and a record-breaking time of 7.64. He also helped Darrel Jones close out his collegiate career with a trip to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men’s triple jump. Kimone Green and Branson Rolle swept the Big South women’s and men’s 400 hurdles title and each qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet, with Rolle doing so as a true freshman.
Venable enjoyed immediate success at Liberty, as his athletes won six Big South event titles in 2017 and broke six different school records. These included the men's 60 hurdles (Jovaine Atkinson), men's 110 hurdles (Atkinson), men's indoor shuttle hurdles relay, men's indoor triple jump (Darrel Jones), women's indoor triple jump (Janae Jones) and women's 400 hurdles (Mary Witmer).
Venable served as assistant track & field coach/recruiting coordinator for Oral Roberts, focusing on the jumps, hurdles, short sprints and throws. He coached a number of standout performers, including two All-Americans, eight qualifiers to the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet and 13 Southland Conference champions.
Prior to his time at Oral Roberts, Venable spent five seasons (2007-12) as head track & field/cross country coach at Bacone College. He reestablished the program in January 2007 and quickly guided his team to success. The Bacone men's track & field team captured Red River Conference titles in both 2009 and 2012, and Venable was named Red River Conference Coach of the Year both times. Additionally, his men's track & field squad placed inside the top 25 at both the NAIA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2012.
During Venable's five years at Bacone, he coached 17 NAIA All-Americans, three NAIA Academic All-Americans, 65 NAIA national qualifiers, 15 Red River Conference champions, 103 all-conference honorees and 47 academic all-conference award winners.
Venable began his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, Oral Roberts, working as a volunteer assistant track & field coach for the 2005-06 season.
As an athlete, Venable started out as a middle and long distance runner at Oral Roberts before transitioning to the pole vault and decathlon later in his career. He served as team captain and earned two Mid-Continent all-conference honors as a senior. During Venable's time on the squad, Oral Roberts captured four Mid-Continent Conference championships.
The native of Owasso, Okla., owns three degrees and is working toward a fourth. He graduated from Oral Roberts with a bachelor's degree in theology – New Testament Biblical literature in 2005. Four years later, Venable earned a master's degree in theology – Judeo-Christian Studies from Oral Roberts. He then graduated with a master's degree in secondary education – sports administration from East Central University in 2018. Venable is currently beginning work toward a Ph.D. in educational leadership at Liberty.
Venable has also shown a commitment to education within the sport of track & field, winning the 2015 Vern Gambetta Coaching Education Award from USA Track & Field (USATF). Since 2013, he has served as the USATF Coaching Education Southeast Regional Coordinator. Venable spends 8-10 weekends each year instructing USATF Level 1 schools.
Venable is an IAAF Level 5/USATF Level 3 certified in jumping events, sprinting events and combined events. He is also a USTFCCCA Strength & Conditioning Coach and a National Pole Vault Coaches Association (NPVCA) Certified Coach.
Venable and his wife, Ashley, have three sons, Keegan, Kolton and Kingston.
Mark Fairley joins the Liberty staff in 2018 as an interim assistant coach for track & field and cross country. He will primarily work with the Flames’ distance squad.
Fairley arrives in Lynchburg on the heels of a standout career at Central College. He captured the men’s steeplechase national title at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships as a senior, improving one spot from his national runner-up spot in the 2017 steeplechase final. Fairley earned a third All-America certificate with his 26th-place showing at the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.
A seven-time Iowa Conference event champion, Fairley owns the school record in the steeplechase at 8:57.39. Other top marks from his collegiate career include 4:16.42 in the mile, 8:23.87 in the 3K and 14:42.67 in the 5K.
Fairley was recognized by the USTFCCCA as Central Region Men’s Cross Country and Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year as a senior. He was also named USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country National Athlete of the Week on Sept. 6, 2017, following his victory at the season-opening Dutch Invitational.
Fairley, who graduated from Central College with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and 3.825 GPA in 2018, earned numerous academic accolades as well. He was a 2018 CoSIDA Academic All-American in and was named 2018 USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Men’s Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
A native of Dubuque, Iowa, Fairley was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship of $7,500. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports management at Liberty.
After previous stints as a student-athlete and a graduate assistant for the Liberty track & field team, Ashley Bookbinder joined the full-time staff as director of operations prior to the 2014-15 season.
