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SALEM, W.Va. — Salem International University revived its once proud swimming program last season, with the year serving as something of a dress rehearsal for Sunday, October 29, and the relaunch of the program.

For a day, the old banners hanging in the Salem University Pool were given new life as Aquatics Director and Men’s Water Polo Head Coach Robert Bullion presented a scholarship to softball’s Tori Butler in memory of his father, Dr. Keith Bullion, the university’s former water polo and swimming head coach and athletic director who also served as a biology and chemistry professor and head of the biology department.

During the elder Bullion’s tenure, the aquatics program thrived, with the men’s water polo team winning the Eastern Division II Championships, being named the Southern Division Coach of the Year. With him at the helm of the men’s swim team, the Tigers won West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships in 2003 and 2004, earning Coach of the Year in that sport.

“I’m sure he’d definitely be happy with the direction aquatics is going,” Robert Bullion said. “He cared about this place a lot, getting involved with all sorts of things. My dad had his hand in almost everything.”

Bullion’s legacy with Salem University is still fresh and growing. Butler, the first recipient of the Keith Bullion Memorial Scholarship, was one of his original biology students here at Salem.

“Tori was one of Dr. Bullion’s original students and a teaching assistant, she’s a hard worker in the classroom with a very high GPA, so it just made sense,” Athletic Director and Head Softball Coach Steve Potts said. “To have one of his students at the first home swim meet since he was the head coach of the swimming team, giving out his scholarship, is just a fitting tribute.”

The Keith Bullion Memorial Scholarship will be awarded during the first scholarship meeting of each academic year. To be eligible in the future, students must be a Junior and majoring in Biology with a cumulative 3.5 GPA. Recipients will receive $250 per academic year, not to exceed $500. Recipients will be selected by designated members of the Scholarship Committee and Robert Bullion.

Donations to the scholarship fund are accepted via check to Salem University, care of Stephanie Roberts, with Keith Bullion Memorial Scholarship indicated on the check. 

Release courtesy Salem International University Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association