Waginger, who was a point guard for the Catamounts during his collegiate playing career, spent last season as the team's Director of Basketball Operations. He replaces Andre Gray, who took a similar position with UNC-Wilmington.
“It is with great pleasure to be able to elevate Brigham Waginger to a full time position on our basketball staff,” Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said. “Brigham is a talented young coach who has a relentless work ethic and passion for the game. His personality, tenacity, people skills, loyalty and love for both our program and Western Carolina will enable him to be a tremendous representative and salesman for our program.”
As the Director of Basketball Operations, Waginger was primarily responsible for many of the day-to-day operations of the team including travel while also assisting in video exchange.
“Brigham has a terrific understanding of our system and has gained valuable experience working in the office assisting our staff in all phases of our operation last season," Hunter said. "His high character and many accomplishments at Western Carolina both as a student and a former athlete have allowed him to gain the respect of our players.”
One of the tasks Waginger will help with is the development of guard Harouna Mutombo, nephew of former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, Harouna Mutombo is one of six Canadian-born players to make the team.
In 2006, Waginger helped lead the Jeeps to their first and only state basketball championship, an 83-65 win in Division IV over Columbus Grove. That season, the then-senior was named SOC Player of the Year, Division IV Southeast District Player of the Year, first team District 14 honors and first team Division IV All-Ohio after a season in which he averaged 18-3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 5.3 steals a game. His 163 assists and 149 steals in his senior season are school records.
During his junior season, Waginger helped Ironton to a Division III State Runner-Up finish. The two championship appearances by one player with two schools has only been accomplished by two other players in OHSAA history. While with the Fighting Tigers, Waginger was named AP Division III All-State in 2004 (Honorable Mention) and 2005 (Special Mention) as well as Division III first team All-Southeast District in 2005.
While in Cullowhee (N.C.), Waginger also set season and career school records in steals with 90 and 285 respectively. Waginger currently holds three of the top four season-best steal totals in the school record books. The career mark he has, which tops Western Carolina Hall of Famer Henry Logan's record of 221 by 64, is third in Southern Conference history.
In the 2009-10 season, Waginger became the first player in SoCon history to lead the conference in steals three-straight seasons and the second in conference history to top the list in thefts three times in a four-year span.
Defense wasn't the only part of Waginger's game. During his tenure, Waginger finished with 810 points, 27 double-digit scoring contests, 165 3-pointers (sixth in school history), and 398 assists (ninth in Catamounts history).
During his senior season at WCU, Waginger garnered third team All-SoCon (media), conference co-Defensive Player of the Year and CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Defensive All-America. That season, the team captured 22 regular season wins, the most since becoming an NCAA Division I school, and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996.
Waginger isn't the only former Catamount on Hunter's staff as Anquell McCollum (1993-96) and Eric Wilson (2004-08) are also assistants.
CODY LEIST can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
Information from the Western Carolina Sports Information Department contributed to this report.