Bookbinder played an integral role in Liberty's hosting of the 2016 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships. She has also had a key part in hosting high-level meets during the first two years of competition at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex, including the 2017 Big South and ASUN Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Bookbinder returned to the track & field program after spending the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years as the internships and special topics coordinator for Liberty's Department of Sport Management.
During the 2011-12 season, Bookbinder served as a graduate assistant in the Liberty track & field office. That followed one year (2010-11) as an assistant track & field coach at the University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Mont.
Bookbinder spent three seasons (2006-07 through 2007-09) as a mid-distance runner on the Liberty women's track & field team. The native of Abbotsford, British Columbia placed fifth in the 800 at the 2009 Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships and recorded a personal-best time of 2:17.23 in the event. She also recorded a seventh-place finish in the 400 hurdles at the 2008 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Bookbinder has earned a pair of degrees at Liberty, including a bachelor's degree in communications in 2009 and a master's degree in sport management in 2012.
The former Ashley Teer is married to Liberty Football Assistant Coach Josh Bookbinder and resides in the Lynchburg area. The couple had their first child, Grant, in May 2018.
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 23 victories per year, while becoming a regular fixture in the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
Green has accumulated a 440-168 record in 18 seasons on the Liberty bench, good for a winning percentage of .724. He currently ranks 16th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches in winning percentage.
Liberty has won the Big South Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament 14 times with Green as head coach. Liberty has totaled 24 or more victories during 11 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 28 occasions (25 NCAA, 3 WNIT) as a women's basketball coach, a span which includes a dozen years as an assistant coach at Clemson.
Liberty has notched 16 20-win seasons in Green's 19 years at the helm. He is a five-time Big South Coach of the Year and a five-time Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) State Coach of the Year, including his latest VaSID honor in 2017-18.
The 2017-18 Lady Flames enjoyed the second biggest single-season turnaround in program history, going from 13-17 to 24-10 in one year. Liberty claimed both the Big South regular-season and tournament titles during its final year as a conference member, returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.
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 20 teams in rebounding margin for 16 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 10thstraight 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., 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 .874 (311-45) 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 five times during Green's 18 seasons. Liberty was 13th during his first season (1999-2000), tied for 14th in 2005-06, a program-best seventh in 2006-07, 14th in 2007-08 and 22nd in 2015-16.
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 and his wife, Denise, reside in the Lynchburg area and have two children, Angie and Brian. Angie is a physical therapist and is married to Jason Grunkemeyer, a men's basketball associate head coach at Ball State. The couple has three children, Joshua, Nathan and Evelyn.
Brian is a project manager at Fluor Corporation, in Greenville, S.C., and his wife, Susan, is a pharmacist for CVS. They have two sons, Connor and Bryson.
Green at a Glance
Birthdate: March 31, 1956
Family: Wife, Denise
Children: Two children, Angie and Brian
Grandchildren: Four grandsons, Joshua, Nathan, Connor and Bryson and a granddaughter, Evelyn
Hometown: Louisville, Tenn.
