EDINBORO, Pa. – Edinboro University didn’t have to look far to find a replacement for long-time women’s basketball coach Stan Swank. Interim Director of Athletics Dr. Katherine Robbins today announced the hiring of assistant coach Callie Wheeler as Edinboro’s fifth head coach of the women’s basketball program. Swank had previously announced his retirement last week.
“Callie is a great coach and a terrific person,” Robbins said. “The players really look up to her, so it will be a seamless transition for them. Callie exhibits the qualities characteristic of our coaches — not only is she invested in her players as a coach, she is concerned with how they are doing academically and personally.”
“It is an honor to be selected the next head women’s basketball coach at Edinboro University and I am humbled and excited for the opportunity,” Wheeler commented. “I would like to thank President Dr. Michael Hannan, Athletic Directors Katherine Robbins, Bruce Baumgartner, and Edinboro University for their confidence in me. I am extremely grateful that my family and I get this opportunity to be a special part of the Edinboro University Women’s Basketball Family.”
A former standout for the Fighting Scots from 2002 to 2006, Wheeler has served as Swank’s assistant coach since September 2007. Edinboro has enjoyed great success during Wheeler’s 11 seasons at Swank’s side. Widely regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in Division II women’s basketball, Edinboro has posted a 239-86 record in her 11 seasons on the bench.
That includes a string of eight straight 20-win seasons, including this past year when the Fighting Scots ended the year with a 27-4 record. Edinboro won its fourth PSAC Championship in her 11 years and went on to reach the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional semifinals. It marked the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in her tenure as assistant coach, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2013-14.
“None of this could have been possible if Coach Swank didn’t take a chance on me 11 years ago,” related Wheeler. “He gave me my first coaching opportunity and I am extremely grateful that he believed in me. I can’t thank him enough for helping me grow on and off the court as a coach. I am honored to be a part of his legacy.”
Any doubts of Wheeler’s ability to take over as head coach were alleviated when Wheeler filled in for a pair of games in late January. With Swank away from the team for his father’s funeral, Wheeler guided the Fighting Scots to a 74-52 win at Slippery Rock, followed by a 73-54 victory over a Mercyhurst team, which had defeated California (Pa.) in its previous game.
“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be the head coach for two games this past season,” Wheeler pointed out. “That experience gave me a great deal of confidence and reassured me that I was ready to take on more responsibilities.”
Swank feels confident that Wheeler will continue the tradition of winning basketball at Edinboro. “Callie Wheeler is the cornerstone of the Edinboro University Women’s Basketball Program. She was definitely one of my all-time favorite players. As a player, she not only set records and won many awards, but she was a leader and ran the team directing them to the NCAA Tournament.
“As an assistant coach, she has been simply the best.” he continued. “Her drive, dedication, work-ethic are second to none! She helps develop players on and off the court as she teaches players skill technique to enhance their game, while also working with them to develop their academics and guide them to life after college. She is a true professional in the highest form. Coach Wheeler is the perfect person to carry on the great success and rich tradition of Women’s Basketball at the Edinboro University. She will be a huge success!”
Wheeler played for the Fighting Scots from 2002-06, and ranks as one of the all-time greatest players in Edinboro history. She became Edinboro’s sixth Kodak/WBCA All-American as she earned honorable mention All-American honors. That capped a brilliant senior season in which she was named the PSAC West Athlete of the Year and was a first team All-PSAC West selection. In addition, she was selected as the Nancy Acker Award winner in 2006.
The 5’5″ guard finished as Edinboro’s second-leading scorer at 12.5 ppg. as a senior, and also added 5.1 rpg. More importantly, she set a school record with 249 assists while turning the ball over just 89 times. She led the PSAC in both assists and steals, finishing with 95 in the latter category.
Edinboro had had just one triple-double in its history prior to 2005-06, when Wheeler accomplished the fete twice. The first came against Seton Hill (20 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists), followed by 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in her final home appearance vs. Shippensburg.
As a junior, Wheeler earned second team All-PSAC West accolades after averaging 10.4 ppg. and handing out 225 assists, along with recording 91 steals. The assists ranks third all-time. She led the Fighting Scots to a 21-10 record that season, along with the team’s first berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs since 1998.
Wheeler likely ranks at the top in a long line of standout point guards at Edinboro. While not taking over as the starter until her junior season, she concluded her career with 682 assists, despite missing the final seven games of the 2003-04 campaign due to an injury. That figure is second all-time in the PSAC. In addition, Wheeler finished with 283 career steals, a figure which ranks fourth all-time at Edinboro. She fell just shy of reaching 1,000 points for her career, finishing with 932.
The Lorfido name (Wheeler’s maiden name) is well known in Edinboro Athletics, where her family has had quite an impact. Her father, Rich, was a standout linebacker for the Edinboro football team from 1970-72, and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in April 2007. Callie joined her father as a member of the Edinboro Hall of Fame in October 2016. Younger sister Mandie was a standout catcher on the softball team, and a two-time All-PSAC West performer.
A native of Ambridge, PA, Wheeler received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education in December 2006, along with a minor in Coaching. She graduated with a 3.46 GPA.
She was married to Dan Wheeler on July 10, 2010, and the couple resides in Edinboro with their six-year-old daughter, Amya Marie, and four-year-old son Kobe James.