WOMEN COACHES. ALL SPORTS. ALL LEVELS.

Team WeCOACH

 

Vanessa Fuchs, CEO

vanessa@wecoachsports.org

A veteran leader with 20+ years of experience in athletic administration, Vanessa Fuchs joined WeCOACH as Chief Executive Officer in March 2022. Before WeCOACH, she served as Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at her alma mater, Florida State University.

Vanessa’s tenure at FSU began in 2010, where she served in a variety of important leadership roles over the past decade. Named the 2015 Women Leaders in College Sports Division I Administrator of the Year and an FSU Champion Beyond the Game honoree in 2016, she was instrumental in providing strategic direction for departmental initiatives focused on student-athlete welfare, enhancing athletic performance, fundraising and revenue generation, gender equity, and diversity and inclusion.

In June of 2013, former Florida State President Dr. Eric Barron named Vanessa the school’s interim Athletics Director as she became the first woman to lead the Seminoles’ Athletic Department. The former Seminole basketball player was one of just seven women leading an athletics department among the 124 schools that participated at the FBS level in 2012.

Prior to arriving at Florida State, Vanessa committed seven years to the NCAA in Indianapolis in Academic and Membership Affairs. She got her start as a Championships Intern with the ACC in 2001. The Pompano Beach, Florida, native was a four-year letterwinner for the Seminoles’ women’s basketball team from 1997-2001. She was the team co-captain in her senior year and finished her career as a four-time ACC Honor Roll selection.

Vanessa graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in communications at Florida State University and earned her master’s degree in sport administration from the University of North Carolina.

 

Maria Lopez, Director of Member Experience, Engagement, & Inclusion

Maria@wecoachsports.org

Maria Lopez has over 18+ years of tennis coaching experience at all levels of the game, with twelve of those years at the collegiate level, with her most recent stop as the Associate Head Coach at Boise State University where she helped implement a vision of excellence through community  outreach, alumni engagement, player and program development, revenue generation and fundraising, as well as driving and collaborating on DEI
initiatives for the athletics department.

She has coached five conference titles and two NCAA national championship teams at the collegiate level, as well as being named the ITA Regional and National Coach of the Year on two different occasions. She also worked with
a Top 50 WTA player. As a player, she was the former number one player in Venezuela during her junior career and a two-time All-American in 2001 and 2002. In addition, she was a three-time All-Sunshine State Conference selection. She is currently a board member for the Latina Tennis Coach Association and volunteers some of her time with the Sports Equality Foundation.

She is a graduate of the 2022 NCAA Women Coaches Academy Class #51 and an active member of
the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) since 2010. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in E-Commerce and a
Master’s Degree in Sport Management from Barry University. She is passionate about equity in women’s sports, particularly for women coaches, and is committed to empowering change to create inclusive environments to help benefit the lives of others.

 

Whitney Showalter, Director of Leadership Events & Branding

whitney@wecoachsports.org

Whitney Showalter comes to WeCOACH after spending the last 8 years at her alma mater, Virginia Tech, where she served as the Director of Operations for Softball. Showalter has plenty of ties to the softball program there as both a former player and coach. In two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach, she helped pave the way for successful 2012 and 2013 campaigns, ones that saw the Hokies reach the NCAA Regional finals both times. Both years she was on the staff, the coaching staff earned NFCA Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

Showalter played a key role in all phases of the Virginia Tech softball program as she served and led the coaching staff in multiple areas, including donor relations, alumni relations, recruiting visits, team travel and equipment. She served as the financial manager for the program. Showalter was also the liaison between the program and the business office, facilities, marketing, strategic communications and the student-athlete development departments. While at Virginia Tech, she was instrumental in the creation and direction of large-scale events including the annual Leadoff Banquet with donors.

Showalter spearheaded the partnership between TeamWorks, a communications and operations database, and the Hokie softball program. As the marketing liaison, she worked with the marketing department to successfully plan promotions for all home games at Tech Softball Park. She also ran yearly postgame clinics that have seen almost 400 kids over three years. Showalter also played a vital role in hosting the 2015 ACC Softball Tournament at Tech Softball Park, as well as an integral player in the creation of Virginia Tech softball’s new Indoor Batting Facility.

Showalter graduated in 2011 with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology from Virginia Tech and completed her master’s in education, curriculum and instruction from VT in 2013. In 2019 she earned an MBA in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin Business School. Showalter still serves as the softball representative on the Virginia Tech Monogram Club Board. She also spent time as a coach and the director of a youth softball travel organization based out of Blacksburg called the NRV Diamonds. She also spends time in the broadcast booth, calling several Virginia Tech games for the ACC Network, as well as the entire 2014 NCAA Division II National Tournament for NCAA.com. In 2020 she started her own photography business.

Showalter currently resides in Blacksburg, Va with her husband, David, the Associate Vice President of Finance at Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). The couple has two children, Camden and Chase, and their English bulldog, Beau.

