March 23, 2010

Schuller Given Four-Year Contract Extension

In her ninth season at the helm, Eastern women’s head coach leads Eagles to their first-ever Big Sky Conference regular season title

Eastern Washington University’s Wendy Schuller has been given a four-year extension to her contract to remain as head coach of the women’s basketball program at EWU, athletic director Bill Chaves has announced.

Schuller is in her ninth season as head coach, and led the Eagles to a 19-12 record overall and a 12-4 finish in the Big Sky Conference. Under her direction, EWU won its first-ever regular season Big Sky Conference title this season, and hosted the league tournament for the first time in school history.

She was selected as the Big Sky Coach of the Year as the Eagles advanced to the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The appearance in the WNIT was the first national postseason appearance for the Eagles since the 1987 season.

“We look forward to Coach Schuller continuing to lead our women's basketball program,” said Chaves. "Wendy has been able to balance our student-athlete's academic success with success on the court, and we are excited for this to continue for the next four years.”

“I am honored to be the women’s basketball coach at Eastern Washington University, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to remain as such for the future,” Schuller said. “Our future is exciting -- we have an excellent nucleus of players returning and some incoming prospects who will help us continue to move forward.  We have had outstanding success in the classroom over the past several years and I am proud of the recent strides we have made on the court. I want to thank our fans and administration for their support and patience as we have worked to build the program to a Big Sky champion.”

Schuller has now collected 113 wins in nine seasons at the helm -- the second-most victories in school history -- with a 56-78 conference record. In her first five seasons, the Eagles qualified for the Big Sky Tournament and have now made Big Sky Championship appearances in six of her nine years at the helm of the program.

Over the past eight campaigns, the team has been ranked amongst the top 10 squads on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll, something only achieved by one other team (Indiana State). The Eagle squad of 2003-04 placed first nationally with a 3.63 grade point average.

A native of Redlands, Calif., Schuller and her husband, Mark, have an 9-year-old son, Rory (born Oct. 16, 2000), and a 6-year-old daughter, Megan (born July 15, 2003). The family resides in Cheney, Wash.

“Cheney is a city that our family loves, and Mark and I are happy that we will get to continue to raise our kids in such an outstanding community,” she added. “I am blessed with a wonderful, hard working staff and a group of committed players who have continued to believe in the foundations of our program.”

Picked to finish seventh in the league by both the coaches and media, EWU's run to the conference regular season title was sparked by winning its first seven conference games. Eastern placed two players on the 2009-10 All-Conference Team in juniors Julie Piper and Kyla Evans. Piper was named to the first team, while Evans was named to the second team. Sophomore Brianne Ryan received the honor of being named the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Montana State’s Sarah Strand.

Piper earned regular-season MVP honors and was a unanimous first team selection. She became the program’s first-ever league MVP, and had earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors as a sophomore. The Eagles haven’t had a first team All-BSC selection since Julie Page was honored in 2006.

Prior to arriving at Eastern, Schuller began her coaching career at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. In 1993, she started coaching as a graduate assistant for the Lady Demons while earning a master's degree in sports administration. Following graduation, she became a full-time assistant, and in 1997, she was promoted to associate head coach.

Schuller earned her bachelor's degree in business in 1992 from Fresno Pacific University after playing for the Sunbirds as a shooting guard.

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