Athletics Administration
Colin Preston

Director of Athletics

As one of the original two employees in the athletics department, Colin stood alongside the program's first Director of Athletics Dr. Jamie Williams, assisting with every one of the Urban Knights' milestones including our NCAA membership process. Prior to joining the Academy of Art University, Preston served as Assistant Athletic Director at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, CA, Assistant Athletic Director with the Royals, and worked at the California Interscholastic Federation. Colin got his undergraduate degree in History with a minor in Sport Management from U.C. Santa Barbara, and his master’s degree from USF in Sports Management.

Email: cpreston@academyart.edu

Meghan Bushnell

Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator

Meghan oversees internal budgetary and operational needs, develops and implements administrative policies, and assists with strategic planning, while serving as a resource and liaison to our artist-athletes. She also advises the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and serves as sports administrator to several athletic departments. In addition to being a two-time captain and a valuable member of the defense at U.C. Berkeley, she was a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference All-Academic Team and a member of the Cal Student Athlete Advisory Council, and started a mentorship program with the Cal Women’s Lacrosse Team and Alliance Academy Middle School in East Oakland, CA.

Phone: 1-415-618-8249

Email: mbushnell@academyart.edu

Kevin Sanchez

Assistant Athletic Director–External Relations

Prior to joining the Academy of Art University, Kevin served as the Director of Events and Operations for the Northeast Conference, a Division I conference in New Jersey, where he coordinated and organized all conference meetings and events. Additionally, he served as a championship administrator for Track & Field and Golf, while assisting with the operation of all other conference championships. A graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and minored in Sports Management, Kevin earned his Master's of Science in Sports Marketing and Management from Indiana University in 2009.

Phone: 1-415-618-8838

Email: ksanchez@academyart.edu

Ashley Adams

Assistant Athletic Director - Compliance

Ashley Adams began her first year as Academy of Art University Assistant Athletic Director; Compliance in September of 2014.

Adams joins Academy of Art after serving as the West Coast Conference's Assistant Director of Compliance and Student-Athlete Services for the 2013-14 season. There she was responsible for facilitating the resolution of all NCAA and WCC interpretation requests, waivers, the National Letter of Intent (NLI) process, and was the primary staff liaison to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Prior to the WCC, Adams spent two seasons working as the Assistant Director of Compliance at Loyola Marymount University from 2011-13.

Adams completed her Juris Doctor at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in 2010 and was the senior legal intern in the Ohio State University athletic department. Adams passed the State Bar of Ohio in 2011. While pursuing her J.D. at Samford, Adams completed a highly decorated volleyball career in 2008-09, capturing Southern Conference Player of the Year honors and AVCA All-Region accolades on three occasions. Adams also served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) while completing her studies.

An outside hitter, Adams finished her senior season with a .349 attack percentage and ranked 21st nationally with 4.21 kills per set on her way to AVCA All-Region recognition for the third time in her career. She previously earned All-Region honors and honorable mention All-America honors twice at Middle Tennessee, where she starred for the Blue Raiders for three years from 2005-07. The Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior, Adams helped Middle Tennessee to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2007.

Email: aadams@academyart.edu

Mark Rivera

Sports Information Director

Mark Rivera begins his first year as Academy of Art University Sports Information Director in 2014.

Prior to joining the Urban Knights, Rivera was a Media Relations Assistant at Alaska Fairbanks for the 2013-14 season. While working for the Nanooks, Rivera served as the primary sports information contact for volleyball, men's and women's basketball, and women's swimming. In addition to extensive written content, he created video highlights, managed live streaming, coordinated coverage with local and regional media, and assisted in efforts surrounding volleyball, hockey, and basketball tournaments UAF hosted.

Prior to Alaska, Rivera could be found working for the Modesto Bee, a daily newspaper serving the California Central Valley, where he contributed to the sport section's layout and design in addition to editing. In 2011-12, Rivera was the main contact for baseball, women's soccer, and women's swimming & diving at NCAA Division I San Jose State. The year prior, he was part of the gameday sports information staff at Harvard whose 42 varsity sports make it the largest athletics department in the country. Rivera covered men's and women's water polo, fencing, and men's tennis for the Crimson.