High School: Friendsville High School, Friendsville, Tenn., 1974
Associate: Associate's degree, Roane State, 1976
Undergraduate: Bachelor's degree in marine science, Coastal Carolina, 1979
Graduate: Master's degree in science education, Tennessee, 1981
1979-81: Two years, assistant men's and women's coach, Roane State
1981-82: One year, head men's coach, Coalfield High
1982-84: Two years, head women's coach, Rockwood High
1984-87: Three years, head men's and women's coach, Jackson State
1987-99: 12 years, assistant women's coach, Clemson
1999-Present: Head women's coach, Liberty
1986: TJCAA Coach of the Year
1993: Assistant Coach for ACC All-Stars Canadian Tour
1997: Speaker at WBCA Final Four Recruiting Forum
2000: Big South Coach of the Year
2003: Big South Coach of the Year
2003: VaSID Coach of the Year
2005: VaSID Coach of the Year
2006: Big South Coach of the Year
2006: VaSID Coach of the Year
2008: Big South Coach of the Year
2009: Big South Coach of the Year
2013: VaSID Coach of the Year
2018: VaSID Coach of the Year
Year-By-Year at Liberty
1999-2000 - 23-8, 12-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2000-01 - 18-12, 12-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2001-02 - 23-8, 13-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2002-03 - 26-4, 14-0 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2003-04 - 25-7, 14-0 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2004-05 - 26-7, 13-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Sweet 16)
2005-06 - 25-6, 13-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2006-07 - 19-12, 10-4 Big South
2007-08 - 28-4, 11-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2008-09 - 24-9, 15-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2009-10 - 27-6, 14-2 Big South (Big South Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2010-11 - 22-11, 14-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season Champions, WNIT Appearance)
2011-12 - 24-9, 16-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2012-13 - 27-7, 16-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2013-14 - 20-11, 15-5 Big South
2014-15 - 26-7, 19-1 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
2015-16 – 20-13, 15-5 Big South (WNIT Appearance)
2016-17 – 13-17, 12-6 Big South
2017-18 – 24-10, 16-2 Big South (Big South Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Appearance)
TOTALS (19 Seasons) - 440-168, 264-40 Big South (14 Big South Regular-Season Titles, 14 Big South Tournament Titles, 14 NCAA Appearances, 2 WNIT Appearances)
Alexis Sherard is in his 12th season on the Lady Flames' coaching staff, tying him with Andrea "Andy" Bloodworth as the longest-tenured assistant in program history. Promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2017-18 season, Sherard serves as the team's co-recruiting coordinator and assists with game strategies and player development.
Sherard has earned Big South championship rings during seven of his first 11 years with the Lady Flames. Liberty has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the Postseason WNIT Tournament with Sherard on staff.
Sherard has coached the Lady Flames’ post players during most of his time on staff. In that capacity, Sherard aided in 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 also oversaw the development of the "Big 3" of Katelyn Adams, Catherine Kearney and Ashley Rininger, each of whom wrapped up their time with the Lady Flames in 2015-16. The trio totaled 2,898 points and 2,431 rebounds during their careers.
Most recently, Sherard helped coach post player Keyen Green to Big South Freshman of the Year and VaSID State Rookie of the Year awards during the 2016-17 campaign.
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.
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.
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 (13) and Elijah (12).
1993-95: Two years, assistant men's coach, Saint Michael's
1995-96: One year, head men's coach, Lakewood Prep School
1996-98: Two years, men's administrative assistant, Providence
1998-99: One year, assistant men's coach, Binghamton
1999-2002: Three years, men's director of operations, Virginia
2002-03: One year, assistant men's coach, Virginia
2003-04: One year, men's director of operations, Virginia
2004-05: One year, assistant men's coach, Virginia
2005-07: Two years, assistant men's coach, Liberty
2007-Present: Assistant women's coach, Liberty
Andrea "Andy" Bloodworth begins her 12th year as an assistant on the Liberty women's basketball coaching staff, which ties her with Alexis Sherard as the longest-tenured assistants in program history. The team's co-recruiting coordinator also assists with development of the Lady Flames' point guards and scouting.
Liberty has claimed Big South titles during seven of Bloodworth's first 11 seasons on Liberty Mountain, tallying a 255-104 record in the process.
In 2017-18, Bloodworth coached point guard Ashtyn Baker to Big South Freshman of the Year and Big South All-Tournament Team honors during a spectacular rookie 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 went on to serve as 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.
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.
1998-99: One year, assistant women's coach, Ferris State
1999-2000: One year, assistant women's coach, Lake Michigan Community College
2000-02: Two years, assistant women's coach, Armstrong Atlantic State
2002-05: Three years, assistant women's coach, Gannon
2005-07: Two years, assistant women's coach, Valparaiso
2007-Present: Assistant women's coach, Liberty
Former WNBA player and All-American Monica Wright has joined Liberty’s women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach for the 2018-19 season. In her role, she works with the Lady Flames’ wing players.
Wright comes to Liberty from Incarnate Word, where she served the Cardinals’ women’s basketball team as director of student-athlete development in 2017-18.
After being drafted second overall by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2010 WNBA Draft, Wright was named to the 2010 WNBA All-Rookie Team. She averaged 11.1 ppg as a rookie, headlined by a career-high 32-point outburst against the Phoenix Mercury on June 1, 2010.
Wright helped the Lynx win WNBA titles in both 2011 and 2013. During Minnesota’s 3-0 sweep of the Atlanta Dream in the 2013 WNBA Finals, Wright averaged 11.7 ppg and 1.7 spg for the victors.
