2022 Academy 2.0 Class 5 Faculty
Marlene Bjornsrud, Academy Facilitator
Marlene’s career spanned more than 40 years of leadership in women’s sports and non-profits, establishing and growing organizations. She had a wide range of experience across multiples sports and levels including coaching and athletic administration at the collegiate level, and general management at the professional level. Now retired, she remains an advocate and leader committed to using sports as a platform to make a positive difference in the world.
Marlene served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Women Coaches (now WeCOACH) from 2014 – 2016. She joined the Alliance from the Bay Area Women’s Sport Initiative (BAWSI), a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2005 with USA soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy. As CEO of BAWSI, they engaged more than 8,000 women athletes in the fight against child obesity by having them inspire more than 16,000 BAWSI girls in underserved communities in the Bay Area and more than a thousand children with disabilities (“BAWSI Rollers”), to get moving in fun, active play.
Marlene’s work in helping girls and women through sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee with its prestigious 2013 Women and Sport Award for the continent of the Americas. Marlene was a featured speaker in Doha, Qatar at the GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum with the intent of empowering individuals to create a roadmap for social improvement through sport and launch cross-border initiatives. Additionally, she was instrumental in helping launch the first ever Japanese Women Coaches Academy. Marlene has been a featured speaker at WBCA, AVCA, and NSCAA conventions, as well as many local, regional and national events.
Marlene resides in Colorado Springs, CO with her wife Jo and spends most of her days hiking the foothills of Pikes Peak.
Pam Borton, CEO & Founder ON Point: Next Level Leadership
Pam Borton is currently on the WeCOACH Board of Directors
Pam’s background stands apart with 27 years coaching Division 1 women’s basketball, including 12 years as head coach at the University of Minnesota in the Big Ten. There she led her teams to a Final Four, Elite Eight, three straight Sweet Sixteens and numerous NCAA Tournament appearances. She was also a two-time nominee for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award.
She is now a leading ICF master executive coach, professional speaker and author, committed to taking C-suite executives, teams and organizations to the next level. She is also a global team coach, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). From elite players to corporate athletes, Pam provides her clients with real-life experiences and proven business practices that get results.
She is a philanthropist at heart – founding two non-profits and sits on multiple boards. She launched TeamWomen in 2011, an organization dedicated to empowering women and Empower Leadership Academy in 2014 to provide young girls the tools and support they need to become the next generation of leaders. Pam is on the Board for TeamWomen, Defiance College and WeCOACH.
Pam has been recognized with several awards including the 2016 Twin Cities Business Magazine Marvelous Mentor Award, Top 10 Global Women of Leadership Pillar Award, (Real) Power 50 Award and New England National Coach of the Year. In 2019, Pam was inducted into the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Hall of Fame in Minnesota.
Additionally, Pam was honored with the creation of the Pam Borton Endowment at the University of Minnesota in the College of Education and Human Development, the only endowment of its kind in the world.
Betsy Butterick, Founder, The Coaches’ Coach
Betsy is a 2013 NCAA WCA graduate (Class 29)
As a former coach with experience in DI, DII, DIII, and the WNBA Betsy utilizes her unique background with individuals ready to improve and teams of all kinds – from the locker room to the boardroom. As “The Coaches’ Coach” she meets coaches where they are and supports the growth that they’re looking to make. As a Communication Specialist, Betsy helps teams improve communication effectiveness while working collaboratively to create positive change at all levels of team. Professional, playful, and with a talent for people-centric design, Betsy offers a personal and experiential approach towards learning and development. A life-long athlete, Betsy grew up playing all sports and was a competitive basketball player (and an awful golfer) at the collegiate level. She now spends her time in Colorado Springs with her wife and daughter cycling, hiking, exploring, practicing yoga, chasing sunsets and in constant pursuit of the perfect breakfast burrito.
Selena Castillo, Creative Director, Duke University Women’s Basketball
Selena Castillo is in her fifth year as the creative director for the Duke women’s basketball program. Castillo’s responsibilities include working with staff to develop social media branding and an aesthetics plan for each season, create and execute creative video and graphic concepts, managing women’s basketball social media accounts and producing recruiting videos and graphics.