Rivera attended the University of Washington as a member of the 2011 Cohort for a Masters of Education in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership. Before arriving in Seattle, Rivera spent two years as a student assistant in the sports information department at Cal State Stanislaus, where he earned his BA in Communication Studies. As a Warrior, he was also a four-year varsity athlete in cross country and track & field.

Email: mrivera@academyart.edu

Rob Garcia

Assistant Athletic Director - Media Relations

Rob is responsible for everything involving information, media relations, game oversight, and statistics at Academy of Art. Creating pre and post-game releases and other publications, films and edits video content, and assisting with the production of media guides, Rob also maintains the department's web site www.artuathletics.com. Prior to joining the Academy of Art, Rob was a member of the game-day staff with San Jose State University football. A graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara with an undergraduate degree in Communications and a minor in Sports Management, he also worked as sports director and sports broadcaster for the campus radio station.

Phone: 1-415-618-6495

Email: rgarcia@academyart.edu

Phillip Samuel

Athletics Operations Manager

Alongside head coach Julius Barnes, Phillip helped the Urban Knights produce All-PacWest honoree Ameer Shamsud-din and the PacWest Freshman of the Year Alex Carmon. He previously represented men's basketball, serving as a strong leader and consistent scorer currently ranking third in career points (626), free throws made (170), fourth in steals (66), and was also one of just four Urban Knights to score 30 or more points in a game. Phillip is from Las Cruces, NM and received his Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Communications from Academy of Art University.

Phone: 1-415-618-8285

Email: psamuel@academyart.edu

Darrell Hayden

Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR)

Darrell is a full-time Instructor of Identity Design as well as Presentation Skills at the Academy of Art. In addition, as the school's Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR), he is the liaison between the school and the NCAA, and also helps ensure a balance of life for student athletes on campus.

His previous roles span over 25 years in broad-based branding, including Managing Director, Interbrand; Co-Owner, CF Napa; Vice President, marchFIRST; Worldwide Creative Director, Frankfurt Balkind; Executive Director, Landor Associates; Design Director, 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee; and Designer, Bass/Yager Associates.

A native New Yorker, Darrell grew up in southern California. He studied at Art Center College of Design after earning his Bachelor's degree in English from Brandeis University. In addition to his work at the Academy of Art, he also coaches working creative folks to become more effective presenters through his consultancy “Speaking of Creative.” He has two grown children and has recently decided to learn the mandolin – no easy feat.

Cole Wilson

Student-Athlete Admissions & Academic Liaison

Cole previously served as the program's Athletics Operations Manager when joining the Urban Knights in January 2013, and was the Defensive Coordinator for Dixie State Football for the previous three years. Prior to Dixie, Wilson spent seven years at Southern Utah University, beginning as the Secondary Coach and eventually becoming Defensive Coordinator for the football team. Cole received an Associate’s Degree from Ricks Junior College (now BYU-Idaho) and his Bachelor Degree from the University of Idaho, and played football all four years while attending both schools.

Phone: 1-415-618-6397

Email: cwilson@academyart.edu

Baseball

Men's Coaches

Dan McDermott

Head Coach

Dan McDermott begins his first season as head coach for Academy of Art University Baseball.

Most recently the head coach at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, McDermott has much to contribute to the Urban Knights after serving as a collegiate coach for the past 30 years.

McDermott is coming off a very successful run at Regis as the head coach of the Rangers, finishing a 14-year tenure as the winningest coach in program history (335-298, .529) after 2013. He coached Regis to a NCAA Top 20 ranking in both 2004 and 2006, and sent them to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) playoffs nine separate times, including each of the past seven years. Under McDermott, the 2003 RMAC Coach of the Year, the Rangers enjoyed 11 NCAA All-Americans, 12 Major League Baseball Draft selections and reached NCAA Regionals as recently as 2012. It was more than simply on the field success for McDermott's squad, however, as they earned the Inaugural Brechler Award for Highest Team GPA in the RMAC in 2013.

