Tory Wooley looks back on his journey to 200 wins

Published 1:16 pm Saturday, January 13, 2024

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Point Women’s Basketball Coach Tory Wooley got his 200th win as a head coach on Jan. 6 as his Lady Skyhawks defeated Tennessee Southern at home. 

Wooley has now surpassed 200 wins as Point defeated Brewton-Parker on Wednesday. Wooley has not just won as a head coach at Point, he also won as a player and as a student. 

Wooley played for Point’s men’s basketball team during all four years of college. Wooley was also a part of the transition team as a student when the university moved from East Point to its current home in West Point. 

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Wooley and four other students were tasked with announcing that the University would be moving, and Wooley was even tasked with announcing that the university would soon add a football program. 

“I was pretty much on the transition team when we came here,” Wooley said. “It was a pretty neat experience to be a part of the transition team. During a chapel service, the president of the university gave us the responsibility of telling the student body that we were going to be transitioning from East Point to West Point. One of my responsibilities was to announce to the students that we were going to have a football team.” 

The year-and-a-half-long process took place and Wooley graduated from the university in 2012. Then, Wooley immediately became an assistant coach with the women’s basketball program. One year later, Wooley was hired to be the head coach. 

“For one, I wanted to bring a new energy, a new voice and a new belief into our women’s basketball program,” Wooley said. “I knew that we could be successful at the NAIA level.” 

The program had success before they moved up to the NAIA level, but Wooley had to start from the bottom in NAIA. 

Wooley’s enthusiasm and drive to turn the program around never wavered. Wooley along with some dominant athletes and great assistant coaches made the Lady Skyhawks a force to be reckoned with. 

“I knew if we brought in the pieces, this could be something special,” Wooley said. “We truly built this program into a very successful program. I’m thankful for the assistant coaches that I’ve had along the way.” 

The program turned around over time with Wooley at the helm. The team won a conference championship last season and earned an invite to the NAIA national tournament. Wooley was also named Coach of the Year last season. 

Wooley has become a legendary coach in his own right, but that did not come without several coaching role models along the way. Wooley’s first mentor was his father, who coached him every year until he became a varsity athlete. 

“He was my first coach,” Wooley said about his father. “I just used to go to his practices as a kid when he coached my older brother. I would go to his practices and just observe and watch him and see firsthand what it’s like being a coach.” 

Wooley played high school basketball at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy alongside former NBA star Dwight Howard. While in high school, Wooley learned from head coach Courtney Brooks. 

“Courtney Brooks was an outstanding coach but an even better person,” Wooley said. “He was a phenomenal husband, father and coach. He was able to integrate faith and basketball in a special way, and that truly made a difference in my life along with my dad.” 

Wooley’s support staff has always been a major part of his journey. Wooley’s wife, Nicci Wooley, is currently a professor at Point University. Nicci Wooley along with Tory’s mother and father have helped him get to this point through their support and faith. 

Some of Wooley’s favorite moments at Point have been when his team beat Reinhardt in triple overtime in the 2015 AAC conference tournament, in the 2015-16 season when the Lady Skyhawks upset Bethel and when the team first became a top 25 team. Few memories have been able to match the Skyhawks winning a conference championship last season.
“I thought that was special,” Wooley said. “That kind of led into our ring ceremony.” 

Now, Wooley is completely focused on what’s next for the Lady Skyhawks. That all begins with this season where the team is currently 9-5 and third in the Southern States Athletic Conference with a matchup against conference foe Faulkner on Saturday. 

“I’m excited, and I’m thankful just to be able to do what I do and have the opportunity to work at a place like Point University,” Wooley said. “What’s next is to continue to win banners, raise trophies and cut down nets.”