C.J. Woollum Named CNU Director of Athletics Emeritus
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Christopher Newport
University Director of Athletics C.J.
Woollum today announced that he will retire as the
Director of Athletics immediately and will transition into the role
of Director of Athletics Emeritus, with a focus on alumni and
Jon Waters, a CNU athletics administrator for the past 13 years will serve as the Interim Director of Athletics through June 30, 2013. A national search for a Director of Athletics will be conducted with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2013.
“It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Christopher Newport for a quarter of a century,” Woollum said. “It has been a dream ride and I will always cherish my years at CNU.”
Woollum has led Christopher Newport Athletics since 1987, and has overseen the transformation of the entire department. CNU has grown from a small Division III athletic program that offered just 14 sports to its current status as a 23-sport national power and NCAA championship contender.
“I am grateful for C.J.'s remarkable contributions to the success of CNU,” President Paul S. Trible said. “He has served as an outstanding leader of the athletic program for 25 years and has built one of the top Division III programs in the nation. Amassing more than 500 wins as the men's basketball coach while also serving as the Director of Athletics, he touched the lives of thousands of student-athletes. He embodies the very best of Division III sports.”
Woollum was a central figure in the addition of the immensely-successful football program in 2001, and has also been a driving force behind the construction and opening of some of the finest athletic facilities in the country.
The Freeman Center, a multi-purpose indoor facility that houses basketball, volleyball, and a 200-meter track, opened on the CNU campus in 2000. It was followed shortly after by the opening of POMOCO Stadium, CNU's football and outdoor track home, in 2001. During Woollum's tenure, the university has built or renovated facilities for every sport.
In addition to the start-up of the football program, Woollum has also been instrumental in the formation of CNU's women's soccer, field hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse programs. The Captains have been a member of the USA South Athletic Conference throughout his tenure, though his lasting legacy will be his integral role in Christopher Newport becoming a member of the Capital Athletic Conference in 2013-14.
CNU's athletic department has made tremendous strides on a national level under Woollum's leadership. The Captains have continually improved their ranking in the Director's Cup standings, a national indicator of overall athlete success. Christopher Newport has also won the USA South President's Cup, emblematic of conference supremacy, each year for 15 consecutive years. In addition, the school has won the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Achievement Award, for having the best program-wide won-loss record in Virginia among all Division II and III schools, nine times in the last 14 years.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to serve CNU,” Woollum continued, “and I look forward to working with our many friends and donors to ensure our student-athletes have the resources they need to compete for championships.”
While attending to the rigors of the Director of Athletics position, Woollum also served as the head men's basketball coach at CNU for 26 seasons, retiring at the end of the 2009-2010 season. He accumulated 502 wins, 17 NCAA tournament appearances, and 13 conference championships as head coach. He stepped down from coaching on a high note, as the Captains recorded his 500th coaching victory in the first round of the USA South Athletic Conference tournament in February of 2010. The Captains then went on to claim Woollum's 13th conference title and 17th NCAA bid.
Woollum actually began his CNU career in 1972 as an assistant basketball coach under Bev Vaughan, the father of CNU basketball. After two seasons, he left to become an assistant basketball coach at Marshall University in West Virginia, where he spent the next nine years.
In 1984, Woollum returned to Christopher Newport to take over the men's basketball program, and success quickly followed. In just his second season on the bench, Woollum guided the Captains to their first conference title and first NCAA appearance during the 1985-86 season. His teams began a run of NCAA tournaments in 13 of the next 14 campaigns. Among the highlights were four spots in the Sweet 16 and one in the Elite 8. His teams finished either first or second in the conference standings for 15 straight years and played in the conference championship game 15 times in 16 years.
Woollum is tied for 27th among Division III coaches in total victories all-time with 502. He is also 32nd in winning percentage all-time at .694. Over the years, Woollum coached nine different players who won All-America honors a total of 13 times, as well as 11 who went on to play professionally all over the world. Among them was three-time All-American Lamont Strothers, who became just the seventh Division III player ever to be selected in the NBA draft. He was chosen in the second round, and played two seasons with the Portland Trailblazers and Dallas Mavericks.
During many of the basketball teams' most successful seasons Woollum also served as head golf coach. He held that position for 13 years and had either the entire team, or an individual golfer, make the NCAA tournament field 12 times. He even coached an individual national champion when Scott Scovil won the 1994 Division III title.
Woollum is a native of Alexandria, Va., and a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan. He is also a member of the Christopher Newport University athletics Hall of Fame and last month was inducted in the USA South Hall of Fame.
Effective immediately, Waters will take over the day-to-day Director of Athletics duties.
“There is no way to quantify the impact C.J. has had on the lives of our student-athletes over the past 28 years,” Waters said. “If any of us has a fraction of the impact on CNU and the lives of our students as he has, we will have accomplished something great.”
Release courtesy of the Christopher Newport sports information department.