Harvell has guided the Captains to nine winning seasons in 10 years and two College World Series appearances — CNU was national runner-up in 2003; Parr's program is on the brink of its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
Sweet 16; under Shaw, the soccer team has reached the NCAA's Elite Eight the past two years, capping a run of 14 consecutive winning seasons.
But Woollum never has been shy about cutting against the grain.
Cathy Parson had no local connections and was a Providence College assistant when Woollum named her head women's basketball coach in 1988. In her 10 seasons the Captains were 94-18 in conference play, and she parlayed that success into a WNBA assistant job.
Lindsay Birch was a freshly minted CNU graduate when she became the Captains' volleyball coach. A 22-year-old college head coach? Had Woollum hired merely for convenience?
CNU has earned six NCAA tournament bids in Birch's eight seasons and advanced to the national quarterfinals last season.
"I'm looking for fit a great deal," Woollum said. "They have to fit with our group (of coaches)."
After more than two decades in the corner office, you'd think Woollum would be a one-man head-hunting firm for head coaches. Nothing, he said, could be further from the truth.
These days he appoints, but does not serve on, a search committee. He awaits the group's handful of preferences before embarking upon meticulous research that precedes campus interviews.
"He's so thorough and detailed," said Hunter, who serves on most search committees. "He moves beyond the résumé. He knows so many people, so he's going to find someone who knows you and can give him the scoop."
Candidates meet with a wide range of the campus community. Woollum then forwards his recommendation to university president Paul Trible.
"Everybody has to have a good feel about (a prospect)," Woollum said. "You can get turned off in an interview and you can be deceived in an interview. In the end, you take a leap of faith because you don't know them well."
It was her interviews with Woollum and Trible that convinced Hunter CNU was right for her.
"Seeing the passion they have for what can be done here," she said. "There was a commitment, and that's what a coach is looking for."
That commitment shows in venues such as the Freeman Center and Pomoco Stadium. That commitment shows in the won-lost records — among more than 300 Division III schools, CNU ranks 24th nationally in the Directors' Cup all-sports standings and has finished among the top 50 seven times in the last decade.
Mighty impressive for someone who didn't have a lick of administrative experience when he took over and now confronts the challenge of hiring his own replacement as basketball coach.
"The only reason I got (the AD position) was that people on campus supported me so strongly," Woollum said. "I got my feet wet on the job. I got submerged, and I don't even swim well."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.
Hire educationNotable C.J. Woollum's coaching hires at CNU:
Lindsay Birch, volleyball | Six NCAA tournament appearances in eight seasons
John Harvell, baseball | Has two College World Series appearances in 10 seasons
Cathy Parson, women's basketball | Went 94-18 in conference play in seasons
Become a fan of Daily Press sports. Click HERE
Become a fan of HRVarsity. Click HERE
Follow Daily Press sports. Click HERE
Follow HRVarsity. Click HERE