Ken Tyler is beginning his fourth year as Director of Athletics at the University of Mary Washington. Tyler had an eventful first year in 2012-13, overhauling many aspects of the department, and leading the Eagles to the 2012-13 Capital Athletic Conference all-sports award. In his second year, the Eagles won five CAC Championships, with men's basketball advancing to and hosting the "sweet 16" and "elite eight" rounds of the NCAA Tournament at a sold-out Anderson Center. UMW also hosted its first-ever gala in 2014, with Redskin greats Darrell Green, DeAngelo hall, and Alfred Morris, on a celebratory evening that raised over $40,000 for UMW Athletics.
"I am impressed by Ken's experience, his enthusiasm and his ideas on how to advance our athletic program going forward", says UMW President Richard V. Hurley.
"He has impressive experience and a proven track record of success", says UMW Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy. "His passion for working with both coaches and teams and high level of energy to advance the University will move UMW Athletics forward with purpose and a clear vision for the future."
In just two years at the helm at UMW, Tyler has overseen many changes in the department of athletics, from renovations of the Anderson Center lobby and all athletic offices, created and upgraded the varsity weight room, and created the Student-Athlete Lounge. In addition, he purchased new seating on the lacrosse/field hockey field and acquired Stone House for sole athletic use.
In addition, the department has begun the Eagle Club, with more than 450 members, which raised tens of thousands of dollars through the beginning of an annual gala. This year's premiere event saw Redskins greats Darrell Green, Alfred Morris, and DeAngelo Hall help raise more than $50,000. Green, who was brought on in an administraive role by Tyler, has raised the profile of the department on a national scale.
Other additions Tyler has spearheaded include the addition of a full time strength and conditioning coach, an equipment manager, and splitting the volleyball and softball coaching positions. Tyler has also begun an assistant coach program, which is already at 12 assistants, to aid UMW's coaches and staff. The addition of full-time assistant coaches will begin in 2015-16.
In all, UMW has claimed 12 CAC Championships, seen nine teams advance to NCAA Championship competition, and hosted four NCAA Tournament events on campus in the past two years.
Tyler had been at West Virginia Wesleyan College since July of 2008, overseeing the largest athletic department in the state of West Virginia, with over 500 student-athletes and 19 varsity sports. While in Buckhannon, Tyler's programs swept the President's and Commissioner's Cups for overall athletic excellence in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference each year of his tenure.
"I am grateful and honored to be the Director of Athletics at the University of Mary Washington," said Tyler. "I want to thank President Hurley, Vice-President Searcy, and all the members of the search committee for this wonderful opportunity. Mary Washington's outstanding academic reputation, combined with its strong and broad-based athletic program, makes this one of the best small-college positions in the country." He added, "Ed Hegmann and the terrific coaching staff have laid a very solid foundation, and I look forward to working with everyone to take the program to the next level. My family and I are excited to join the Eagle family, and I can't wait to get started!"
At WVWC, he added the sport of women's lacrosse and created the position of Director of Compliance and Academic Services, and made facility improvements for department offices, stadium, arena, locker rooms, and baseball, softball, and soccer fields. In addition, he created a student-athlete lounge and academic support area. Other improvements made under Tyler's tenure included the acquisition of a 25-passenger bus with a professional driver to replace coach-driven 15-passenger vans, and the institution of mandatory institutional drug-testing for randomly selected student-athletes.
Tyler's strategic plan included adding full-time assistant coach positions for team sports, and launching a new athletics web site. The success of the programs were immediate, as the football team improved from 1-10 during Tyler's first year to 9-2 in 2010 and 2011, including undefeated records at home both seasons. The men's basketball team went from eight wins in 2010 to 19 wins and the NCAA Tournament in 2011, the second-biggest turnaround in Division II. This winter, the Bobcat women's basketball team finished 23-7, won the program's first-ever WVIAC tournament championship and received the program's first-ever NCAA tournament berth. The 2011-12 men's basketball team finished 22-9, and won Wesleyan's first-ever NCAA tournament game.
With Tyler at the helm, Wesleyan won 22 WVIAC championships. In 2010-11, the Bobcats finished #76 nationally in the Division II Learfield Director's Cup standings, the best finish in school history and tops in the WVIAC. That same year, Wesleyan finished fifth in the nation in student-athletes recognized on the Academic Honor Roll of the Division II Athletic Directors Association. The Bobcats have also been extremely active in community engagement activities.
Tyler served on the Division II Athletic Directors Association (ADA) Board of Directors as the WVIAC representative. He was also the Atlantic Region Chair on the Division II National Men's Basketball Committee. He has served as vice-chair of WVIAC athletic directors and served as chair of the WVIAC Basketball Tournament Committee. He arrived at Wesleyan after a seven-year stay at Shepherd University, where he served as Head Men's Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director.
Prior to his time at Shepherd, Tyler spent six years at Albright (PA) College, serving as the Head Men's Basketball coach and Assistant Director of Athletics. He also had one-year stints as assistant men's basketball coach at East Stroudsburg University (PA), Roanoke (VA) College and James Madison University under legendary coach "Lefty" Driesell.
An aggressive and successful fund raiser, Tyler spearheaded significant facility upgrade campaigns at Shepherd and Albright. At Wesleyan, he launched the Corporate Partner Program, the Letterman's Club, and the Hank Ellis Golf Classic, which raised over $75,000 annually for Wesleyan athletics. Tyler was an active board member in the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, serving as campaign chairman from 2006-08 and raising over $3 million.
Tyler’s career coaching record of 193-157 includes 87-64 at Albright, highlighted by the 1998 conference championship, and 106-93 at Shepherd, a 34-win improvement over the seven year period before he arrived.
Tyler has a growing number of former assistants and players who have gone on to successful careers in coaching, including Justin Namolik, head coach at Shepherd University (WV), Marcus Kahn, head coach at UMW, Chad Myers, head coach at Elev/8 Sports Academy (Fla.); Gene McAteer, head coach at Bridgewater-Raritan HS (NJ), Danley Shank, head coach at Shalom Christian Academy (PA), Duncan Williams, assistant coach at Alderson-Broaddus College (WV), and Fred Lymas, assistant coach at Washington Adventist University (MD). In addition, Tyler hired Jeff Price as the head basketball coach at West Virginia Wesleyan, who is now the head coach at Lynn University; Jim Boone, now the head coach at Delta State, and Patrick Beilein, currently an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz.
Tyler earned a bachelor of arts in history and a master's degree in education from The College of William and Mary. He was a guard on the basketball team at Division I William and Mary, where he played against all-time greats Len Bias and David Robinson.
Tyler is an avid reader and a Civil War enthusiast. An active leader in the community, Tyler is a member of the Rappahannock Rotary Club, and frequently speaks on campus and in the community. He is a member of NACDA, and a member of the NCAA Division III regional men's basketball ranking committee. In winter 2015, he took the reigns as the chair of the Capital Athletic Conference Board of Directors. He and his wife Dawn have two children, son Jordan (17) and daughter Logan (13).