Wright, who also spent time with the Seattle Storm, served as secretary/treasurer for the WNBA Players Association during the 2015 season.
Wright owns experience with USA Basketball, helping Team USA win gold at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championships. During the 2007 tournament, Wright was voted team captain by a staff featuring DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno, Basketball Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper and Notre Dame Assistant Coach Carol Owens. Playing alongside Maya Moore, Jantel Lavender and Jasmine Thomas, Wright helped Team USA go 9-0, averaging 9.8 ppg and coming up with a team-high 21 steals. Wright was also part of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Select Team.
Wright played collegiately at Virginia, where she earned Associated Press All-America honors as a sophomore, junior and senior (2008-10). During her senior season (2009-10), Wright was honored as ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 23.7 ppg (No. 7 in the NCAA) and 3.7 spg (No. 2 in the NCAA).
Virginia’s all-time leading scorer (2,540 career points) and the No. 3 all-time scorer among ACC women’s basketball players, Wright introduced herself to Liberty fans on Dec. 29, 2009 during the Marriott Cavalier Classic title game at John Paul Jones Arena. She finished with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and a Lady Flames opponent-record 10 steals, earning tournament MVP honors.
During her four years at Virginia, Wright set program career records for total points (2,540), scoring average (19.1 ppg), field goals made (962), field goal attempts (2,207) and 25-point games (28), with a high of 39 points at Boston College on Jan. 21, 2010. Her 372 career steals rank No. 4 in Virginia history.
Wright graduated from Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Va., in 2006, after a highly decorated high school career for the Bruins. Wright led Forest Park to Virginia AAA state titles as a sophomore (2004) and senior (2006), averaging 22.4 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 4.5 spg and 3.0 apg during her senior campaign.
Wright, who totaled 1,913 high school points, was named to the USA Today All-USA first team squad as a senior. She was also tabbed the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Virginia in both 2005 and 2006.
Wright was the first Virginia player to be named to both the McDonald’s and WBCA All-America games. She scored a team-high 13 points and came up with a game-record eight steals during the McDonald’s All-America game and was named team MVP at the WBCA contest.
Wright, who graduated from Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2010, is a strong advocate of women’s health. She served as an ambassador for womenshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov for several years.
Wright is engaged to marry Michael Rogers.
2017-18: One year, women’s director of student-athlete development, Incarnate Word
2018-Present: Assistant women's coach, Liberty
Sarah Boruta is in her eighth 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 overseeing video technology.
Boruta serves as director for the Lady Flames' summer camps, which have seen an 800 percent increase in campers since her arrival at Liberty. She also oversees the team's outreach activities, including postgame clinics and community service events.
Boruta is an active member of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly known as NACWAA) and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and has presented at both organizations' conventions. She 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.
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 four 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 received an MBA from Liberty in 2017.
Dan Lumpkin joined the Liberty women's basketball coaching staff in August 2017 as the program's first Director of Player Development. In this role, he serves as the Lady Flames' video coordinator, aids in developing life skills and strategies for each player and assists Head Coach Carey Green in various capacities. Lumpkin formerly served as women's basketball head coach at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn., with 25 years of collegiate coaching experience.
Lumpkin won 337 games at Cleveland State at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I level, making him the winningest basketball coach in the school's history. His teams made it into the NJCAA Division I rankings a number of times over the years, with the highest ranking being No. 7 during the 2010-2011 season.
Lumpkin had over 40 players selected to the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) All-Conference teams and NJCAA Region 7 All-Region teams, and had two selected as NJCAA All-Americans. His teams were TCCAA Conference and NJCAA Region and District Tournament runners-up in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and Lumpkin was selected as 2016 TCCAA/NJCAA Region 7 Coach of the Year.
Prior to moving into the junior college ranks, Lumpkin was an assistant coach at Martin Methodist College, which won the 1995 Small College National Championship. Before coaching at Martin Methodist, he was a graduate assistant for two seasons at Austin Peay.
Lumpkin earned his bachelor's degree in English (1992) and master's degree in English (1994) from Austin Peay. He was also the softball head coach at Martin Methodist College from 1994-1997 and at Cleveland State from 1998-2002 where his team achieved a national ranking during the 2002 season.
