Head coaches enter first year

The start of a new school year brings in the new faces of the freshmen class and transfer students. However, there are some new faces in the athletic department as well, as the women’s basketball and women’s lacrosse team both hired new head coaches: Liz Hudy for women’s basketball and Nicole DeSalvia for women’s lacrosse. 

Liz Hudy was announced as the new head coach of the women’s basketball team  shortly after the school year had ended on May 15, 2019. Coach Hudy explained that she chose Virginia Wesleyan because she is a big believer in Division III sports, and she is also a big family person and the move back to Virginia Beach put her with her family. She also noted that competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the spacious campus and the tight-knit community are some of her favorite aspects of the school.

“I like that I can walk down the stairs and see all the students hanging out in the student center,” Hudy said.

 The Virginia Beach native has most recently coached at Averett University, where she boasted a 68-39 record in her last four years as head coach. She led her team to a program record in wins each of those years. Prior to her time at Averett, Hudy was the assistant coach at Rochester University, where she helped lead her team to the NCAA tournament three times and the Final Four once. She also has produced an array of student-athletes that have received high-tier achievements, including 12 USA-South all conference selections, Division III basketball Academic All-American of the Year, and more. 

Before her coaching career began, Hudy attended the University of Mary Washington where she racked up an impressive 111 wins and just 15 losses in her four-year career. Within those four years, she helped her team reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen three times and the Final Four once. Hudy was the CAC player of the year for both her junior and senior seasons, a first team All-American her senior season, plus many more accolades to go along with her career. Hudy was a dominant player in the post and finished her career as the Division III all-time leader in blocks with 510 in her four years.

 Junior forward Sierra Coleman, explained how Hudy is laid back, goal-oriented and family-oriented. She said, “When I first met Coach Hudy the first thing she asked about wasn’t about basketball, but about my family and I thought that was really cool.” 

Hudy’s main goal this season is to be competitive in the ODAC and put themselves in a good position seeding wise for the ODAC tournament and hopefully advance to the NCAA tournament. Hudy will be taking over a Marlins team who hopes to improve on a 14-12 (11-7) season.

Later on in the summer, the Marlins hired Nicole DeSalvia to take over the role as head coach of the women’s lacrosse team. The biggest things that drove DeSalvia to VWU was the location and the competitive nature of the ODAC conference. “Being in the ODAC gives us an opportunity to grow and a chance to be seen on a bigger scale,” DeSalvia said. 

DeSalvia was hired a little late, but since she’s been here she said her favorite things about the campus is the space and the willingness of everyone to get to know her because she is new. Before joining Virginia Wesleyan, DeSalvia was the head coach for two years at William Peace University, where in the program’s inaugural year they went 10-5. Before her stint at William Peace, she served as an assistant coach at Methodist. 

Prior to her coaching career, DeSalvia attended SUNY Cortland, where she earned her Master’s in Physical Education. The Syracuse, NY native said her biggest goals and expectations are to become more competitive in the ODAC in order to make it further in the tournament. Junior goalie Jordan Moilanen said, “Coach DeSalvia is really trying to change the culture here and it is exciting.” DeSalvia will be taking over a team that hopes to improve on an 8-9 (4-5) season.

Miles Christian