In her short time in Durham, Castillo has already increased the social media following for the Blue Devils and Duke now boasts the most Instagram followers in the ACC for women’s basketball.
Before coming to Duke, Castillo spent two years as a graphic designer at Tampa Bay Sports Commission (TBSC), a non-profit organization that seeks to create social and economic benefits to the Tampa Bay region by bidding on and hosting sporting and entertainment events. Through her work with TBSC, Castillo has been involved in events such as the 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four, 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four and the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, as well as participated in the planning process for future events such as Super Bowl LV and the 2022 NCAA March Madness first and second rounds.
Concurrently with her time at Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Castillo also gained creative design work experience while working with Event Development Institute, a full-service marketing and event agency that focuses on developing new and previously existing events all across the United States.
A graduate of Emory University, Castillo was a four-year letter winner for the Emory women’s basketball team. She helped guide the Eagles to their first UAA Conference Championship in program history in 2012-13. Castillo is the all-time Emory leader with 229 steals and her 83 and 80 steal seasons in 2013-14 and 2012-13, respectively, hold the top two seasonal record places in program history. She graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic.
Charmelle Green, Deputy Athletics Director/Chief Operating Officer, University of Utah
Charmelle Green, a former Utah Softball All-American and member of the Utah Athletics Hall of Fame, returned to her alma mater as Deputy Athletics Director for Internal Operations and Chief Operating Officer on March 1, 2021. A veteran of more than 20 years in intercollegiate athletics administration and coaching, Green had spent the previous 10 years at Penn State, most recently serving as Senior Associate A.D. for Student-Athlete Performance, Health and Welfare, and Senior Woman Administrator.
In Green’s role at Penn State she served as sport supervisor for women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and track & field, softball, and ability athletics, as well as the management, supervision, and evaluation of Intercollegiate Athletics Sport Performance unit, including medical services, athletic training, strength & conditioning, performance nutrition, performance psychology, and applied health and performance science. She also oversaw the Intercollegiate Athletics Student Welfare and Development unit, which develops and implements life skills programs, and resources for student-athletes, and served as intercollegiate athletics liaison to Counseling and Psychological Services.
Green served on numerous department and university-wide committees in her 10 years at Penn State, which began in 2011 as Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator. Committees included the search committee for Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour, search committee for football head coaches Bill O’Brien and James Franklin, the University search committee for Vice President and General Counsel, the University Policy Review Committee, the University Employee Leadership Steering Committee, the University’s Employee Education Initiative Team, the University Response Coordination Committee, and Faculty Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. Green also served as Penn State’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Green previously spent 10 years at the University of Notre Dame, with her final role being head of the Office of Student-Athlete Welfare & Development and the sport administrator for women’s swimming & diving. During Green’s six years in Notre Dame’s athletics administration, she oversaw the student development program, with the mission of providing a balanced Notre Dame experience for student-athletes by focusing on five key areas: academic excellence, athletic success, career preparation, community involvement and personal development.
Prior to joining athletic administration at Notre Dame, Green was an assistant softball coach for the Fighting Irish from 2001-05. During her tenure on the coaching staff, the Irish were selected for the NCAA Tournament four times and won four Big East Conference regular season championships.
Green’s collegiate coaching career began as a volunteer assistant at Utah in 1996 before moving on to full-time assistant coaching positions at Colorado State (1999) and Syracuse (2000-01), and ultimately Notre Dame.
After an All-America softball career at Utah, Green played one season of softball in New Zealand and a season in the newly formed National Fastpitch Association following graduation. She returned to Salt Lake City and coordinated youth programs for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation from 1995-98 while also coaching softball at West High as head coach and as a volunteer assistant at Utah. During that time, Green also was an integral part of developing an advisory board for the development of an inner-city school for the arts.
A first-team All-American in 1990 and second-team choice in ’91, Green also was named the 1991 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and winner of the Occie Evans Award, honoring the outstanding senior woman athlete in team sports at the U. She also was Sportswoman of the Year in Softball in the state of Utah after leading the Utes to the College World Series in her highly-decorated senior year, when current Utah Softball head coach Amy Hogue was a freshman.
