HoopDirt.com first mentioned this one yesterday (NAIA DIRT). The hiring of Richard Westerlund at NAIA University of Northern Ohio is now official – here’s the release:
The University of Northwestern Ohio is proud to announce the hiring of Richard Westerlund as the new Head Men’s Basketball coach for the Racers. Westerlund takes over the program from former coach Caleb Williams who stepped down following the 2022-23 season.
“The Athletic Department is thrilled to announce the hiring of Richard Westerlund as our new Head Men’s Basketball Coach here at UNOH,” said Director of Athletics Jen Dervarics. “Out of 100+ applicants in our candidate pool, Richard made an immediate impression on our hiring committee with his enthusiasm and vision for Racer basketball. He has proven to be a great recruiter and has had a phenomenal impact on the programs he’s been a part of, both on and off the court. We believe he will bring energy and excitement to both UNOH and the surrounding community, and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of Racer Men’s Basketball.”
Westerlund comes to UNOH from Great Lakes Christian College where he was the Director of Athletics and Head Men’s Basketball Coach since 2018. Westerlund took over a winless program and led them to their first NCCAA national ranking in program history. His Crusaders reached the program’s first No. 1 ranking in 2019-20 and held the top spot for the entire 2021-22 season. He is coming off the first Regional Championship in the history of the program after making his fourth national tournament appearance. His coaching resume also includes National Runners Up in 2018-19 and a Final Four appearance in 2021-22.
Westerlund began his coaching career at Harford Christian High School in Maryland where he won the program’s first state championship in 2013. He took over at Crossroads College in Minnesota in 2013 earning an ACCA national championship in his first season and led the Knights to the program’s highest national ranking at No. 6 in the 2015-16 season. Westerlund also made a brief stop at Wright State – Lake in Celina from 2016 to 2018 leading the Lakers to their first NIT appearance in program history.
“I would like to thank Dr. Jarvis, Jen Dervarics and the entire search committee,” said Westerlund. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to be the next Men’s Basketball Coach at UNOH. This is an absolute dream come true for me. I would not be in this position without my family, friends and mentors and I am so deeply appreciative of their love, support and sacrifice.
Coach Westerlund, who resides in Lansing, Michigan, will take over duties and begin the transition to Northwestern Ohio next week.