Pepperdine names Schilling Head Basketball Coach

Pepperdine University has appointed coaching and player development veteran Ed Schilling to serve as the Head Coach of the Waves men’s basketball program. During his 13 years as an assistant at UMass, Memphis, UCLA, Indiana and Grand Canyon, his teams went a combined 304-134 and participated in eight NCAA Tournaments- including appearances in the Final Four and Sweet 16.

“Throughout his decorated tenure at GCU and in the years prior, Coach Schilling has demonstrated the highest levels of leadership in player development and preparedness for the rigors of collegiate and professional basketball,” said Pepperdine president Jim Gash in a message to the community. “His extensive coaching experience throughout his career has exemplified the visionary leadership, strategic thinking, adaptability, and emotional intelligence required to navigate the world of college athletics. I look forward to a new era of Pepperdine basketball under Coach Schilling’s leadership.”

During Coach Schilling’s first season at GCU, the men’s basketball program won its first conference title and qualified for its first NCAA Tournament. While at GCU, the team went on to claim the 2023 and 2024 Western Athletic Conference title and made three total appearances in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coaching at GCU, Coach Schilling served as an assistant coach at Indiana from 2017 to 2019 and at UCLA from 2013 to 2017. During his tenure at UCLA, the Bruins compiled a 96-45 overall record, made three Sweet Sixteen appearances (2014, 2015, and 2017), and sent nine players to the NBA. Coach Schilling was also the assistant coach under basketball coaching legend John Calipari on three different teams—UMass, Memphis, and the New Jersey Nets. His first collegiate coaching season with UMass posted a 35-2 record and made a Final Four appearance. 

“I am thrilled and appreciative to start this new chapter as the head coach for the men’s basketball team at Pepperdine University,” Schilling said. “The university’s prestigious academic reputation, beautiful campus and the passionate vision for basketball success from President Gash, Dr. Tim Perrin and Tanner Gardner make this opportunity a remarkable blessing.”

Prior to his impressive experience in collegiate and professional basketball, Schilling, a Lebanon, Indiana, native, coached high school basketball at Park Tudor School, Western Boone Junior-Senior High School, and Logansport High School in his home state. Schilling also coached the Adidas High School All-American Team in various national and international competitions and was a director and trainer at the Champions Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana. Schilling has an extensive background in player development and, from 2007 to 2013, trained more than 60 players per year at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance and its NBA readiness program, where he prepared high-profile young players for the NBA draft.

The Pepperdine men’s basketball program completed its 86th season in 2023-24 and the 51st year playing in the historic Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves have been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times and have won 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles, three WCC Tournament crowns and  the College Basketball Invitational title in 2021. Thirty-three former Pepperdine players have gone on to be selected on NBA Draft nights over the years, with the most recent Wave to enter the pros being Maxwell Lewis who was selected to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2023. 

“We are excited to welcome Coach Schilling to the Pepperdine Family,” incoming Director of Athletics Tanner Gardner said. “I look forward to partnering with him to chart a bright future for Pepperdine Men’s Basketball.”

Schilling succeeds Lorenzo Romar who served as the Head Coach of the Waves’ men’s basketball program from 2018 to 2024 and previously from 1996 to 1999. Under Romar’s leadership, the Waves won the 2021 College Basketball Invitational, the program’s first-ever postseason championship. Since 1944, the Waves have qualified for the NCAA Tournament 13 times, most recently in 2002. 

As a student-athlete, Coach Schilling was a four-year starting point guard and a two-time captain at Miami University in Ohio from 1985 to 1988. At Miami, Coach Schilling helped lead the team to two NCAA Tournament appearances and was a three-time academic all-conference selection. He also established single-game, season, and career assist records at Miami University, all of which are still standing.

Deeply passionate about inspiring players to perform at the highest level, Coach Schilling has also co-authored two books—Guard Play (1998), which covers the technical skills and leadership attributes necessary to be a successful point guard or shooting guard, and Five Star Basketball, a collection of inspirational words and playing techniques by some of the greatest collegiate basketball coaches. 

Coach Schilling is married to his wife, April, a former assistant coach for the Indiana Fever. He has four daughters—Christiana, Natalie, Ava, and Callie—and one son, Edmund Cross.

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