Green, who helped lead two conference championship teams and was a captain in 1991, was inducted into Utah’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. She left Utah with 13 school records, including seven all-time career standards. Among those she was the all-time leader in batting average (.341), hits (232), runs (112) and stolen bases (55), and still ranks fifth in stolen bases and triples (12). Green is also enshrined in the State of Utah’s Softball Hall of Fame as well as the Hall of Fame at Mt. Miguel High School in Spring Valley, Calif.
A 1991 Utah graduate with a degree in mass communications/public relations, Green earned a master’s degree in secondary education in 2003 from IU South Bend. She is married to Dr. Matthew E. Mooney who will join the University as the Director for Digital Learning Services in June 2021.
Lindsay Gottlieb, Head Coach, Basketball, University of Southern California
Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who in her eight seasons at California led the Golden Bear women to seven NCAA appearances with a trip to the Final Four, was named the USC women’s basketball head coach on May 10, 2021 by Trojan athletic director Mike Bohn.
Gottlieb, 43, became just the seventh female NBA assistant when she was hired by the Cavs in June of 2019 and the first NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. Cavalier players praised her knowledge of the game, leadership and communication skills.
Gottlieb spent eight seasons (2012-19) as the head coach at Cal, posting a 179-89 (.668) overall record and advancing to the NCAA tourney all but once. Seven of her teams won at least 20 games, including the 2013 squad that went 32-4 (a school record for wins) and made it to the program’s first-ever NCAA Final Four. She was the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and a Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist and was just the seventh NCAA women’s coach since 1990 to reach the Final Four in the first two seasons of being hired.
Her 179 overall victories are the second-most in Cal history. Her teams finished in the top half of the Pac-12 standings six times, including tied for the regular season title in 2013 (a program first) at 17-1 and second twice. Her Golden Bear players were named All-Americans 10 times and six were WNBA Draft selections.
She made her mark immediately at Cal, taking a senior-less team in 2012 to the second round of the NCAAs with a 25-10 overall record and a second place Pac-12 finish. Her 2013 Final Four team snapped Stanford’s 81-game conference winning streak. The Golden Bears were 22-10 in 2014 (second in Pac-12) and 24-10 in 2015 (third in Pac-12), advancing to the NCAA second round both seasons. After dipping to 15-17 in 2016, Cal rebounded with a 20-14 season in 2017 and got to the NCAA second round. Her final two Golden Bear squads were 21-11 in 2018 (NCAA first round) and 20-13 in 2019 (NCAA second round).
Gottlieb was an assistant at Cal for two seasons (2006-07) and then the Golden Bears’ associate head coach in 2008. The Golden Bears had their first winning season in 13 years in 2006 and played in the NCAAs each season. She worked primarily with the post players, with Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton both becoming All-Americans (Hampton was Cal’s first Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2006 and Walker was the program’s first WNBA draftee when she went in the 2009 first round).
Gottlieb then became the head coach at UC Santa Barbara for three years (2009-11), where she posted a 56-39 (.589) record and led the team to trips to the NCAA (2009) and WNIT (2011) tourneys. She won 75 percent of her Big West games (36-12), captured Big West regular season championships in 2009 and 2011 and the Big West tournament crown in 2009, and was named the 2009 Big West Coach of the Year when UCSB was 22-10 overall and 15-1 in league play. She was the first coach in school history to win 20 games in her debut season. The Gauchos went 15-17 in 2010 and 19-12 in 2011 (falling in WNIT play to USC).
She also was an assistant at Syracuse (2000-01), New Hampshire (2002) and Richmond (2003-05). The Spiders won at least 20 games all three seasons and earned postseason berths in the 2003 and 2004 WNIT and 2005 NCAA tourneys.
Gottlieb played basketball at Brown, serving in the unique role of player and student assistant coach in her 1999 senior season.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown in 1999 and has a master’s degree in philosophy of education from Syracuse.
She prepped at Scarsdale (N.Y.) High. She was sidelined her senior year with a knee injury, which led her to consider a coaching career.
She and her husband, Patrick, have a son, Jordan.
