Al Waller grew up in Seneca, Kansas and played his high school basketball at St. Peter and Paul where he led the state of Kansas in scoring and was named all state his senior year.
He went on to play his college ball at St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas where he started every game for four years and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1970 and later went on to earn his Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1975. He coached six years of high school ball, four at Bishop Hogan in Kansas City, Missouri and two at Branson, Missouri before moving on to College of the Ozarks in 1975. In those six years his teams won 104 games and advanced to the state tournament twice. Waller served for 38 years at College of the Ozarks in a variety of roles before retiring in 2015. He was an Associate Professor in the Math Department (36 years), Head Men’s Basketball Coach (25 years), Athletic Director (26 Years), and Head Coach for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country in 2014. Waller also served as Co-Director of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship for 16 years, playing a key role in bringing the event from Idaho to the Branson area in 2000, where it remained for eighteen seasons.
As head basketball coach at College of the Ozarks, Waller accumulated 458 wins, 12 conference championships, and six NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship appearances, including advancing to the Final 8 three times and National Runner-up in 2000.
Waller also served as President of the NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Association in 1995-96 and was Commissioner of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference for 17 years.
Known for his affable personality, ready smile, and love of sports, Coach Waller has acquired many accolades, including: NAIA Athletic Director of the Year (1998), Conference Coach of the Year (12 times), NAIA Athletics Administrator of the Year (1999), Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (2003), NAIA Hall of Fame Inductee (2004), and College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (2015). Al and his wife, Marty have been married for 48 years, have two sons, Matt and Chris (deceased), and 5 grandchildren.