The changes started in early June, when longtime men’s lacrosse coach Bill Tierney announced that he was leaving Princeton for a job at the University of Denver. Ten days later Kathy Sell, coach of the Ivy League co-champion women’s tennis team, decided to move to North Carolina to be closer to her boyfriend and her family.
The athletics department already was working to fill openings left by women’s and men’s volleyball coach Glenn Nelson, who retired in the spring. In July, another legendary coach, Curtis Jordan of the men’s heavyweight crew, announced his retirement. The departures set up the most active hiring season in recent memory. Here are the new coaches, in order of arrival:
Chris Bates, men’s lacrosse
Bates was introduced June 29, ending the most closely watched Princeton summer coaching search. David Metzbower, Tierney’s longtime assistant and heir apparent, turned down the job, opening the door for Bates, a Dartmouth alumnus who led Drexel to two Colonial Athletic Association titles in the last three seasons.
As a player, Bates witnessed the early years of Princeton lacrosse’s rise to national prominence, and as a coach, he considered Tierney a friend and role model. While following the hall-of-fame coach is no easy task, Bates told Inside Lacrosse that Princeton is “a wonderful university with incredible tradition. Who wouldn’t want to be here?”
Jolie Ward, women’s volleyball
Ward comes to Princeton from Manhattan College, where her team faced the Tigers last season. The Jaspers lost the match 3-2, and Ward was impressed by Princeton’s quick decision-making. “The confidence they came on the court with was the difference,” she said.
In one season at Manhattan, Ward’s team improved to 11–17 after posting a 6-24 mark the year before she arrived. She also spent five years at Eastern Connecticut State, where her teams earned three trips to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Megan Bradley, women’s tennis
Bradley excelled as a collegiate player at UCLA and Miami and played in the U.S. Open as a professional. She pursued a career in sports media after college before returning to Miami as a volunteer assistant coach, helping the Hurricanes reach the NCAA quarterfinals last year.
Bradley inherits a program that has posted five consecutive winning seasons. Last year, the Tigers won their final five Ivy matches to clinch an NCAA tournament bid.
Greg Hughes ’96, men’s heavyweight crew
Hughes, a fixture at the Princeton boathouse since his undergraduate days, began his coaching career as an assistant for the men’s heavyweights. Now, after four successful years as head coach of the men’s lightweights, he has returned to the heavyweight side, succeeding Jordan, a coaching mentor.
The 2009 season was Hughes’ finest: His lightweights posted an undefeated season, winning the Eastern Sprints, the IRA national championship, and the Henley Royal Regatta.
Sam Shweisky, men’s volleyball
Shweisky, whose team won an NCAA Division III national title in his senior season at Vassar, said he was “looking forward to returning to the fraternity of men’s volleyball on the East Coast.” He also will serve as Ward’s assistant for the women’s volleyball team.
Shweisky has worked as an assistant with the women’s programs at Central Florida, UNLV, and Miami University in Ohio. As a coach, he reached the NCAA tournament with UNLV’s 2007 squad.
Marty Crotty ’98, men’s lightweight crew
Crotty, like Hughes, will switch teams within the rowing family. He began coaching at Princeton as an assistant to Jordan and helped the heavyweights reach the IRA grand final in three consecutive seasons, from 2006 to 2008. He also coached the heavyweight novice eight to a second-place finish at the 2008 Eastern Sprints.