Teresa Gould, Deputy Commissioner, Pac-12 Conference
Teresa Gould is currently the WeCOACH Board President
Teresa Gould, named Pac-12 Conference Deputy Commissioner in November 2021, joined the conference office staff in August 2018 where she manages sports administration and championships for women’s basketball and all Olympic sports, oversees governance and compliance, and serves as the conference’s senior woman administrator.
Gould brings a breadth of leadership experience and track record of success in major collegiate athletics to the role, having worked both at the university and conference levels, within and outside of athletics, and in broadcast and revenue generating roles. At the University of California, Davis she served as Interim Athletic Director from 2015-16 after having held the role of associate executive director and chief revenue officer of the alumni association, finishing her tenure at UC Davis in 2017 as director of the preferred partnership program.
From 2001-14, Gould worked in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley where among a number of positions she served as deputy director of athletics, external relations and chief of staff to the athletic director. In these roles, her responsibilities included development of the athletic department’s strategic plan and administration of all sports, in addition to serving as member of the Pac-12 Council. Previously, Gould spent eight years at the West Coast Conference where she served as associate commissioner, as well as three years at ESPN in the role of conference coordination and rights acquisition.
Christy Johnson Lynch, Head Coach, Volleyball, Iowa State University
Christy Johnson-Lynch enters her 18th year as head volleyball coach at Iowa State in 2022 having rewritten the history of the Cyclone volleyball program. The program she inherited on Dec. 17, 2004 is unrecognizable compared to today’s situation.
There are many ways to define Johnson-Lynch’s tenure at Iowa State. There is the winning. She enters her 17th season at Iowa State with a 330-179 record in her career. The Cyclones have made it to the NCAA Championships in 14 of her 17 seasons at the helm. She has guided the Cyclones to the NCAA Regional Semifinals three times and to the Regional Final on two occasions in 2008 and 2011.
Johnson-Lynch’s 182-112 record against Big 12 opponents is incredible in many contexts. In ISU’s nine Big 12 seasons before her arrival, ISU had only picked up 13 conference wins compared to 167 losses. The Cyclones had anchored the Big 12 standings in seven of those nine campaigns. In 2009, alone, Iowa State won a program-record 17 Big 12 matches en route to a school record 27 victories on the season. In ’09, Johnson-Lynch was named Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Iowa State has won 20 matches in a season eight times under Johnson-Lynch, a feat only accomplished three times in the 15 years before Johnson-Lynch joined the Cyclones. To go with the 2009 Cyclones’ 27 wins, the 2011 Cyclones earned 25 wins and the school’s highest NCAA Championship seeding ever at No. 4.
The Iowa State program has produced a line of talented players in Johnson-Lynch’s tenure. The Cyclones have had 13 student-athletes earn AVCA All-America honors under Johnson-Lynch. The Iowa State program had never had an All-American prior to Johnson-Lynch’s arrival.
2015 saw Caitlin Nolan become a two-time All-American, as she added to her 2014 Third Team honor with Second Team All-America recognition, as the libero also earned All-Region honors and All-Big 12 First Team recognition to go with winning Big 12 Libero of the Year again. Nolan wrapped up 2015 with three Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week awards and 5.78 digs per set, the most in program and Big 12 history.
Prior to Nolan, Kristen Hahn was the latest of an outstanding line of liberos to come through “Libero U”. A three-time All-American, All-Region and Big 12 Libero of the Year to go with two unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selections and a Big 12-record 17 Defensive Player of the Week awards, Hahn’s work in the ISU program helped her become the first Cyclone to represent USA Volleyball’s Senior National team in May 2014.
Prior to Hahn, Ashley Mass was highly accomplished as a three-time All-American, All-Region and Big 12 Libero of the Year winner and a two-time All-Big 12 selection. In 2009, Mass became the first libero and first Cyclone ever named an AVCA First Team All-American. Iowa State has won the previous eight Big 12 Libero of the Year honors.
Mass is one of three Cyclones to earn First Team All-America honors under Johnson-Lynch. Victoria Henson redshirted her first season at Iowa State, but eventually became one of the most feared outside hitters in the country in spite of being under six-feet tall and being a First Team honoree in 2010. In 2011, setter Alison Landwehr earned First Team honors through the guidance of Johnson-Lynch, a two-time All-American and a national champion setter in her playing days.