Prior to his extensive stay at Regis (1998-2013), McDermott served for nine years as baseball head coach at Briar Cliff University, a NAIA institution in Sioux City, Iowa. There he was the winningest coach in program history as well, collectively going 345-181 (.656). The Chargers achieved a national Top 20 ranking for six consecutive years from 1992-1997 and were District Champions on four occasions. McDermott was a five-time District Coach of the Year, guiding 12 NAIA All-Americans, five MLB Draft selections, and 23 All-Region honorees.

Accepting the position at Academy of Art, McDermott returned to California where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Saint Mary's College in Moraga. He also spent three seasons there as an assistant baseball coach from 1985-1988.

Charlie Henderson

Assistant Coach

Charlie Henderson begins his first year as an assistant coach for the ART U baseball program in 2014-15.

Henderson played for head coach Dan McDermott at Regis and was a three-time first team all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference pitcher for the Rangers in 2010, 2011, and 2012. He ranked among the RMAC's top-five in strikeouts (55), innings pitched (93 2/3) and ERA (5.00) while throwing four complete games in 2010. In 2011 he posted a nearly 3-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 62 Ks/22 BBs while throwing 99 2/3 innings in 13 starts.

Henderson also earned academic accolades during his time at Regis. In 2010 he was named to the RMAC Academic Honor Roll, and in 2011 was named to the Athletics Director's Honor Roll reserved for student-athletes with grade point averages from 3.5 to 3.74.

Henderson also brings professional experience to the Urban Knights. Following his time at Regis, Henderson worked in marketing and promotions for both the Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Email: chenderson@academyart.edu

Men's Basketball

Men's Coaches

Julius Barnes

Head Coach Men’s Basketball

Under Julius, the Urban Knights produced All-PacWest Second Team honoree Ameer Shamsud-din and the PacWest Freshman of the Year Alex Carmon. After working as a coach at the Stanford Men’s Basketball and Curtis Borchardt Camps, he became the Assistant Coach for both the Girls Varsity and Junior Varsity teams at Mira Costa High School. As a player, Barnes garnered numerous honors at Stanford University where he would be named to the All-Pacific 10 Conference Team as well as Stanford University Conference Male Athlete of the Year. Raised in Rowland Heights, CA , Julius earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Stanford University in 2003.

Phone: 1-415-618-3656

Email: jbarnes@academyart.edu

Jeremiah Barnes

Assistant Coach

Barnes comes from a strong basketball family, including his father Herman playing overseas, his brother Jamaal playing at Cal State Dominguez Hills and the professional Slamball League, and Julius playing at Stanford and overseas. He was raised in Compton, CA, and attended Los Altos High School, where earned four straight All-Miramonte League selections. Jeremiah graduated from Dixie State College scoring 8.8 points a contest for the Red Storm, posting a career high of 22 points twice–once against Chaminade and once against UH Hilo.

Phone: 1-415-618-3656

Email: jebarnes@academyart.edu

Phillip Samuel

Assistant Coach

Alongside head coach Julius Barnes, Phillip helped the Urban Knights produce All-PacWest honoree Ameer Shamsud-din and the PacWest Freshman of the Year Alex Carmon. He previously represented men's basketball, serving as a strong leader and consistent scorer currently ranking third in career points (626), free throws made (170), fourth in steals (66), and was also one of just four Urban Knights to score 30 or more points in a game. Phillip is from Las Cruces, NM and received his Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Communications from Academy of Art University.

Phone: 1-415-618-8285

Email: psamuel@academyart.edu

Women's Basketball

Women's Coaches

LaNay Larson

Head Coach Women’s Basketball

In her first year at the helm, Larson took Academy of Art University women's basketball to new heights with a nine-game win streak, contention for the PacWest Conference title, and a huge upset victory over PacWest's only ranked team Grand Canyon. LaNay previously served as the Head Assistant Women's Basketball Coach and Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach for Dixie State College. In addition to managing the program’s transition from NJCAA to NCAA DII, Larson helped lead Dixie State Women's Basketball to five straight winning seasons. She began her playing career at Kirkwood Community College as a member of a regional championship team that finished fourth in the NJCAA tournament, and played one year at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State before suffering a career-ending injury.

