Under new leadership, the Waldorf women’s basketball team is looking to restore tradition

The Waldorf women’s basketball team will take the floor for the first time tonight under new leadership. Waldorf hired Shawn Chaffin to take over the program on August 15th, after former coach Kate Schutjer resigned from the position after eight years on the job.

Shawn comes to Waldorf from San Deigo, California, and was directed to the program by a longtime friend, NSAA Commissioner Roger Ternes, “I’ve known Roger a long time; he gave me a heads up, I linked up with Chad (Gassman, Waldorf athletic director) and from there I was on a plane to interview, got offered the job, accepted the job, flew back to pack for Iowa,” Said Chaffin. Then, less than a week later, Chaffin was on Waldorf’s campus in Iowa. “It was extremely important for things to move quickly because of the timing. Someone was here in Iowa on campus helping the team lift; as soon as I got here, it was time to start conditioning”, continued Chaffin.

Coach Chaffin during a sit down with KIOW:


This isn’t the first time Chaffin will work to turn an NAIA program around. As previously mentioned, Chaffin comes to Waldorf from San Diego Christian College, where he spent the past five seasons. He also spent five seasons at the University of Great Falls, an NAIA program in Montana, now known as the University of Providence.

With classes already starting before Chaffin was on campus, this first season, he will work with the women who were already on campus, “the first year is about trying to figure out who we have, who we want to carry forward with, who is good enough to play at our level and are they in the right roles,” Chaffin mentioned.

Coach Chaffin during a sit down with KIOW:


The Waldorf women’s basketball team has had one winning season in the past nine and went 41-170 in the past eight. “Recruiting. You are only as good as the players you got. I like the players we have, but we need to get better”, Chaffin explained. We want kids that have the motor and desire to compete every single day.” Waldorf is positioned perfectly near area high school programs that have sent over ten girls to NAIA or NCAA DIII programs in the past five years, yet none are currently on Waldorf’s roster. It starts with commitment; the college basketball season begins in October and runs through March, “it’s a true two-semester sport,” Chaffin mentioned.

Chaffin won’t try and turn the program around alone. He has hired a familiar face to Warrior fans, Ameh Ogbemudia, as his assistant. “She’s doing a great job working with our post; when we do breakouts, she coaches the post while I coach the guards,” said Chaffin.

Coach Ameh played at Waldorf and graduated in 2019. She was a large part of Waldorf’s only winning season in the past almost decade in 2018 when Waldorf went 14-12 overall. She scored over 1,000 career points and recorded over 500 rebounds, “I am so excited to be back and a part of the Women’s basketball program again,” Ogbemudia told Waldorf athletics in a press release about her hiring. “It still feels surreal to now be on the other side of the student-athlete experience, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.” Chaffin is excited about her connections to clubs and Minnesota high schools, “She’s got a lot of club coach connections, which at the college game is so so important,” mentioned Chaffin. “We need to get on these kids early,” he continued.

How about a family connection? Coach Ameh’s sister, Edosa, is a freshman at Waldorf, “She’s going to be a good player for us,” noted Chaffin

What to expect from this Waldorf team will be unknown. A new coach, with athletes recruited by a different coach in a program that has struggled and was picked to finish last in the North Star Athletic Association, receiving the minimum amount of votes a team can receive. But there is one thing I can guarantee. Coach Chaffin has brought hope for a better future, and win or lose, his teams will be filled with classful athletes that make the university and the city proud, “the longer I’ve done this, the more I’ve realized character is so important; you might win short term, but you won’t win long term with bad kids.”

Coach Chaffin during a sit down with KIOW:


Now for some basketball. The Warriors tip tonight (Thursday) for the first time this season. Waldorf had a turnover problem last year, not a secret, and something coach Chaffin was open about. “This team was at nearly 20 turnovers per game, and you can’t win basketball games like that”, he said. “If we get a shot up every time, we will at least give ourselves a chance,” he also stated. The Warriors have been working on turnover-specific drills to combat that problem. Chaffin tells Warriors’ fans that defense will be the name of the game for his team this year, “that’s how we’re going to win games this year, that’s what I’ve preached to our girls, defense #1, turnovers #2, rebound #3 – we do all of that, and we will have a chance”.

Coach Chaffin during a sit down with KIOW:


Coach Chaffin coached six NAIA National Tournament teams, four regular season conference championships, four conference tournament championships, three conference MVPs, 4 All-Americans, and 12 All-Conference Selections, and coached six players who have continued their playing careers professionally. Chaffin has had six former assistant coaches/players that went on to be head college coaches, including one at the NCAA Division I level. He also has served on the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament Committee six times.

“I’m just excited to be here and excited to get rolling with the season, we’re over 20 practices in and now it’s time to actually you know get out there and play some games.”  -Shawn Chaffin.

Coach Chaffin is only the third head coach in Program history. A program that was started by hall of famer Denny Jerome 50 years ago, Jerome coached the Waldorf women’s basketball team through the 2013 season, going 786-439 in 42 seasons.


2022 is the 50th anniversary of the program, and they will start the season on the road for their first four games starting tonight in Omaha against York College at 6:00 PM – the game can be watched here.

Waldorf will be at home for the first time on November 8th against Central College at 5:30 PM.










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