Iowa State players have received all-conference recognition from the Big 12 on 48 occasions, including winning the league’s top libero award 10 of the past 13 seasons and the best defensive player honor in 2006. Mass was the Big 12’s best libero from 2008-10, Kristen Hahn earned the award from 2011-13 and Caitlin Nolan picked up the award in 2014 and 2015. After a one-year hiatus, Hali Hillegas became the next Cyclone Big 12 Libero of the Year under Johnson-Lynch in 2017 and Marija Popovic earned the honor in 2021. Erin Boeve was the league’s top defender in 2006.
In 2012, Iowa State garnered its first Big 12 Freshman of the Year honor with right side Mackenzie Bigbee, who also earned distinction as the first Cyclone to be named AVCA Region Freshman of the Year. 2015 saw freshman Jess Schaben, who played her club volleyball for the same club Johnson-Lynch did (River City Juniors), earn both Big 12 Freshman of the Year and AVCA Midwest Region Freshman of the Year honors.
Schaben finished her career as one of the top Cyclones to play volleyball for Iowa State, becoming the first player in Iowa State history to record at least 300 kills in four seasons at ISU. Despite not making it to the NCAA Tournament, Schaben led Iowa State to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) title, earning tournament MVP honors with 99 kills across the five matches. She finished her career as a three-time AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, three-time AVCA All-Midwest Region and three-time All-Big 12 First Team.
With the success has come the Cyclone Nation. Hilton Coliseum is no longer just the home of elite basketball and wrestling programs, as the ISU volleyball program boasts one of the top game-day environments in the country thanks to Johnson-Lynch and ISU’s success.
In 2013, Iowa State averaged its second-highest season attendance in school history, with 2,700 fans per match entering Hilton Coliseum, second-most in the Big 12 and 12th in the NCAA.
In 2009, ISU saw one of the most memorable events in the school’s athletics history take place when a state of Iowa record 10,203 fans poured into Hilton Coliseum to see the eighth-ranked Cyclones face 10th-ranked Nebraska. It marked the fifth-largest crowd in the country in 2009.
Iowa State’s successes have not been limited to the court, as Johnson-Lynch’s Cyclones have also been stars in the classroom. The Cyclones have put 81 student-athletes on Academic All-Big 12 teams including a program-record 12 honorees in 2020 when 11 players made the First Team. Iowa State was the first Big 12 program to ever put at least 10 student-athletes on an Academic All-Big 12 volleyball team in a single season.
Johnson-Lynch has also earned the respect of her peers. Johnson-Lynch concluded a two-year stint as President of the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2016-17. She served on the AVCA Board of Directors in 2018 in the role of “Past President”.
Before Iowa State
When Johnson-Lynch was tabbed to become Iowa State’s 10th head volleyball coach on Dec. 17, 2004, the Cyclones landed one of the nation’s brightest assistant coaches. Endowed with an enthusiastic approach, a determination to build a strong winning program and one of the most impressive résumés of any assistant coach in the country, Johnson-Lynch took over in Ames after an illustrious playing and coaching career at Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Johnson-Lynch’s playing and coaching career has brought her in touch with some of the game’s greatest coaches, including Terry Pettit, her coach while playing at Nebraska, current Nebraska head coach John Cook and Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite. She also has international coaching and playing experience.
Johnson-Lynch coached in the 2000 NCAA Division I Championship match and has been on the sideline in five regional finals (two at ISU; three at Wisconsin).
Johnson-Lynch’s experience in the NCAA Tournament goes back to her collegiate playing career at Nebraska. She earned All-America honors for the Huskers in 1994 and 1995. Johnson-Lynch was the starting setter on the 1995 Nebraska team that won the school’s first NCAA championship. The Huskers made four NCAA tournament appearances and won three Big Eight titles during Johnson-Lynch’s collegiate career.
In her junior and senior campaigns in Lincoln, Johnson-Lynch led Nebraska to a 63-2 mark, the second-best winning percentage of any setter in Nebraska history. The Huskers were a perfect 24-0 in Big Eight play during that span and captured two Big Eight crowns.
