August 28, 2009

New Faces On the Red Sidelines in 2009-10

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A version of this story was originally published online on June 9.
Sarah Bernson, Wendy Schaenen ’79 Head Coach of Volleyball
In its past five seasons, the volleyball squad has both seen triumph and disappointment, with its impressive three-year Ivy title run, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, along with back-to-back NCAA appearances (in 2005 and 2006), followed by the next two seasons, which emphasized rebuilding after the loss of a core of All-Ivy seniors. Through it all, the team relied on the leadership of former head coach Deitre Collins-Parker as well as vital assistant coach Sarah Bernson. On June 3, Director of Athletics Andy Noel recognized Bernson’s hard work and dedication by promoting her the new Wendy Schaenen ’79 head coach, filling the position vacated at the end of this season after Collins-Parker accepted the head coaching position at San Diego State.
During her five years as an assistant coach, Bernson was in charge of recruiting and also worked specifically with the Red’s outside hitters, a group that included Cornell’s all-time kills leader and first volleyball All-American in school history, Elizabeth Bishop ’07.
In addition to her experience with the Red, Bernson spent three years as an assistant coach at California State University Monterey Bay. There, she helped the Otters set a new school record for most wins in a season, which earned the team a playoff bid and its first-ever postseason victory. With Bernson’s help, Otters were selected to the league’s all-conference team in 2003, another first for the CSUMB program.
While at CSUMB, Bernson also started and led the Monterey Volleyball Club, a youth-development program focusing on middle and high school students, and worked for the CSUMB athletic department as marketing and promotional coordinator.
In 1999, Bernson earned a bachelor’s dual degree in English and art from St. Mary’s College in California. Bernson played on the right side on the St. Mary’s volleyball team until a career-ending injury in 1998, but remained active as captain of the team as a senior. In high school, Bernson was an all-state athlete for St. Pius X in Albuquerque, NM.
With the fall season approaching, Bernson has quickly made the transition to head coach and attended the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy in Atlanta. The program is designed to provide skills and productivity training, and focuses on such aspects of the job as player development, retention and mentoring.
Jeremy Spates, Wrestling Assistant Coach
Sprinkled liberally throughout Division I wrestling are coaches who, at some point in time, have been instructed or mentored by Cornell head coach Rob Koll. On June 3, Jeremy Spates, one of these mini-protégés will return to the Hill to serve as the newest addition to the Red’s assistant coaching staff. Spates worked for the past five seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma.
At Cornell, Spates, a former 149-pound wrestler, will assist Koll in all areas of coaching, including recruitment and on-the-mat instruction. He will work with all weight classes, but will specialize in the middle to lower weight classes.
Koll said that he is very glad to be able to have Spates on staff for the upcoming season, a process that was several years in the making.
“I have known Jeremy for a very long time, and I helped him with his technique when he was in junior high,” Koll said in an email press release. “We tried to get Jeremy to join our staff a few years ago, but the timing was not right. We are very glad to have him back in New York. Jeremy will bring a unique perspective to our staff, having wrestled and coached in the Big 12.”
While at Oklahoma, Spates helped lead the Sooner to a 16-4 dual record this past season, its best in the last five. Oklahoma wrestlers earned two Big 12 championships and eight individuals qualified for the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma has earned two top-3 team finishes at the NCAAs, as well as a 2004 national champion at 141 pounds.
Spates wrestled for Missouri as an undergraduate, finishing with a 106-38 overall record that included three NCAA appearances, culminating in a fifth place as a senior that helped him earn All-American honors. Spates also served as captain of his squad for three seasons, the first Tiger to do so. In high school, Spates was an All-American his senior year, and a three-time junior All-American.
Despite his Midwestern roots, Cornell coaching runs in Spates’ blood. His father, Jack Spates coached the Red from 1989-93, finishing with a 74-14-1 overall record, five Ivy League titles and back-to-back EIWA championship titles. Spates Sr. is currently in his 16th season as the highly decorated head coach of Oklahoma.
Liz Dennison, Women’s Rowing Assistant Coach
Dennison, who was named assistant coach to the women’s crew on August 4, is the former captain of Georgetown’s women’s rowing team, and served for the past two years as the Hoyas’ volunteer assistant coach. She was also a volunteer assistant coach for Syracuse’s novice squads from 2006-07. Dennison was named Georgetown’s most valuable rower in 2006, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs.
Jim Salgado, Football Linebackers Coach
Head coach Jim Knowles ’87 announced Salgado’s hiring on April 23. The former Hofstra cornerback worked at Syracuse from 2004-08 and helped the 2006 Orange team to a No. 9 national ranking in turnover margin and No. 15 ranking in interceptions. Salgado’s addition should help the Red improve on its defense, which was fourth in the Ivy League defending the pass, but seventh against the rush.
Women’s Soccer
Head coach Danielle LaRoche announced on May 12 that Elke Reisdorph would join the Red’s coaching staff after a year as assistant coach at Binghamton. Reisdorph will focus on coaching Cornell’s defensive unit, which was worst in the Ivy League in 2008. Last year, the women’s soccer team gave up 2.4 goals per game, more than one goal higher than the second-worst teams, Yale and Brown at 1.24 goals per game. Reisdorph was a four-year starter and captain at Christopher Newport University and helped her squad to is first NCAA tournament appearance in 2000.
LaRoche also announced on Wednesday the additions of Jen Spiker and Rosemary Davis to the coaching staff. Spiker coached at West Virginia for 11 seasons, helping the Mountaineers to a No. 10 national ranking. Davis will work with Cornell’s goalies, and was an assistant coach and graduate of Kenyon College.