|College:||Fresno Pacific '92|
Follow Coach Schuller on Twitter - @EWUCoachShu
Under head coach Wendy Schuller, the Eastern Washington
University women’s basketball team has reached heights unseen
in Cheney in decades, both on and off the basketball court.
In 10 of the last 11 years, Schuller’s teams have earned a spot on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Honor Roll -- something achieved by only one other team in Division I history (Indiana State). Eastern has been among the top five academic teams in the nation in seven of those 11 years, including the 2003-04 campaign when it led the nation with a 3.63 grade point average.
Eastern has advanced to the Big Sky Conference tournament in eight of Schuller’s 11 years as head coach, including the last three in a row. She has had 13 different players named to one or more All-Big Sky Conference teams, including two league MVPs in Julie Piper (2010) and Brianne Ryan (2012), as well as the school’s first Big Sky Newcomer of the Year, Julie Page, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics as a captain for the Great Britain national team.
In the most recent 2011-12 season, Schuller led the team to a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference -- the second-best effort for an Eastern squad since 1988-89, when the Big Sky started sponsoring women’s sports. Eastern posted a 10-6 league record, which included a school-record six road wins. Two of those were against Montana and Montana State, which marked the first-ever sweep of the Montana road trip in the history of the Eastern women’s basketball program.
But the most successful season in Schuller’s tenure -- and the best the school has seen in more than two decades -- came two years prior in 2009-10. Under her direction, Eastern Washington won its first-ever Big Sky regular-season title and hosted the league tournament for the first time in school history. Schuller was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year after leading the squad to a 12-4 mark in the conference and 19-12 overall, which were the best records posted by an Eagle squad since the 1984-85 season when Eastern was still a member of the Mountain West Conference.
The Eagles advanced to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, marking the school’s first national postseason appearance since the 1987 season. Schuller has now collected 142 wins in her nine seasons at the helm -- the second-most victories in school history.
Although the 2009-10 season will go down in the books as one of the most exciting years in Eastern history, Schuller started making her impressions on the EWU women’s basketball program long before that renowned season. She led the Eagles to a Big Sky tournament berth in her first six seasons, and had back-to-back .500 win seasons in conference in 2004-05 and 2005-06. To put that achievement into perspective, Eastern Washington played in just five BSC Tournaments in its first 13 years in the Big Sky before Schuller took over the reins of the program.
In 2005-06, Eastern Washington qualified for the Big Sky Conference Championship for the seventh consecutive season and was the fourth seed at the event for the second-straight season -- its highest seeding since the 1994-95 campaign.
She led Eastern to a winning campaign in 2004-05 (16-12) to start the team’s second set of consecutive winning seasons for the Eagles since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 campaigns.
In 2003-04, Eastern advanced to the Big Sky Tournament semifinals for the third-straight season. Prior to that, Eastern had not made it past the first round since 1994-95.
The 2002-03 season saw Eastern earn its first winning record in 16 years at 17-12. That year, EWU barely missed making the Big Sky championship game for the first time in school history, as it fell in the semifinal round to top seed host Weber State by just nine points, 64-55.
In Schuller’s first season in 2001-02, Eastern Washington claimed a tournament quarterfinal win as the fifth seed. The Eagles topped No. 4 Northern Arizona 70-57 to mark its furthest advancement in the tournament in seven years.
Schuller’s successes at Eastern have been making waves throughout the entire Northwest. She has been a featured speaker at various basketball coaching clinics in the area.
But her contributions in the community extend beyond basketball. Every year, Schuller and her team volunteer with Special Olympics Washington, Habitat for Humanity and the Hutton Settlement -- a state residence that provides housing for orphaned children ages 5-18. Schuller was also recently named to the Spokane Guilds’ School and Neuromuscular Center Board of Directors.
Prior to arriving at Eastern, Schuller began her coaching career at Northwestern State University. In 1993, she started coaching as a graduate assistant for the Lady Demons while earning a master’s degree in sports administration.
Following graduation, Schuller became a full-time assistant, and her duties included acting as defensive coordinator and primary recruiter, working on opponent preparation and general operations. In 1997, she was promoted to associate head coach.
Her last six years at the Natchitoches, La., school saw her also serve as the senior woman administrator. In total, Schuller coached for nine seasons at NSU under head coach James Smith -- the most successful coach in Southland Conference history. In that time span, the team won 185 games and two conference titles and earned a pair of wins over top-25 teams, as one of the top-30 winningest NCAA Division I programs of the 1990s.
Schuller earned her bachelor’s degree in business in 1992 from Fresno Pacific University after playing for the Sunbirds as a shooting guard.
Her senior season, she helped lead FPU to a 25-6 record, a No. 14 ranking in the NAIA national poll and advancement to the NAIA Tournament’s Round of 16. She was also selected as an NAIA Academic All-American that season.
A native of Redlands, Calif., Schuller and her husband, Mark, have two sons, 12-year-old Rory and 2-year-old Brandon, and one daughter, 9-year-old Megan. The family resides in Cheney.