Former Geneva student-athletes enter the coaching ranks
It is said the next best thing to playing a sport is coaching. With the competitive juices still flowing after their playing days are over, many former Geneva student-athletes have turned to the high school and college coaching ranks to satisfy their competitive spirit.
Head coach Geno DeMarco has held the reigns of the Geneva football team for the past 16 years. During his tenure, over 50 former players have gone on to become coaches throughout western Pennsylvania and beyond. “We are very intentional about developing young men for life after their playing days,” says DeMarco. “Our student-athletes are well armed with the coaching knowledge and experience that enables them to be successful in a coaching environment. We develop solid individuals both on and off the field which fits perfectly with what makes a successful coach.”
Coaching after college is certainly not exclusive to football. Part of the stated mission of Geneva College is “to develop student-leaders, transforming society for the Kingdom of Christ.” Geneva’s coaches are doing just that by preparing men and women to take on the challenge of leading young people in their respective sports.
Associate Director of Athletics Alan Sumner has led the baseball team for 20 years and has seen his share of former student-athletes head into coaching. “I think it is a natural transition for former players,” he says. “Most of these folks have such a love for the game that they simply want to remain active, and coaching is a perfect way for them to pass along their knowledge and spirit to the next generation.”
Geneva’s third all-time leading scorer Allison Clarke recently completed her eligibility in women’s basketball and will serve as a student assistant for the upcoming season. In softball, former Geneva standout Holly Hutchison is beginning her second season on the softball coaching staff. Hutchison’s standout season of 2003 saw Geneva’s softball team finish with a record of 42-12, and a total of eight players from that team alone have since begun coaching.
While Geneva’s coaches daily prepare their teams to become the best they can be on the field, they are also developing leaders of tomorrow. “We have a responsibility to help our student-athletes get a true understanding of servant leadership,” says Athletic Director Dr. Kim Gall. “We have an incredible number of former student-athletes in the coaching ranks, which is a great tribute to the job that is being done and has been done by coaches in our department. We are confidently sending former Geneva student-athletes into the coaching profession in this region and across the country.”
Perhaps the greatest example of Geneva College impacting student-athletes remains the fact that five current head coaches in Geneva’s athletic department are proud Geneva graduates. Geno DeMarco '84, Alan Sumner '85, Mandee Craft '01, Van Zanic '93, Linda Sumner '91 and Amy Russin '99 each graduated from Geneva before beginning their collegiate coaching careers.
- Van Zanic ’93