 

Vicki Brown, Manager of Membership Growth & Development

vicki@wecoachsports.org

Vicki Brown has coached indoor volleyball for the last 10 years, most recently as head coach at the University of Iowa and University of San Francisco.  She served as an assistant coach at UC Davis, Illinois State University and University of Toledo. Vicki also led as head coach for the University of San Francisco beach volleyball program. Throughout her collegiate coaching career, Vicki has been a role model and leader in program branding, community outreach, managing budgets ($250,000 to over $500,000 yearly), and fundraising. She possesses a national network through her role as director of recruiting for all positions and regions. In 2020, Vicki was named as a member to the Big Ten Equality Coalition Executive Committee

Originally from Toledo, Ohio and initially a diehard basketball player, Vicki played and was recruited for volleyball and basketball. She was offered a full volleyball scholarship to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. During her time as an Illini, she received Big Ten Honors and amassed over 1000 kills in her career. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

After graduating from University of Illinois, Vicki continued her playing career professionally overseas. During her three-year career she played on teams in Austria, Puerto Rico, and Spain. After concluding her professional playing career, she completed an internship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in ticket sales. Also, she was an intern with local Radio Show, The Juice 107.3 where she primarily was involved in marketing for sponsors and events, as well as organizing yearly events.

Vicki currently resides in Gainesville, Florida where husband Eric is the throws events coach with the University of Florida Gators.

 

Lizzy Ristano, Manager of Leadership Events & Strategic Relationships

lizzy@wecoachsports.org

A veteran softball coach having spent the past 17 years as Associate Coach of the University of Notre Dame Softball team where she was the lead hitting and outfield instructor, Lizzy Ristano joined WeCOACH in September 2022. As a member of the ND coaching staff, the Irish softball team advanced to the NCAA tournament in all 17 seasons that Ristano was on staff. In addition, she was a part of a staff that received coaching staff-of-the-year honors in 2014, 2016 and 2017. She also spearheaded the team’s fundraising efforts as well as numerous leadership development opportunities with the players.

Lizzy grew up in Irvine, CA as a two-sport athlete playing Soccer and Softball at Woodbridge High School. Her Great Uncle played football for Knute Rockne, so It was always a dream of hers to attend the University of Notre Dame. She received a scholarship to play Softball at the University of Notre Dame, where she was a 4-year starter with the program. By her senior season, the Irish Softball team compiled the most successful season in school history with a 54-7 record and #7 national ranking. She graduated with a major in Sociology and a second major in Computer Applications in 2001.

After graduation from Notre Dame, Lizzy interned in the athletics department for one year under administrators Missy Conboy and Sandy Barbour. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and received a Master’s degree in Sports Management (’03). After graduating from UMass, she spent one year with Boston College Athletics Development in the Flynn Fund as an intern. The development job at Boston College led to a job back home on the west coast at Stanford University in the Athletics Development office where she worked primarily with the Buck Cardinal fund, Stanford’s annual giving fund. After a year and half at Stanford, she headed back to Notre Dame to coach at her alma mater.

Lizzy currently resides in Tallahassee, FL where husband Chuck is a pitching coach with the Florida State Seminoles. The couple have 2 children, Jane (6) and CJ (2).

 

Aviana Goode, Coordinator of Creative Marketing & Branding

Aviana Goode hails from New York and recently received her Master’s of Communications from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is a former Division I student-athlete of six (6) years competing as a multi-athlete in track and field. Aviana graduated Cum Laude from the University of Syracuse with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications and Rhetorical Studies and a minor in Sports Revenue Management in 2020.

During her time at Syracuse she was an All-ACC performer in the high jump for the indoor and outdoor 2018 season. Throughout her undergraduate career she was recognized on the ACC Academic Honor Roll and USTFCCCA All-Academic Team 19′. Due to COVID-19, she was able to make her way to South Texas to finish the remainder of her eligibility. While completing her master’s degree she maintained a 4.0 GPA alongside setting three (3) school records. She also was a 2020-22 Academic All-WAC Honoree and All-WAC 100m hurdle champion in 2021 and indoor
long jump runner-up in 2022. In May 2022 she walked across the stage saying farewell to her childhood sport and officially hanging up her spikes.

Interested in pursuing a career in sports marketing & creative digital media, Aviana has been assisting with WeCOACH social media planning and drafting content.

Priyana Kalita, Coordinator of Leadership Events & Strategic Initiatives

Priyana Kalita comes from India and is a former Division I student-athlete as a member of the Women’s Tennis team for Miami University of Ohio. Priyana uses they/she pronouns and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology (Coaching) and Bachelor of Arts degree in Women Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2021.

During their time at Miami, Priyana was part of the regular season and Mid-American Conference Championship team for the 2018-19 season, was awarded the Mid-American Conference Diversity and Inclusion student-athlete award, Senior service and Employee Leadership awards and was one of the twenty seniors out of the entire graduating class of 2021 to be awarded the President’s Distinguished Service award for their work on and off campus. They were also inducted in the Theta Alpha Kappa National Society for Religion and Theology studies for their work on the Trans community in sex work in India in 2019 and Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society this year.

Priyana is currently a graduate student in the Sport Management program at Florida State University. They plan to go into a Doctoral program and also become a college tennis coach after graduating from FSU in December 2022.