Walla Walla University Athletics announced on Friday morning the hiring of Eric Cantrell as the new head men’s basketball coach for the Wolves.
Cantrell joins the Wolves coaching staff following nine years of success coaching at the high school level at Pine Forge Academy (PFA) in Pine Forge, PA. While at PFA, Cantrell amassed a 153-45 record coaching boys’ basketball including winning the Penn-Jersey Athletic Association (PJAA) Championships in 2015 in addition to being named PJAA Coach of the Year that same year.
Additionally, Cantrell guided his team to two more championship appearances being named runner-up twice (2014 & 2016). Furthermore, Cantrell was named head coach for the PJAA All-Star Game in 2015 and 2016.
“Eric’s energy, experience, and passion for the game and the student-athletes he coaches makes him an excellent choice for the position,” said VP of Student Life Doug Tilstra. “I am eager to see the impact of his leadership on our Men’s Basketball Team.”
“I am honored to be taking over WWU men’s basketball,” said Cantrell. “After a difficult start to this year the future is looking bright as we look to rebuild our men’s basketball program. I’m thankful to our President Dr. McVay and our VP of Student Life Dr. Tilstra, for entrusting this task to me and allowing me the opportunity to restore the program.”
Prior to entering the coaching ranks, Cantrell began his playing career at Peterson Warren Academy in Inkster, Mich., a suburb of Detroit and would later continue at Pine Forge Academy. He would later go on to play at the next level, competing at then NCAA Div-II Columbia Union College now known as Washington Adventist University (NAIA).
A PFA alumnus, Cantrell returned to his alma mater in 2009. In addition to coaching basketball, Cantrell served as Director of Athletics, head coach for boys and girls tennis, and saw some of his student-athletes go on to play at the collegiate level (NCAA D-1, NAIA, & NJCAA) during his tenure at PFA.
Cantrell also served as Director for Camps & Combines for iBall United, a player marketing firm, while leading the athletic department at PFA. Cantrell, currently serving as Director of Athletics at Walla Walla, lives in College Place with his wife and two cats with their first child to be born in March.