MARION, Ind. — Indiana Wesleyan University Athletics is pleased to announce that men’s basketball assistant coach Ethan Whaley has been hired to the lead the women’s basketball program.
“I could not be more excited about the job,” said Whaley. “Indiana Wesleyan University is a special place that rivals any institution in the country. It is a place where the Holy Spirit is evident. You first see it in the leadership and administration of our university and it trickles down through the faculty and staff, the students, and the alums who come back. My wife and I are humbled and blessed to remain a part of the IWU community we have loved so much over the last six years.”
Whaley has spent the past nine seasons with the Indiana Wesleyan men’s basketball program, including the last six as an assistant coach. While on staff, Whaley has helped the Wildcats to two NAIA Division II National Championships, a National Semifinals appearance, four Crossroads League championships, and a record of 173-40 (.812).
“Ethan stood out in many ways,” said Mark DeMichael, Director of Athletics at Indiana Wesleyan. “He has a special and unique level of energy and enthusiasm that is infectious. That was a major factor that stood out in recommending that he be our next women’s basketball head coach. Another big piece for us is the fact that Ethan understands what it means to be an IWU Wildcat. He has been in the IWU Athletic culture and mission for nine years and he has lived it and been a leader in it. Ethan has been on a coaching staff that has won two national championships and been to another Final Four yet daily make the spiritual mentorship and development of their student-athletes the priority over everything else. He has experienced what it takes to integrate faith into a program that competes at the highest levels of NAIA basketball.”
Whaley moves from one tradition-rich basketball program to another. The IWU women’s basketball program has won two NAIA Division II National Championships, has another National Semifinal appearance, and 14 trips to the National Championship since the 2002-03 season.
“I inherit an incredible program with a rich tradition and strong culture,” shared Whaley. “There is a lot of talent and potential on our team that makes it enticing. There is a group of girls in our locker room who are a close knit family and primarily concerned about making their teammates better. Their selflessness and excitement are evident which will undoubtedly create an environment of growth.”
The Wildcats have won 19 or more game in each of the last 16 seasons and have finished first or second in the Crossroads League regular season standings in 14 of the past 16 years.
“This is a big transition and Ethan has big shoes to fill in a program that has a foundation of excellence on the court, in the classroom, and in ministry in 17 years under Coach Brooks’ leadership,” DeMichael said. “To have someone who understands that can make the transition go smoothly. He is already a part of the IWU Athletic culture and is 100-percent committed to it and we know that because we have watched it as a member of the men’s basketball coaching staff.”
Along with success on the court Whaley will continue the strong work the women’s basketball program has already established in the classroom and in ministry opportunities. The women’s basketball team is consistently recognized for their work in the classroom with NAIA Scholar-Athlete recognition and has been a huge proponent in the Destiny Rescue campaign that went league wide in 2017.
“The vision for the program is simple and aligns perfectly with the mission of the university,” continued Whaley. “This will be a program that impacts lives beyond the players and coaches in this locker room. Our commitment to building fearless minds and selfless attitudes will impact families, fans, opponents, coaches, officials, and communities for years to come. More importantly than their success on the court, our players will graduate with a first-class degree and be prepared to establish a legacy in their communities, their families, and their churches.”
Whaley graduated from Indiana Wesleyan in 2011 with a degree in Physical and Health Education and in 2014 completed his Masters of Science in Management. He is married to his wife Heather and the couple resides in Marion.
Said Whaley, “I would like to thank Dr. Wright and Dr. Newman for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to lead a program that first and foremost exemplifies Christ’s humility through basketball while also representing Indiana Wesleyan in a first-class manner. I appreciate Mark DeMichael for his direction and example of what it looks like to be a servant-leader. I have learned a lot from him over the past six years and am excited to continue to grow under his leadership. I could not be more thankful for Greg Tonagel and his investment he made in my life throughout my time on his staff. The experience I gained and the growth I experienced in my relationship with Jesus Christ, leadership, and coaching basketball has been invaluable. I will be forever grateful for his mentorship and the friendship we formed. I also want to thank Jeff Clark for his friendship and mentorship. I have an immense amount of respect and appreciation for his ability to relate to people and push them toward growth. I am thankful for his friendship and servant-leadership in my time on staff with him. Finally, I want to thank the IWU Men’s Basketball players and parents for their commitment to our university and allowing me to be a part of their lives. I had the time of my life coaching those guys and am so grateful for the relationships we built. The opportunity to invest and go through life with them is what made my job so fulfilling.”
Indiana Wesleyan will hold an introductory press conference on Friday at 11 a.m. The press conference will be streamed and available for viewing.