Johnson-Lynch was also named to the 1995 NCAA Championship all-tournament team, the 1994 and 1995 NCAA Regional all-tournament team and the 1994 and 1995 Big Eight Conference all-tournament teams. In addition to her athletic honors, Johnson-Lynch was a 1995 second-team academic All-American and a three-time All-Big Eight academic honoree.
Johnson-Lynch has international experience as a member of the 1989 U.S. Junior National team and as a member of the 1993 U.S. National “B” Team. She played with the Nebraska Tornadoes of the National Volleyball Association for two seasons, leading the Tornadoes to the league championship in 1998.
A 1996 graduate of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in education, Johnson-Lynch spent one year coaching at Millard North High School in her hometown of Omaha, Neb. She also served as a coach in the River City Juniors Volleyball Club program for two years.
Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota and the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. Through her multidisciplinary research she answers critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of sport stakeholders—particularly girls and women. As a leading scholar on gender, leadership and women coaches, Dr. LaVoi has published 100+ book chapters, research reports and peer-reviewed articles across multiple disciplines. Her seminal research includes the annual Women in College Coaching Report Card™ which is aimed at retaining and increasing the number of women in the coaching profession and holding decision makers accountable, a groundbreaking book Women in Sports Coaching (2016), and a documentary GAME ON: Women Can Coach (2018). GAME ON is the third Emmy-nominated collaborative film project with tptMN; the first was Concussion & Female Athletes (2011) and the second, Media Coverage & Female Athletes: Women Play Sports, Just Not in the Media (2013) won a regional Emmy for best sports documentary. As a public scholar she hosts a podcast, consults with a variety of stakeholder groups, speaks frequently around the world, fields media requests, provides thought leadership, and serves on numerous mission-driven, national advisory boards related to girls and women in sport. LaVoi played collegiate tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College earning two-time Academic All-American status and an NCAA-III National Team Championship, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees. Prior to her career in the academy, she was a USPTA Teaching Pro, an assistant coach at Carleton College, and the head tennis coach at Wellesley College. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, biking, hiking, golf, and soaking up the sun.
Liz Masen, CEO and Client Director, Athlete Assessments
On the surface, Liz Masen has an unlikely background for a career in sport. As a self-confessed ambitious workaholic, Liz graduated with an Honors Degree in Accounting and Finance, while working full-time, and was awarded the prestigious University Medal for receiving the highest academic marks at QUT. Her professional career started in investment banking, working in Australia, Asia, and South Africa as a specialist in the Mining and Resources sector.
From investment banking, she became the youngest ever General Manager of Finance for the global gas and engineering company, BOC Gases, and it was within these predominantly male environments that one of Liz’s true passions emerged. Liz co-founded Xplore, a leadership development company for women, which grew into the leading provider of its kind within Australia. After selling out her ownership in Xplore in 2006, Liz co-founded Athlete Assessments with Bo Hanson.
Now, Liz holds joint roles as CEO and Client Director at Athlete Assessments, and looks after their key clients and consultant relationships, as well as manages marketing and new business development. Her slogan is ‘when our clients are successful, we are successful too’. Liz continues her long-term involvement with WeCOACH and has been a faculty member of the NCAA Women Coaches Academies for over a decade. These opportunities bring together Liz’s two passions of sport and the leadership development of women.
Sport is a massive part of Liz’s life, both professionally and personally. In more recent years, most of her personal time in sport revolves around her two daughters’ basketball training and sitting courtside or on the score bench at their games. Back ‘in the day’, as a 100m age champion hurdler and sprinter, Liz’s High School Track & Field team ended a 60-year drought by winning the most prestigious Girls’ High School Championship in their State. Liz also has a black belt in Taekwondo, has previously coached Surf Sports at her local surf club, has been a volunteer youth coach in basketball, ran her first marathon in 2000 and her second (and last!) in the 2014 New York Marathon. Her proudest sporting moments have not been her own, instead she counts cheering on her husband to win medals at three of his four Olympics, and watching her daughters benefit from all that sport provides in their personal development, as the most special times.
Keri Sanchez, Head Coach, Soccer, Colorado College
Keri Sanchez is 2008 WCA Class #13 and 2019 Academy 2.0 Class 3 graduate.
Colorado College Vice President and Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine has named Keri Sanchez the eighth head coach in the history of the school’s Division I women’s soccer program.
