March 14, 2016
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Bluffton University Head Coach Chad Shutler has been named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year following a record-shattering 2015-16 women's basketball campaign for the Beavers! He was honored by D3hoops.com less than two weeks after being selected the Heartland Conference Coach of the Year. It marks the first time in Bluffton women's basketball history for both of those prestigious honors.
Back-to-back seasons of setting school marks for wins in a season helped Coach Shutler to the post-season hardware. He became the all-time winningest coach in Bluffton women's basketball history in January and is currently at 130 career victories. An 18-0 start that smashed the previous high-water mark of six straight wins in a season helped the Beavers break the school record for wins in a season for the second consecutive year. Bluffton jumped over the previous mark of 16 with 18 wins last season and obliterated it with 25 as well as a first-ever NCAA Tournament game for a Bluffton women's team.
He guided the women to their first-ever regular-season championship in the HCAC and proceeded to follow that up with the first-ever HCAC Tournament title. The Beavers made their inaugural appearances in the national Top 25 for both the D3hoops.com and USA Today/Coaches polls. Bluffton finished the season at #17 in the USA Today poll, the highest ranking ever for a Bluffton basketball team. His 2015-16 seniors have set the bar high, rolling off 69 wins during their time at Bluffton, 18 more than the previous mark of 51 set just one season ago. Two of those six seniors, Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) and Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) became the first duo from one class to eclipse 1,000 career points when they did it on back-to-back nights. And it all started when Coach Shutler came to Bluffton in 2005-06 and inherited a program that had gone 8-93 over the previous four years!