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Namedroppers: Fall-Winter 2018

It’s easy to come up with a list of the best coaches in IUP athletics history. But for any such list to have merit, Fred Joseph had better be near the top.

Fred Joseph with Jeremy Eckenrode and Nate Guerrini

Recently retired IUP men’s golf coach Fred Joseph, with Jeremy Eckenrode, left, and Nate Guerrini in 2017

In a career spanning more than a quarter-century, Joseph guided the men’s golf team to impressive heights: 84 tournament victories, 22 consecutive appearances in the regional tournament, 13 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships, 12 PSAC Coach of the Year awards, five regional championships.

And those are just a few of his many accomplishments while steering the IUP golf program to the national stage. The program’s volunteer coach for 26 seasons, Joseph announced in August his decision to step away from full-time coaching. 

“Some demands of the program at my age are getting harder,” Joseph said at the time of the announcement, “but there are parts that will always be exciting for me—recruiting, fundraising, coaching, being around great men.”

He stayed with the team through the conclusion of the fall season, when IUP finished second at the PSAC Championships in Hershey. 

But Joseph, who retired from the university in 2001 after 29 years as director of Financial Aid, said he won’t stray far from the program. He plans to help the team and the new head coach with recruiting, fundraising, or anything else that’s needed.

“I enjoy being around young men who are terrific golfers and great students,” he said. “It has helped me stay young over the years, and I would like to be a part of that.”

He described his 25 years of coaching as a “good run.” “I can’t believe it’s been that long,” he said. “I’ve never lost my enthusiasm or excitement about being a coach at IUP. It’s been an honor.”

Texas Bound

Steve Roach ’01, who had been IUP’s director of athletics the past three years, has joined Texas A&M University-Kingsville as executive director of athletics and recreation. He began his new post October 1.

Texas A&M-Kingsville is a fellow NCAA Division II school about 40 minutes southwest of Corpus Christi. It competes in the Lone Star Conference.

Samantha Goettman Traver ’10, M’12, who had been assistant director of athletics and senior women’s athletics administrator, has been named interim director of athletics. 

Hall of Fame

New members of the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame

New members of the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame. Front row, from left: John Wingfield, Joe Bellissimo, Mary Lou Kraynak, Frances Nee, Bill Kane, Owen Dougherty Jr., and Sean Strauman. Back row: Scott Arthur, Beth Ann McDonald-Stevens, Carmelo Ocasio, Brian Eyerman, Joey Flora, Erin Falce Shubik, Samantha Traver, IUP’s interim athletics director, and Michael Driscoll, IUP president. Suzanne Cornelissen is missing from the photo.

The IUP Athletic Hall of Fame gained 12 new members at its induction ceremony at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex in September.

The inductees are Joe Bellissimo ’65, M’70 (football and baseball); Scott Arthur ’79 (men’s golf); John Wingfield ’85, M’88 (swimming and diving); Owen Dougherty Jr. ’88 (men’s soccer); Beth Ann McDonald-Stevens ’01 (women’s basketball); Brian Eyerman ’03, Joey Flora ’03, and Carmelo Ocasio ’03 (football); Suzanne Cornelissen ’05 (field hockey); Erin Falce Shubik ’07 (women’s soccer); Sean Strauman ’08, M’09 (cross country/track and field); and Frances Nee (former athletics administrator and swimming and diving coach). A 2017 inductee who was unable to attend last year’s event, swimmer Bill Kane ’80 also was officially welcomed into the hall.

Mary Lou Kraynak, a longtime IUP Athletics Department administrative assistant, received the Bell Ringer Award for her contributions to the department.

For up-to-the-minute news on IUP sports, visit www.iupathletics.com. There you’ll find all the latest news Namedroppers can’t bring you because of deadline constraints.

Coaching Moves

In July, Brenna Gallagher ’16 returned to IUP after being hired as women’s lacrosse coach. She spent the past two years as head coach at Misericordia University, an NCAA Division III school in Dallas, Pennsylvania. A native of Evans City, Gallagher graduated as IUP’s all-time leader in ground balls and games played.

In August, Shawna Bellaud was elevated to head coach of the IUP softball team after serving as an assistant for the past four years. She came to IUP in 2014 from Coastal Carolina University, where she was director of video operations.

Geoff Evans ’01 was recently named an assistant men’s basketball coach at Penn State Shenango. A former IUP player, Evans had been the assistant varsity coach for Hermitage High School in Mercer County; before that, he was the assistant coach for Kennedy Catholic and Sharon high schools between 2009 and 2013.

Varsity boys’ track and field coach at Penns Manor High School near Clymer, Tom Huber ’67, M’77 was recently named head coach of the school’s newly formed junior high cross country program. He has previous experience as the Comets’ assistant varsity cross country coach.

Former men’s basketball assistant coach Joey Cantens has returned to Florida Gulf Coast University as a full-time assistant. Cantens worked on Joe Lombardi’s staff at IUP in 2015-16 before leaving to coach in the professional ranks in Germany. He started his coaching career at Florida Gulf Coast as video coordinator from 2011 to 2014.

A decade after serving as an assistant football coach at IUP, Nick Sirianni is the offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. He left IUP in 2009 to join the Kansas City Chiefs as an assistant for four years and then worked for the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers for five seasons. He was hired by the Colts in February 2018.

Names to Know

Max Redfield, who was named IUP’s male Athlete of the Year at the end of the 2017-18 school year, has signed a contract with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football, a new professional league that will begin play in the spring. Redfield earned first-team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association after last season. Athlete of the Year on the women’s side, Natalie Cignetti ’18 was named the Division II Conference Commissioners Association Atlantic Region Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. It was another in a slew of awards she has won for her combined academic and athletic excellence. She was also the PSAC’s nominee for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Majoring in natural science, Cignetti graduated summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She is currently enrolled at Wake Forest Medical School. Cignetti’s grandfather, former IUP head football coach Frank Cignetti ’60, M’65, is featured in a chapter of a new book, First and Forever: Making the Case for the Future of Football, by Bob Casciola. 

The late Wat Farrar ’53, who coached high school football in Ohio, was recently inducted into the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Farrar led teams at Logan, Piqua, and Milton-Union high schools. At Milton-Union, he compiled a 119-68-3 record in 19 seasons on the sideline. He died in 1990.