The Cornell Athletic Department announced on Feb. 13 that Gretchen Zigante will step into the position of interim head coach for the women’s soccer team until the end of next season. This announcement follows the resignation of former head coach Berhane Andeberhan on Jan. 5.
“We support Berhane’s resignation,” said Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel. “I think it’s best for everybody involved. The decision came after lengthy discussion at many levels of the administration about the women’s soccer program, and I think this is best for everybody involved.”
Andeberhan leaves the Red after six years at the helm, during which he compiled a 34-52-11 record overall, including a 7-31-4 mark in Ivy League play during that span.
“It wasn’t voluntary,” Andeberhan said. “I’m very happy and very proud of my work at Cornell.”
Noel said the decision to accept Andeberhan’s resignation came following an annual review of the team’s performance and in-depth consideration of many facets of the program, including its ability to compete within the Ivy League and the quality of experience it was providing for student-athletes.
Zigante will take over the reins after four seasons as an assistant coach under Andeberhan, and she hopes to develop the team into an Ivy League challenger.
“I think we’re going to continue on the same course we’ve been heading. We’re looking to improve, especially in the Ivy League in terms of results,” Zigante said. “The challenge that our students have as athletes and Ivy League students is a great one, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be competitive and get results.”
Noel is confident in Zigante’s abilities to help the Red improve on its ability to challenge in the Ancient Eight.
“[Zigante] has a very positive attitude and a soccer resume that is impressive,” Noel said. “Beyond her playing excellence, in our discussions with her, she has a very strong, confident handle on our program.”
The first notable achievement on Zigante’s resume is the 1986 NCAA national championship, which she won with the storied North Carolina program as its starting goalkeeper. She was a member of the U.S. national team from 1986-90, where she first worked with Andeberhan, who was a coach for the national team.
“I think it’s a natural transition,” Zigante said. “Berhane is an excellent coach and an excellent mentor, so I’ll look to implement what I’ve learned from him.”
After her time with the national team, Zigante moved on to Japan, where she played two years of professional soccer for Shiroki FC in Toyokawashi.
Zigante began her coaching career stateside at Cal State University at San Bernadino, a Division II heavyweight that reached a No. 4 ranking in the nation during the 1995 season and produced four national scholars and two All-Americans. After the ’95 season, Zigante was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year.
Zigante moved on to Division I soccer when she became an assistant coach at San Diego in 1998, a team she helped take to the NCAA tournament in 1998 and 1999, including a Sweet 16 berth in 1998. The Aztecs reached the top-10 in national polls that season, and won the first of two conference championships.
Zigante earned a bachelor of sciences degree in biological sciences at Idaho State in 1999, and also earned a United States Soccer Federation National “A” license the same year.
“[Zigante] has a clear path in mind for the current team and newcomers next fall,” Noel said. “We feel she’ll do an excellent job in transition.”
After the 2006 season, Noel said the Athletic Department will conduct a national search for a head coach for the Red. He said that Zigante will be considered as a candidate for the position on a permanent basis at that time.
Archived article by Olivia DwyerSun Assistant Sports Editor
Everybody knows about Bode Miller. People say that he’s reckless, or that he’s daring; some say he is the best skier in the world.
Well, so far in Torino, he has placed fifth in the downhill, and he was disqualified in the alpine combined, which is a mix of the downhill and slalom races.
Yes, everyone knows about Bode. But not a lot of people know about his fellow American skier, Steve Nyman.
No, I’m not related to Steve. But he is one of America’s best skiers. And although he didn’t win a medal in the downhill or combined events, he did get some attention as an emerging challenger.
He may have another chance to compete next week in the individual slalom. Nyman is not among the very best in that event, so he isn’t really a top contender to medal. However, the Utah native says he doesn’t really care about getting to the podium. At least that’s what he told the media – when they finally stopped asking questions about Bode.
“I don’t really care about medals. A lot of people in America can relate to them, but it’s not about the medals,” he said. “It’s about the effort.”
Maybe Nyman doesn’t really feel that way. After all, the downhill event took place on his birthday, so maybe he was just in a carefree mood.
But I think he was sincere – after all, he looked happy just to be in Torino, competing with the world’s best.
“Anybody can medal on any given day,” the now 24-year-old said. “It was awesome just to finish, to have my name up there, to hear them say ‘Happy Birthday.”
Nyman wasn’t chosen for the downhill event until last week, when he finished ahead of other American skiers in practice runs on Thursday and Friday. He had been under the radar until recently, when he turned in an impressive fourth-place finish at a downhill World Cup event in Germany two weeks ago. It was a career-best result.
Right now, he may not have the talent of Bode Miller. Yet, this humble guy from Utah might one day do what Miller could not – win a gold medal in the downhill event.
But, it was another American, Ted Ligety, who in fact won a gold medal yesterday in the men’s combined – the event where Miller was disqualified for pinning a gate with his ski.
The combined event is called that because it includes a downhill race – which emphasizes speed – and two slalom races, which are more focused on technical skill. Ligety is not very strong in downhill – he was 32nd after that portion of the event. But he turned into two incredible slalom runs, and jumped ahead into the lead.
His win was a pretty big upset, as most people expected either Miller or one of the Austrian competitors to win the gold. But Miller ended up doing what he all-too-frequently does – disqualifying himself – while Ligety turned in a couple of near-perfect runs.
Before the Olympics, Ligety was unknown outside the skiing world – and nowhere near as famous as Bode. But now he is a gold medalist, and has become only the fourth American to win a men’s alpine skiing event at the Olympics. He did so as an underdog, and he did it without a lot of prior attention or fanfare.
And now Bode will have to share the spotlight – now that America has won gold in an event where it has often struggled. For an American skiing team that thought its chances for victory were running out, it was the unheralded teammate that came through.
It’s those kinds of stories – not all the media hype – that make the Olympics great.
Ted Nyman is a Sun Staff Writer. Fast Times will appear every other Wednesday this semester.
Archived article by Ted Nyman