Lumpkin has been heavily involved in the NJCAA over the years. He has been on the NJCAA Board of Directors as the Region 7 Women's Director for the past 16 years, as well as a member of the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball and Division I Softball Committees. Lumpkin additionally served on the Women's Basketball Division I National Tournament Seeding Committee and All-American Selection Committee. He was a Sectional Director for the National Poll, and a member of the At-Large Selection Committee since the JUCO National Tournament's expansion to 24 teams. He was Vice-Chair of the Division I Districting Committee and served for two years on the NJCAA Executive Committee, and was also a member of the Executive Committee of the TCCAA.
Lumpkin, a Louisiana native, is married to Dr. Kelly Lumpkin, who works as a faculty member in the Athletic Training Education Program at Liberty. The couple has three children, Danny, MiKayla and Jordan.
Jess Pham joins the Lady Flames’ staff for the 2018-19 season as graduate assistant. In that role, she will work with the managers, practice players, social media, recruiting database and video, among other duties.
Pham comes to Liberty from Canisius, where she served as director of basketball operations for the Golden Griffins’ women’s basketball team in 2017-18.
Pham’s previous experience came at Longwood, including a year (2016-17 season) as the Lancers’ women’s basketball director of operations. She was responsible for assisting the daily operations of the program, arranging team travel, ordering equipment, game day management and organizing film exchange between opposing teams. She also over saw the program’s managers and edited game film for review.
Pham spent 2015-16 as Longwood’s volunteer director of operations, while also taking on a full course load. In that position, accompanying the normal operations duties, she also assisted with game day marketing efforts.
Pham has spent her summers around the game, working as the women’s assistant basketball camp director at Liberty, helping out with all facets of organizing, promoting, and executing the Team Camp, Day Camp and Elite Camp. She has also worked summer women’s basketball camps at Duke and Oregon State.
Pham earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science from Longwood in 2016. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports management at Liberty.
Grace Mangino took over as the Lady Flames' office administrator in February 2017. In this role, she is responsible for a number of duties, including the team's budget, intercampus relations and Coach Green's daily schedule.
Mangino has gained a wide array of experience during her time at Liberty, filling in as the Liberty men's basketball office administrator during the fall of 2016 and then serving as executive administration assistant for the director of athletics during the winter.
Mangino graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech in May 2016 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in sociology. While in Blacksburg, she served as a resident advisor and as a small group leader with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Mangino has been around athletics for her whole life. Her father, Larry Mangino, has been in college basketball coaching for 30 years and currently serves as director of scouting/recruiting for the Virginia men's basketball team. Her sister, Chelsea, is the director of operations for Liberty's men's basketball team.
Phone: (434) 582-2564
Phone: (434) 582-2564
Kelly Nangle was named the second head coach in the history of Liberty's women's lacrosse program in June of 2013.
Since taking over the fledgling program, Nangle has coached 22 Big South All-Conference team members, two Big South Conference Freshman of the Year (Kayla Foster, 2016, Carly White, 2017) award winners and five Big South All-Tournament Team selections in her time at Liberty.
Additionally, she has seen nine of her players named to the VaSID All-State team and a VaSID Rookie of the Year selection (Kayla Foster, 2016). Nangle has also fostered academic success, with four Big South All-Academic honorees and six IWLCA Academic Honor Roll selections. Nangle has also seen three of her players earn inclusion on the Inside Women’s Lacrosse All-Rookie team.
Nangle collected her first win at the helm of the program on Feb. 21, 2014 when the Lady Flames defeated Elon, 13-9, at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
Prior to coming to Liberty, Nangle spent two seasons at Central Connecticut State, helping the Blue Devils reach new heights during her tenure. She posted a 16-18 overall record and a 12-6 mark in Northeast Conference action.
Nangle guided Central Connecticut State to a program record tying seven victories in 2012, while setting new program standards with five NEC victories and six home wins. She was recognized for her efforts, by being named the 2012 NEC Coach of the Year. In addition, her senior keeper, Erin DeLancey, was selected the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year.
In 2013, 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 2013, surpassing the previous school record for overall wins. Six of Nangle's players earned All-NEC honors, dramatically increasing the program's number of all-conference honorees. Central Connecticut State had 11 total previous all-conference honorees in program history.
