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New Coaches Lead the Charge

Tim Bald is in his 16th year as St. Norbert College athletics director, but he’s never seen anything like this. Seven new head coaches in one year, plus a new strength and performance coach to boot. “We’re on a path I’ve never had,” Bald says. “I don’t think I’ve had more than three (hires) in any one year.”

The retirement of women’s basketball coach Connie Tilley, who served SNC for 42 seasons, created a key vacancy. Other openings came from career transitions, time crunches for part-time coaches who had other obligations, and those do-I-still-want-to-do-this decisions that come with many jobs. Luckily, with a highly regarded athletics program like St. Norbert’s, it’s not hard to recruit the best.

All of the new SNC hires will lead women’s sports; one will coach men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

The new coaches:

Hannah Saiz, men’s and women’s swimming and diving: Saiz comes to SNC from Kenyon College where she was an assistant coach for three seasons at her own alma mater. Saiz was the 2013 NCAA Division III national champion in the 200-yard butterfly. She also competed in the 2016 Olympic trials and won the United States Open championship in the 200 butterfly. During her time on the 2016-17 U.S. National Team, Saiz was ranked in the top 50 in the world.

Tim Dean, women’s tennis: A former head women’s and men’s tennis coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (2016-18), Dean is a tennis professional at two Green Bay clubs. At UWGB, Dean’s men’s team earned a Horizon League second-place finish in 2017 and advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 Horizon League Tournament. Dean himself played at the College of St. Scholastica, winning four Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championships and earning All-UMAC honors in 2009 and 2010.

“St. Norbert is a beautiful place with a great reputation in our community,” Dean says. “I believe with our full effort, a positive attitude, and having good sportsmanship we can only add to that reputation.”

Amanda Leonhard-Perry, women’s basketball: A legacy of success at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay follows Leonhard-Perry to SNC. In 11 seasons as assistant coach for the UWGB women, the Phoenix boasted a 333-62 record, 10 regular-season Horizon League titles, eight Horizon League tournament titles, nine NCAA Tournament appearances and two berths in the WNIT. Leonhard-Perry played four years on UWGB teams that had three NCAA Division I Tournament bids and four regular-season league championships. She led the Phoenix in scoring and was a first-team all-conference choice as a sophomore. Leonhard-Perry was also a two-time academic all-conference selection.

Davin Roach (Strength & Performance): Originally from Colorado, Roach is a graduate of Coe College, where he played football. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach at Montana State University.

Old friends, new roles
Four of the new coaches are, in fact, longtime Green Knights who are taking up new positions.

A.J. Aitken, women’s hockey: He has served two tours as associate head coach for the SNC men’s hockey program, seeing nine NCAA Division III Frozen Four berths and three NCAA Division III national championships. From 2012-15, he was head coach of the men’s hockey program at Marian College.

Natalie Wheeler ’15, dance: She was a member of the Green Knights dance team. She previously served as an assistant to SNC cheer coach Ashley Appleton ’14.

John Sabo ’07, women’s golf (College Advancement): He was an assistant coach for the Green Knights’ men’s golf program for three seasons, helping take the 2017 team to the Midwest Conference title.

Bob Rickards, women’s soccer (College Advancement): He comes to SNC soccer after a long career as boys’ and girls’ soccer coach at Green Bay’s Notre Dame Academy where his teams took three state championships. He was named Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Division 3 Girls’ Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2018.

Oct. 31, 2019