Huntington, Ind.—Lori Culler, head coach of the Huntington University women’s basketball team, notched her 400th win at Saturday’s game against Marian College in Indianapolis. The Foresters nabbed a 57-52 victory against Knights to secure second place in the Mid-Central College Conference standings. Culler’s career record currently stands at 400-268 heading into this week’s postseason tournament.
“It was great to win the game, but the milestone was not on the agenda for the day,” Culler said. “We were focused on winning to keep our hopes alive for a share of the regular season conference title and to be able to head into postseason play on a two-game winning streak. If you coach long enough, you’ll eventually have things like this come your way, but it is really a tribute to the many talented student-athletes that have played for me over the years. They’re the ones that have been committed to excellence both on and off the court and deserve the lion’s share of the credit.”
This is Culler’s 23rd year at the Forester helm. On the court, her teams have been distinctly successful on a number of levels, having won an average of 17 games during her 22 years and having posted 15 winning seasons. Seven squads brought home a Mid-Central College Conference title, including five teams that went undefeated through conference play, and two teams were crowned NCCAA National Champions in 1991 and 1992. Culler also guided her 1993-1994 team to the program’s first appearance in the NAIA National Tournament. Twenty-two times her players have earned NAIA and/or NCCAA All-America honors, and on 42 occasions, players have received MCC All-Conference honors, including Amy Bechtel, who was MCC Player of the Year in 1998-1999.
The success of Culler’s teams has led to her own recognition. Throughout her coaching career, Culler has been acknowledged as Coach of the Year at the NCCAA and NAIA District level. She was named the Mid-Central Conference Coach of the Year seven times and NCCAA National Coach of the Year twice. In November of 2006, Culler was inducted into Huntington University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and in October 2007, she received the university’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award.
Because of Culler’s commitment to the concept of the student-athlete, it is not surprising that her teams have had notable success in the classroom as well. Twelve years ago, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association began publishing a Top-25 Team Honor Roll. The Foresters have appeared on the list nine times with their highest ranking a fourth place finish in both 1997 and 1998. Seventeen individual players also have been recognized as NAIA or NCCAA All-America Scholar-Athletes and a remarkable 96 percent of her scholarship players have earned their degrees.
Culler also has given back to the sport with her involvement in various activities at the conference, regional and national levels. During her 22 years, Culler has served as chair of the MCC and NAIA Region VIII women’s basketball committees; she was the conference rater for 12 years and served terms on the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament Committee and the Francis Naismith-Pomeroy Selection Committee. Culler also is an active member of the WBCA. In addition, Culler recently hosted Huntington University’s first Pink Out and raised $2,007 for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
During her playing career as a Forester, 1982-1985, Culler scored 1,307 points and was the third women’s player to join Huntington’s 1,000 Point Club. She was a member of the 1984 NCCAA national championship basketball team and received NAIA Academic All-American and Honorable Mention All-American honors. Culler is a 1986 graduate of Huntington College and earned her Master of Science degree in athletic administration from Ball State University. She currently serves as sports information director and coordinator of athletic eligibility.
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