Prior to her heading Central Connecticut State, Nangle spent three years as an assistant coach at Rutgers (2009-11). She oversaw the Scarlet Knights' defense, while assisting with the program’s recruiting efforts and overseeing the team’s 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 Scarlet Knights' defense improved each season, 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 one 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, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., played soccer and lacrosse at Mount St. Mary’s from 2001-06 and earned her bachelor’s degree in business.
Phone: (434) 582-2144
Nina Dunay joined the Liberty lacrosse coaching staff as an assistant coach in September 2015 after a distinguished four-year playing career (2012-15) for the Lady Flames.
Since joining the Liberty lacrosse staff, Dunay has coached 12 Big South All-Conference selections and two Big South Freshman of the Year honorees (Kayla Foster in 2016 and Carly White in 2017).
Dunay, an Ashburn, Va., native, assists in recruiting, team travel, practice planning and works with the Lady Flames' offensive attack.
Dunay is the Liberty lacrosse program career leader in goals (128), shots (279), caused turnovers (80) and games played (75). She ranks second all-time in points (175), is tied for second in games started (70), third in draw controls (122), fourth in assists (47), fourth in free-position goals (20) and fifth in ground balls (113).
Dunay was a Big South Conference first team selection in 2015 and second team selection in 2013 and 2014. She also garnered VaSID All-State second team distinction in 2014 and 2015 and IWLCA Academic Honor Roll distinction in 2015.
She graduated from Liberty in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. She earned her master’s degree in executive leadership in 2016.
Phone: (434) 582-2145
Tori Quinn joined the Liberty women's lacrosse coaching staff in August 2017.
Quinn comes to Liberty after serving as an assistant coach for two years (2015-17) at Canisius. She also enjoyed a successful four-year playing career for the Griffins.
“I am extremely thankful and excited for the opportunity to join Kelly (Nangle) and her staff and become a part of the Liberty lacrosse family,” Quinn stated. “Her passion and dedication to continue to build and take Liberty lacrosse to the next level nationally is what ultimately led me to choose this position.”
Quinn will be responsible for helping coach the Lady Flames’ offense as well as working with the goalkeepers. She will also assist with recruiting.
In two years as an assistant at Canisius, Quinn coached 17 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Conference players. The Griffins finished 2017 with the most wins (15) and fewest losses (5) in program history, while winning the MAAC Championship to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
Quinn coached three student-athletes who broke program records during the 2017 season, including 2017 Tewaaraton Award Semifinalist Erica Evans.
“I am extremely excited to welcome Tori to our Flames family. Tori has an undeniable passion for the sport that will make an immediate impact on our players,” Liberty Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Kelly Nangle. “Adding Tori to our staff is going to help us continue to grow and take this program to new heights. We are excited to add her enthusiasm, energy and experience to the program!”
In Quinn’s six years as a Griffins player and assistant coach, the team won five conference titles. The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, native finished her playing career as one of the most celebrated players in program history.
Quinn earned Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Regional All-America honors on three separate occasions and was a three-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. She closed out her career with 154 goals, 97 assists and 251 points in a Griffins uniform.
The native of Canada graduated from Canisius in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education/health. She then went on receive her master’s degree in sport administration and management from Canisius in 2017.
Phone: (434) 582-2768
Liberty University Director of Athletics Ian McCaw announced the hiring of Lang Wedemeyer as Liberty's new head women's soccer coach on Jan. 31, 2017. Wedemeyer is the eighth in the program's history.
Wedemeyer comes to Liberty following a highly successful 17-year run as the head women's soccer coach at South Dakota State. During his time at the helm of the Jackrabbits' program, Wedemeyer led South Dakota State to four Summit League championships and trips to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2016).
Wedemeyer has his U.S. Soccer "A" License, his NSCAA Premier diploma, an NSCAA Level 3 Goalkeeper diploma and a U.S. Youth Soccer National license. Throughout his coaching career, Wedemeyer has been around elite competition coaching against youth national teams in the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Belgium with ODP Regional teams.
During his 17 seasons at South Dakota State, Wedemeyer posted a 161-123-39 record, including 10 seasons with 10 or more victories. During the Jackrabbits' run of three-straight Summit League titles, South Dakota State has posed a 32-21-9 record the last three years.