Phone: 1-415-618-6404

Email: llarson@academyart.edu

Tanya Clark

Assistant Coach

In her first year at the helm, Coach Clark took Academy of Art University women's basketball to new heights with a nine-game win streak, contention for the PacWest Conference title, and a huge upset victory over PacWest's only ranked team Grand Canyon. Clark is a familiar face within the Pacific West Conference as she recently played for the Dixie State College Women’s Basketball team from 2008 to 2010, where she was named team captain and would collect All-PacWest Second Team honors in both of her seasons there. Tanya earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Dixie State.

Phone: 1-415-618-6361

Email: tclark@academyart.edu

Sondra Stilwell

Assistant Women's Basketball Coach/Compliance Assistant

Coach Stilwell was the starting point guard for the Urban Knights from 2008-2010, where she led the team in scoring, assists, steals and was one of two players to compete in and start all 53 games. A native of Redding, CA, Stilwell transferred from Shasta Community College where she was team captain and an All-Conference selection she led her team to a 24-8 record and No. 8 seed in the NorCal playoffs. Stilwell received her Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Communications from Academy of Art University and was the first student-athlete in program history to do so.

Phone: 1-415-618-8444

Email: sstilwell@academyart.edu

Cross Country

Men's & Women's Coaches

Torrey Olson

Associate Head Coach

Coming to us from after serving as an Assistant Coach with University of San Francisco Track & Field/Cross Country, Torrey brings a strong intercollegiate coaching background to the Urban Knights staff as he will be responsible for the distance and mid-distance runners. He helped guide a USF team qualify six athletes to NCAA Preliminaries and three to NCAA Championships. A graduate of Pomona College, Olson also holds an MFA from St. Mary’s College and is a USATF Level I certified coach.

Phone: 1-925-330-6470

Email: tolson@academyart.edu

Men's Golf

Men's Coaches

Andy Moren

Head Men’s Golf Coach

As a Cal State Stanislaus Warriors men's golfer, Moren won four tournaments including the Stanislaus Buzzini Invitational, the Dennis Rose Invitational, and the Drake Invitational. He was named to the GCAA All-Region Team, the All-CCAA First Team, earned the Phil Mickelson NCAA Division II Freshman of the Year Award, and was named to the GCAA All-American Team for Division II. Most recently, Andy was part of a coaching staff that sent Cal State Stanislaus to the NCAA Division II West Regionals in Dupont, WA. He graduated from Stanislaus with a degree in Political Science, and recently earned a Master of Arts in Kinesiology from St. Mary's College with a concentration in Sports Management.

Phone: 1-415-618-3743

Email: amoren@academyart.edu

Women's Golf

Women's Coaches

Elaine Harris

Head Women’s Golf Coach

Elaine helped start the women's golf program at St. Ignatius High School in 2001 and led the team to a CIF State Championship. She also was a four-time letter-winner at Indiana University, earning a spot on the National Golf Coaches Association All-Central Region team and leading her team to the NCAA Division I National Championship. After earning her bachelors degree in Communications with a minor in Spanish, she was a coach and mentor at First Tee of San Francisco and worked with the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, a San Francisco based non-profit that mobilizes golfers across the Bay Area to keep the Sharp Park Golf Course open to the public.

Phone: 1-415-618-8303

Email: eharris@academyart.edu

Men's Soccer

Men's Coaches

Mike Keller

Head Coach–Men’s Soccer

A familiar face to the Urban Knights family, Mike previously served as our assistant men's soccer coach before becoming the head coach at Menlo College where he helped the Oaks to unprecedented success and won a Cal Pac Conference Coach of the Year. Before his time at Menlo, Keller helped guide Academy of Art University through its first season competing in the Pacific West Conference, and spent six years as an assistant at Cañada College in Redwood City. Mike is a U.C. Davis graduate and earned a Master's degree in Kinesiology from San Jose State.

Phone: 1-415-618-6208

Email: mkeller@academyart.edu

David Frank

Assistant Coach

Having served as an assistant coach for the UC Santa Cruz men's soccer program, David brings a strong coaching background and also served as head coach for the semi-professional Pacific Soccer Academy Senior Team. An ODP Region IV Staff evaluator since 2011, David also held a position as head coach of Harbor High School Varsity Girls Soccer from 2008-2010. David graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management Economics where played soccer and went on to play professionally in the MLS and German Bundesliga.

