BY CHRIS MARKHAM
As they say, “when one door closes, another one opens.”
Rod Wood, head coach of the University of Mary Washington’s men’s basketball team will not coach the team next year. Instead, Wood will take a new job as Expanded Position of Director of Athletics, effective at the end of this school year. The shift of authority is following the basketball team’s most successful season in school history.
In his new role with the university, Wood will continue to teach while also overseeing the marketing and operation of the university’s athletic facilities. As Wood makes the transition from the sideline to the administration department, he leaves the men’s basketball program in as good a position as it has ever been.
“Coach Wood literally built the men’s basketball program and leaves it in great shape as a contender on the conference, regional and national level,” said UMW Athletic Director Ken Tyler. “We’re very glad that he will assist in the transition to new leadership in the program.”
Wood’s impact on the men’s basketball program over the years is unparalleled to any other in school history. His career record of 274-200 over his 18 year career is the best in program history. The 2013-14 squad shattered a number of school records while advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Wood led the Eagles to its only two CAC championships ever and its only two NCAA tournament berths (2003 and 2014).
“I am excited about this new phase of my career,” said Wood. “It’s a natural course of progression for coaches who have been coaching for many years.”
It appears fitting that Wood leaves his role now due to the fact that the roster of the team will be changing dramatically as well. Four of the five starters on the current roster will graduate in the spring, as well as the Eagles’ first man off of the bench.
Junior Taylor Johnson will take a majority of the scoring load while freshman Asa Scott will most likely move up off the bench to the starting lineup. As the roster is destined for restructure, it makes sense that the coaching staff is as well.
Wood also made headlines this past week when he was announced as a finalist for the Glenn Robinson DIII Coach of the Year, awarded annually to the top Division III men’s basketball coach each year.
Wood was named one of the 12 finalists for the award and will travel to Dallas, Texas on April 4 for the presentation of the award at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet. Another finalist for the award is a fellow CAC coach Jerry Kobasa of Wesley College.
“I’ll definitely miss coaching basketball, but I believe I’ve left the program in a good state and look forward to the new coach taking what we’ve been able to do and take it to even bigger and better things,” said Wood.
By far one of the classiest and most well-deserving individuals in DIII athletics, Wood will start a new chapter in his career while leaving his coaching career on top. The chant “We got Wood” may not be relevant anymore, but its echoes will be heard for years to come.