Ken Tyler has been named director of athletics at the University of Mary Washington. Tyler comes to UMW after serving as director of athletics at West Virginia Wesleyan College, an NCAA Division II school in Buckhannon, W.Va. Tyler succeeds Edward Hegmann, who is retiring from the university next month after 36 years. Tyler begins work at UMW in June.
“I am delighted that Ken Tyler has accepted our offer to become our next director of athletics,” said UMW President Richard V. Hurley. “I am impressed by his experience, his enthusiasm and his ideas on how to advance our athletic program.”
Tyler has been at West Virginia Wesleyan since July 2008, overseeing the largest athletic department in the state of West Virginia, with more than 500 student athletes and 19 varsity sports. While in Buckhannon, Tyler’s programs swept the President’s and Commissioner’s Cups for overall athletic excellence in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference each year of his tenure.
“I am grateful and honored to be named director of athletics at the University of Mary Washington,” Tyler said. “I want to thank President Hurley, Vice-President Searcy and all the members of the search committee for this wonderful opportunity. Mary Washington’s outstanding academic reputation, combined with its strong and broad-based athletic program, makes this one of the best small-college positions in the country.” He added, “Ed Hegmann and the terrific coaching staff have laid a very solid foundation, and I look forward to working with everyone to take the program to the next level. My family and I are excited to join the Eagle family, and I can’t wait to get started!”
At WVWC, Tyler added the sport of women’s lacrosse and created the position of director of compliance and academic services. He also made facility improvements in department offices; the stadium; arena; locker rooms; and baseball, softball and soccer fields. In addition, he created a student-athlete lounge and academic support area. Under Tyler’s tenure, the athletics office acquired a 25-passenger bus with a professional driver to replace coach-driven 15-passenger vans and instituted mandatory university drug-testing for randomly selected student athletes.
Tyler’s strategic plan included adding full-time assistant coach positions for team sports and launching a new athletics website. The success of the programs was immediate, as the football team improved from 1-10 during Tyler’s first year to 9-2 in 2010 and 2011, including undefeated records at home both seasons. The men’s basketball team went from eight wins in 2010 to 19 wins and the NCAA Tournament in 2011, the second-biggest turnaround in Division II. This winter, the Bobcat women’s basketball team finished 23-7, won the program’s first-ever WVIAC tournament championship and received the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament berth. The 2011-12 men’s basketball team finished 22-9, and won Wesleyan’s first-ever NCAA tournament game.
With Tyler at the helm, Wesleyan won 22 WVIAC championships. In 2010-11, the Bobcats finished No. 76 nationally in the Division II Learfield Director’s Cup standings, the best finish in school history and tops in the WVIAC. That same year, Wesleyan finished fifth in the nation in student athletes recognized on the Academic Honor Roll of the Division II Athletic Directors Association. The Bobcats also have been extremely active in community engagement activities.
Tyler was on the Division II Athletic Directors Association board of directors,. He also served as the Atlantic Region chair on the Division II National Men’s Basketball committee, vice-chair of WVIAC athletic directors and chair of the WVIAC Basketball Tournament committee. He arrived at Wesleyan after a seven-year stay at Shepherd University, where he served as head men’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director.
Prior to his time at Shepherd, Tyler spent six years at Albright (Pa.) College, serving as the head men’s basketball coach and assistant director of athletics. He also had one-year stints as assistant men’s basketball coach at East Stroudsburg University (Pa.), Roanoke (Va.) College and James Madison University under legendary coach “Lefty” Driesell.
An aggressive and successful fundraiser, Tyler spearheaded significant facility upgrade campaigns at Shepherd and Albright. At Wesleyan, he launched the Corporate Partner Program, the Letterman’s Club, and the Hank Ellis Golf Classic, which raised more than$75,000 annually for Wesleyan athletics. Tyler was an active board member in the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, serving as campaign chairman from 2006-08 and raising more than $3 million.
Tyler earned a bachelor of arts in history and a master’s degree in education from The College of William and Mary. He was a guard on the basketball team at Division I William and Mary, where he played against all-time greats Len Bias and David Robinson.
Tyler is an avid reader and a Civil War enthusiast. He and his wife, Dawn, have two children –son Jordan, 14, and daughter Logan, 10.