While most of Northeast Ohio was spending the 2002 and 2003 wringing its collective hands over the slow and painful end to Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Rollie Massimino’s tenure, there was just as much tension down the Wolstein Center hallway. Women’s basketball coach Duffy Burns was embroiled in a losing season, as well as a war of words with former players that caught the attention of both the Cauldron student newspaper and Scene Magazine.
By the end of the season, both Massimino and Burns were out, leaving athletic director Lee Reed to figure out who was going to take over those programs. And in both instances, he opted for two Big Ten assistants: Mike Garland from Michigan State on the men’s side and Wisconsin’s Kate Peterson Abiad on the women’s side.
And while the men languished during the 2003-04 campaign (and for the entire Garland era, for that matter), Peterson Abiad took Burns’ former players and made it to the Horizon League championship game.
Since then, after a bumpy couple of years, Peterson Abiad led the women to two NCAA Tournament bids in 2008 and 2010, a WNIT appearance this past season and a Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) nod in 2011.
Also, during her time at the helm, Peterson Abiad became the all-time winningest coach in Cleveland State history, eclipsing Alice Khol’s mark of 115 near the end of the 2011-12 season.
With a year left of her current contract, CSU decided that it would be a good idea to keep the winningest women’s basketball coach in school history around, and last week, they did just that. Peterson Abiad will stay on the Viking sidelines until at least the end of the 2020-21 season.
The vote of confidence will bolster the women this upcoming season, who will be looking to find a new set of top scorers with the graduation of Imani Gordon, Kiersten Green and Cori Coleman, who recently signed a deal to play professionally in Finland. Cleveland State will also have new faces on the sidelines, including former Butler coach and new assistant Beth Couture, who replaced long-time associate head coach Bernard Scott after he took the head coaching position at Detroit.
Corba, Balcar Take the National and International Stage
CSU found itself briefly represented on both the national and international stage this past week, and no, I’m not talking about the former Viking women’s tennis player who found herself on Busted Coverage. Wrestler Nick Corba taking part in the World Junior Championships in Bahia, Brazil and former golfer Michael Balcar making his second appearance at the U.S. Amateur Championships.
For Corba, wrestling in the 84kg Greco-Roman weight class for the U.S. team, his tournament ended rather abruptly in the qualification rounds. The junior from Beavercreek was on the wrong end of a 9-0 technical fall at the hands of Anton Sakhno of Belarus.
Balcar, who looked to improve upon his showing from last year and qualify for match play, came up short. He shot six over par over the 36-hole stroke play round, shooting a 72 on the first round and a 74 in the second round, missing the cut for the round of 64.
Next up for Corba, of course, will be joining his Cleveland State wrestling teammates for the upcoming season, which, according to the schedule that will be released last week, will include a home match against defending national champions Ohio State.
Also, the wrestlers are putting on party on Saturday, August 29th at the Nautica Café to celebrate the decision by CSU to continue funding the program. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by contacting wrestling coach Ben Stehura by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dylan Sheridan’s Twitter Game is Strong
As a permanent resident of Twitter, I have always lamented that many of the Cleveland State coaches (and President Ronald Berkman, for that matter) aren’t terribly popular on the social media site. In fact, with the exception of the main Athletics account, no Viking coach or sport Twitter account has more than 1,500 followers, though wrestling is inching closer to that mark.
Of course, that was before the arrival of lacrosse coach Dylan Sheridan.
Sheridan, with nearly 1,700 followers to his credit, has been tearing it up on Twitter since being announced as the program’s inaugural coach, continuing to endear himself to the lacrosse community and, for those who have been paying attention, Northeast Ohio.
In reality, sometimes keeping with what Sheridan is tweeting is kind of hard to do, especially when he’s talking about recruits. Basically, you’ll spend half the time Googling area codes that you don’t know.
But there’s a certain appeal to that Easter egg hunt. It also helps that many of his recruits have announced their commitments on Twitter, including Allatoona, Georgia’s Danny Tesler, Las Vegas-area recruit Nick Wendel, Ty Collins of Wheaton Academy in Chicagoland and Jack Feeney from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, which is outside of Philadelphia.
Sure, there have been plenty of others who have committed to the new program, but like I said, it’s been pretty hard to keep up. That said, Sheridan hasn’t wasted any time selling prospects on Cleveland State, and hasn’t been afraid to get online and tell us about it. And by no means is this a bad thing.