WILLIAMSBURG—WILLIAMSBURG — A new chapter was added to the Woollum basketball coaching tradition on the Peninsula this week when Bobby Woollum was confirmed as the boys head coach at Lafayette High.
Woollum is the son of former William and Mary men’s basketball coach Charlie Woollum, who began coaching in the area in 1964 at Newport News High. He is the nephew of the late C.J. Woollum, who won more than 500 games as men’s basketball coach at Christopher Newport University.
“I coached a lot of kids that Lafayette has had for quite awhile, including the (rising) freshmen who have been very very successful,” Woollum said of his time with the Venom. “My son Charlie plays football at Lafayette and I’ve gotten to know a lot of the kids from being around our house.
“I travel to a lot of schools, but I always say that Lafayette is a school that I love and that has a great environment. What I want to do is more than build a team.
“I want to build a program.”
That is music to the ears of the players and Lafayette administration, because Woollum is the program’s fourth head coach in as many seasons. He began his collegiate coaching career in 1991 as an assistant at Bucknell, where he played three seasons for his father, who guided the program to multiple NCAA appearances.
After a year at George Mason University (1992-93) as an assistant, Woollum joined his father on the staff at William and Mary from 1994-2000. He helped recruit six players who earned All-Colonial Athletic Association recognition and seven who were on the All-CAA freshmen team.
Following three seasons as an assistant at Western Carolina, Woollum took the job at Russell Athletic.
“I wanted to spend more time with my kids,” he said. “I think the college coaching experience and growing up in a basketball family will help me at Lafayette.
“I played for and coached with my dad for a long time, so I’ll ask for his advice. There’s no reason I wouldn’t use a resource like him.”
Woollum inherits a solid nucleus that includes returners Tyrek Graham, Bryce Losty and Jason Adderty, as well as transfer Trey Neville, the leading scorer at Jamestown this past season. Also returning is last year’s head coach, Dan Downs, who asked to move to assistant coach to spend more time with his family.
In Woollum, all of them will encounter a style similar to the one his father Charlie Woollum — now a color commentator for W&M hoops radio broadcasts — employed as coach.
“He was hard but he always made it fun for the kids,” Woollum said of his father. “That’s why his teams were able to relax and play loose.”
O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963757-247-4963 and Williams can be reached by phone at 757-247-4644757-247-4644.