Sanchez, who won four NCAA National Championships as a player at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and has 13 caps with the United States Women’s National Team, brings 25 years of coaching experience that spans Division I and Division III.
During her standout professional career, Sanchez played at the highest level. She notched 13 caps with the United States Women’s National Team and played in the first-ever World Cup qualifying tournament in 1991. Additionally, she played for the WPSL’s California Storm and Silicon Valley Red Devils, as well as the WUSA’s Boston Breakers (2001-02) and San Jose Cyberrays (2003), before finishing her pro career with the Los Angeles Sol of the WPS in 2009.
As a four-year letterwinner at UNC from 1991-94, Sanchez was part of four straight NCAA Division I National Championships and four Atlantic Coast Conference title teams that compiled a 97-1-1 combined record under legendary head coach Anson Dorrance. During her time in Chapel Hill, Sanchez totaled 32 career assists while earning a Soccer News All-American nod (1993), a pair of all-ACC selections (1991, ‘94), three NCAA all-Tournament (1991, ‘92, ‘94) choices and three Academic All-American selections. She also registered the match-winning strikes in consecutive national championship games with goals against Duke (1992) and George Mason (1993).
Sanchez, the winningest head coach in the history of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s soccer program with 148 career victories (2004-17), spent the 2021 season as the women’s soccer coach at Illinois Wesleyan University, leading the Titans to a 9-8-1 overall record and a tie for first place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin with a 7-1 league mark.
During her 13-year run as head coach at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Sanchez amassed an overall record of 148-92-30, with a 102-49-15 mark in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play. She guided the Athenas to three SCIAC regular-season titles (2007, ‘09, ‘14), five SCIAC Tournament titles (2006, ‘08, ‘09, ‘13, ‘16) and five NCAA Tournament bids, including a NCAA Sweet 16 berth in 2008, while registering National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) final rankings of No. 23 in 2008 and No. 18 in 2009.
Individually, she coached athletes at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps that secured 58 All-SCIAC, 34 NSCAA All-Region and 38 NSCAA Scholar All-Region accolades.
In addition to her efforts at CMS, Sanchez worked previously as the U.S. Soccer Training Center Coordinator for Southern California-Inland Empire (2013-17), helping to develop technical and tactical female players ages 10-14. She has also spent time as a staff coach for the Team First Soccer Academy (2011-17), working alongside U.S. Soccer legends and former UNC teammates Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini-Hoch.
From 2017-21, Sanchez served as an assistant coach at the University of Texas under her former college teammate Angela Kelly. During her time with the Longhorns, UT amassed a 45-22-12 record and earned a national ranking as high as No. 6 in two of the three Division I polls. She was pivotal in the development of 2018 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Cyera Hintzen.
Sanchez’s collegiate coaching career began at the University of Oregon, where she was an assistant coach from 1996-2003.
In addition to her soccer achievements as a student-athlete at North Carolina, Sanchez was also a part of three ACC Championship track & field teams (one indoor, two outdoor) and earned all-conference accolades in the 400-meter hurdles.
She was inducted into the San Jose Sports Authority Hall of Fame in 2010 and the East Side Union High School District Education Foundation Thomas P. Ryan Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sanchez earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in health and fitness from North Carolina (1995) and a master’s in exercise physiology from Oregon (1999). She also holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “B’ license, a U.S. Soccer A license, and is a graduate of the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy and the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy 2.0.
Nicole Van Dyke, Head Coach, Soccer, University of Washington
Nicole Van Dyke is a 2013 WCA Class #29 graduate
Nicole Van Dyke joined the Huskies for her first season as head coach in 2020. In her 15 years as a head coach at three different schools, Van Dyke has coached 42 all-league selections, as well as nine United Soccer Coaches All-Region honorees.
Van Dyke’s first season at Washington was as memorable as they come, with the Huskies making their sixth Sweet Sixteen appearance and first since 2014. Van Dyke coached a Husky defense that allowed just 12 goals all year, matching the program record set in 2001. The Huskies finished third in the Pac-12 and spent six straight weeks ranking, their longest streak in the rankings since 2004. Four Huskies earned All-Pac-12 honors, including two First Team honors for Summer Yates and Ameera Hussen. Yates also earned All-American honors, the first Husky to earn an All-American award since 2004. Three Huskies earn All-Region honors: only once in program history, 2000, have the Huskies had more All-Region awards.