"I am incredibly excited to be joining the Liberty family as the next head women's soccer coach," commented Wedemeyer. "The combination of Christian values, a competitive environment and a commitment to helping the student-athletes be their absolute best make Liberty a very special place."
"I have been blessed to have coached and worked with some extraordinary players and people in my time at South Dakota State. Now, I am equally blessed to have the opportunity to pour into the women soccer players at Liberty and help train Champions for Christ," continued Wedemeyer. "The spirit in the athletics department is incredible and I want thank Ian McCaw and Erin Hagen for this wonderful opportunity."
In addition to four postseason championships, Wedemeyer guided South Dakota State to Summit League regular season titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Additionally, his squad captured a United Soccer Conference championship in 2006 prior to South Dakota State joining the Summit League in 2007.
Wedemeyer helped start the South Dakota State program in 2000 and guided the program through its transition to Division I in 2004. He has been honored for his coaching success, earning Summit League Coach of the Year honors in 2013 and 2014.
Additionally, he was named North Central Conference Coach of the Year in 2001 and South Dakota Sportswriters Women's College Coach of the Year in 2008.
Wedemeyer has coached three Summit League Offensive Players of the Year and two Defensive Players of the Year. He also helped develop the skills of the 2012 Summit League Freshman of the Year.
Under his tutelage, 61 of Wedemeyer's players have earned all-conference honors, including 27 first-team selections, 18 second-team honorees and 16 newcomers/freshman team members.
Wedemeyer's teams have also had success in the classroom with his squads receiving the NSCAA Team Academic Award nine times (2006-07, 2009-14, 2016). Two of his former players have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, while 10 players have earned CoSIDA All-District accolades.
In addition to his 17 years of service at South Dakota State, Wedemeyer has worked with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as a national staff coach, conducting coaching certification and running clinics over the past 20 years.
Wedemeyer, a native of Roanoke, Va., began his collegiate playing career at Virginia Tech where he was voted the Hokies top defensive player in 1991 and 1992. He finished out his career at Old Dominion where he served as a team captain and was a 1994 CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team honoree.
Wedemeyer is married to his wife, Tabitha. They have four children in Brooks, Isabella, Caroline and Hunter.
Kristin Eggert joined the Liberty women's soccer program as the Lady Flames' goalkeeper coach in June 2015.
Eggert, who was selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's 30 under 30 program, brings a strong foundation of international and collegiate coaching experience to the program. Among her credentials, Eggert also holds a USSF B license and a NSCAA Premier Diploma.
In her first season working with the program's netminders, Eggert was instrumental in guiding decorated goalkeeper Holly Van Noord to 10 shutouts en route to Big South All-Conference second team and NSCAA All-Region third team honors. Van Noord's stellar play in the 2015 Big South Championship allowed Liberty to capture its record-tying fifth Big South Championship. Overall, the Lady Flames finished the year first in the conference in total saves (128) and second in shutouts (11) and goals-against average (0.93).
Eggert made 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.
Phone: (434) 582-2387
Jake Shellenberger was hired 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 84-30 dual-meet record, leading the Lady Flames to one CCSA title (2014) and six conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) to date.
He was instrumental in the design of the state-of-the-art Liberty Natatorium, which opened Dec. 1, 2017 and was dedicated on Jan. 26, 2018. The Liberty Natatorium seats 1,400 fans in a bowl configuration. It features a nine-lane, 50-meter pool with a movable bulkhead. A separate 17-foot diving well includes 1- and 3-meter springboards and a three-column tower. Among many other features, the natatorium is pre-wired for TV broadcasts.
In 2017-18, Liberty finished second at the CCSA Championships, with a program-record 1,501.5 points. For the conference meet as a whole, the Lady Flames registered a program-record-tying 20 podium finishes, 16 NCAA B cuts, nine program records, two conference records, four meet records and nine event victories. Payton Keiner was named Most Outstanding Female Freshman of the CCSA Meet, and joined Alicia Finnigan at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Finnigan received the sport’s highest academic honor, being named the NCA ELITE 90 Award recipient for having the highest GPA among any student athlete at the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Finnigan was later voted the CCSA Women's Swimming ot the Year.
The 2016-17 season saw the Lady Flames earn their third straight conference runner-up finish. Alicia Finnigan and Prudence Rooker both recorded three podium finishes at the CCSA Championships. Freshman Brittany Weiss became the third Lady Flame to be named the Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. Finnigan went on to break the CCSA record in the 200 fly before making her first career appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
In 2015-16, the Lady Flames earned their highest national rankings to date, listed 26th in the CollegeSwimming.com Team Rankings and No. 4 in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Rankings on Oct. 6. After defeating TCU, Liberty has defeated a team from each Power Five conference at least once.
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. Emilie Kaufman and Day qualified for finals in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Open, with Kaufman taking 13th place overall. Finnigan tied for 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2017 Phillips 66 Championships while finishing 10th in the 200 fly at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals.
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. with their son, Eli.
In 8 years of program history
• Two-time CCSA Coach of the Year (2012, 2014)
• 1 CCSA Conference title (2014)
• 6 CCSA Conference Runner-up finishes
• 84–30 Dual Meet Record
• 18 CCSA Individual Championships
• 12 CCSA Relay Champions
• 14 CCSA Conference Records (8 individual, 6 relay)
• 12 CCSA Conference Meet Records (6 individual, 6 relay)
• 5 NCAA Championship Appearances
• 2 NCAA All-Americans
• 1 NCAA Elite 90 Award Winner
• 3 CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-Americans
• 2 CCSA Women's Swimmers of the Year
• 1 CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Meet
• 4 CCSA Women's Freshmen of the Meet
• 24 CCSA Swimmer/Diver of the Week Honors
• 13 CSCAA Scholar All-America Team Awards
• 21 CSCAA Scholar All-America Individual Awards
• 1 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-American
• 1 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-District Honor
• 3 VaSID Academic All-State Mentions
• 2 US Olympic Trials appearance (2012, 2016)
• 4 USA Swimming National scoring performances (2012 Winter Nationals, 2013 US Open, 2017 Phillips 66 Nationals, 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals)
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 84-30 dual meet record. Additionally, Liberty has won one CCSA title in 2014 and posted six conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).
In 2017-18, Liberty finished second at the CCSA Championships, with a program-record 1,501.5 points. For the conference meet as a whole, the Lady Flames registered a program-record-tying 20 podium finishes, 16 NCAA B cuts, nine program records, two conference records, four meet records and nine event victories. Payton Keiner was named Most Outstanding Female Freshman of the CCSA Meet, and joined Alicia Finnigan at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Finnigan received the sport’s highest academic honor, being named the NCA ELITE 90 Award recipient for having the highest GPA among any student athlete at the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Finnigan was later voted CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Year.
The 2016-17 season saw the Lady Flames earn their third straight conference runner-up finish. Alicia Finnigan and Prudence Rooker both recorded three podium finishes at the CCSA Championships. Freshman Brittany Weiss became the third Lady Flame to be named the Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. Finnigan went on to break the CCSA record in the 200 fly before making her first career appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
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.
Former SEC champion diver and USA National Team member Tori Lamp Wood was named the first full-time diving coach in Liberty swimming & diving history, on April 12, 2017.
For the previous two years (2014-15 and 2015-16), Wood had been a diving coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wis. In addition, she has spent nearly three years as a gymnastics coach at Lafleur's Gymnastics Club. Wood served as a diving coach for Tennessee Diving Club in Knoxville from 2009 through 2014, concurrently with her All-American diving career at Tennessee.
While competing at Tennessee, she won platform diving at the SEC Championships three times (2012-14). Additionally, she earned seven All-America awards, with a pair of NCAA national runner-up finishes. Wood was named SEC Diver of the Year in 2012 and 2013, while earning CSCAA National Diver of the Year honors as a junior.
She also competed for Team USA from 2008 through 2010 and 2012 through 2015. Highlights from her international career include participating at the World Championships in both 2008 and 2013. She was a Junior National Champion in 2008 before winning the title of 2009 High School National Champion.
Wood's hiring, along with the opening of the Liberty Natatorium, allowed Liberty to field a highly-competitive contingent of divers for its swimming & diving program. This augments the program, which has posted six top-two CCSA finishes in seven years, including a conference championship in 2014.
Wood graduated with a bachelor's degree in recreation sport management with a concentration in therapeutic recreation from Tennessee in May of 2014.