Six different Huskies set new career highs in scoring as well. Washington recorded ten total shutouts, its fourth season with double-digit shutouts and just one away from the program record. Washington had a five-game shutout streak that stretched into the NCAA Tournament, Washington’s second-longest shutout streak ever and the longest since 1991. The Huskies would only trail in five of 18 games and allowed multiple goals only once, to USC. At the end of the season, the Huskies were ranked 15th in the United Soccer Coaches poll, their highest end-of-year ranking in over a decade and their third-highest ever.
Van Dyke spent five seasons at Penn, going 41-24-15 and winning the Ivy League for the fourth time in school history. The Quakers outscored their opposition by 57 goals and finished in the nation’s top 20 in goals against average three times. That included leading the nation in GAA and save percentage in 2018, when Penn recorded 12 shutouts and allowed only five goals all season, a school record. Van Dyke coached the Ivy League’s Defender of the Year that season, as well as three All-Ivy League First Team selections and the only Scholar All-American in the league.
Before leading Penn, Van Dyke spent four seasons at Stanford, three as an assistant coach and one as the associate head coach. During that time, Stanford made three College Cup appearances and won the 2011 national championship. Van Dyke helped Stanford earn eight All-American awards, 26 All-Pac-12 selections, and 42 Pac-12 All-Academic honorees.
Van Dyke coached her alma mater of Cal State Bakersfield for five years, leading the program during its transition from Division II to Division I. Twice in her five seasons there the women’s soccer team earned the Kegley-McCall award for the highest team GPA at the university. The team earned the All-Academic Team Award twice as well.
Van Dyke’s head coaching career began at Cal State Stanislaus, which she took over as a 23-year-old and led for three seasons. Stanislaus went 35-19-7 under Van Dyke, advancing to the CCAA championship game in 2005. Van Dyke earned CCAA Coach of the Year honors that year. In her three seasons, Stanislaus recorded double-digit wins every year and outscored the opposition 102-67 overall.
A native of Palm Desert, California. Van Dyke played college soccer at Cal State Bakersfield, where she also earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees. She holds the career record for points (88), is second all-time in goals (36), and fifth all-time in assists (16) for that program. Van Dyke has played professionally in Sweden for Mallbacken IF and played for the California Gold in the WPSL. She is married to Jason Werner, with whom she has two sons, Rory and Riley.
Vaness Fuchs, CEO, WeCOACH
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.
Jan Whitbeck, Sr. Director of Events & Branding, WeCOACH
With 20+ years of event management, media, marketing, and collegiate athletics experience, Jan became the director of events for WeCOACH in June 2019 and was promoted to Senior Director of Events & Branding in January 2021.
Before WeCOACH, Jan served as the Director of Events for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. Annually, she executed their signature events, including the Annual Celebration, Distinguished Teaching Awards, Alumni Awards, Ski-U-Mania and alumni events for athletics post-season games.
Prior to the University of Minnesota, Jan was the Marketing and Campus Relations Coordinator for the University of Wyoming Residence Life and Dining Services. She also spent ten years working for iHeart Media in Denver as a Promotions & Marketing Director and as an Account Executive for both AM and FM stations. While there, she managed key national accounts, including Coors, Hershey, and Dos Equis, as well as co-produced the Gears, Games & Gadgets Expo and coordinated station events for the Susan G. Komen Denver Race for the Cure, and the CU/CSU Rocky Mountain Showdown football games.
As a former women’s basketball student-athlete at Glendale Community College (AZ) and Western State Colorado University, Jan was an all-RMAC honorable mention performer and was the recipient of the WSCU Paul W. Wright Female Athlete of the Year award. She also served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Western State Colorado University and Regis University.
Jan holds a master’s degree in sport administration from the University of Northern Colorado, and in her spare time loves traveling, boating, hiking, attending Minnesota Lynx games and Golden Gopher sporting events. She resides in Minneapolis with her wife Julie and two Beagles, Dylan & Josie.