Phone: 1-415-618-6208

Email: soccer@academyart.edu

Women's Soccer

Women's Coaches

Katie Awerkamp

Head Coach

Katie Awerkamp begins her first year as Academy of Art University Women's Soccer head coach in February 2014.

Awerkamp had previously been part of the women's soccer coaching staff at Quincy University for the past six years and coached the Lady Hawks to six straight tournament appearances and the last two Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships. Since she joined the staff, Quincy had boasted a record of 90-27-14, including a 22-game unbeaten streak to start last season.

She also helped solidify an impressive defense that gave up only nine goals last season and produced a first-team NSCAA All-American goalkeeper. Awerkamp's efforts helped coach six All-Americans and also three straight GLVC Defensive Player of the Year winners.

Prior to coaching at Quincy, Awerkamp was the head goalkeeper trainer for the Zionsville Youth Soccer Assocation and Zionsville High School in Indiana after graduating from Saint Joseph's College in 2007. As a student-athlete, Awerkamp finished her career with 297 saves.

Awerkamp is a native of Quincy, IL and graduated from Quincy Notre Dame High School. After graduating from Saint Joseph's, she earned her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Quincy University in 2011.

Mary Whisler

Assistant Coach

Mary Whisler enters her first season with the Urban Knights after three years as the head women's soccer coach for Owens Community College in Perrysburg, OH.

Whisler founded the program in 2011 and coached her way to a 42-12-5 record overall for the Express, who were ranked as high as 14th in the NJCAA poll and 10th in the NSCAA poll. She also coached her team to the NJCAA National Tournament last season after a 17-2-2 season, and was named 2013 NJCAA Region XII Coach of the Year.

Before assuming head coaching duties, Whisler was an assistant coach at the University of Findlay in Findlay, OH, where she earned her masters degree in education in 2011.

Whisler was a highly decorated player in the NAIA ranks at the University of Saint Francisc (Fort Wayne, IN), graduating as a two-time All-American, two time Academic All-American, three-time First Team All Conference selection, two-time First Team All Region selection, and a two-time team captain for the Cougars. She earned her bachelors in psychology in 2009.

Softball

Women's Coaches

Sonja Garnett

Head Coach

Sonja Garnett begins her first season as Academy of Art University Softball head coach.

One of the top pitchers in the history of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), Garnett spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Cal State Monterey Bay, helping the program win the CCAA Championship (third to date) and then go on to reach NCAA Super Regionals for the first time ever last year. CSUMB produced the most wins in program history (48) and carried three Daktronics All-Americans. When all was said and done, the Otters were ranked #11 nationally on the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA DII Top 25 poll.

"I am honored to join the Urban Knights team and be a part of something special here at Academy of Art!" Coach Garnett said. "I cannot wait to see what these women achieve in the next few years. I aim to build on our strengths, continue to raise our standards, and realize our potential. If we do this, the results will come. My goal is to lead us back to a winning season and into a winning tradition."

Garnett got her start as an assistant at her alma mater, San Francisco State, for the 2007 season. Garnett led the Gators to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. SFSU won the 2005 West Regional and went on to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Division II World Series that season. She also served as an assistant coach at Whittier College in 2011.

Owner of a stellar playing career as a SF State Gator herself, Garnett earned both NFCA All-America honors and was CCAA Pitcher of the Year on three occasions. Garnett ended her collegiate career holding the seven major pitching marks in the SFSU record books: Wins (103), Saves (11), ERA (0.96), Strikeouts (609), appearances (188), complete games (127) and innings pitched (1,068.2). She still ranks among the NCAA leaders in appearances (5th), innings pitched (6th), saves (16th), starts (18th) and wins (22nd).

In the classroom, Garnet twice earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All–District VIII honors while earning her bachelor's in liberal studies at San Francisco State. She went on to earn her master's in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management from Long Beach State, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and taking the Outstanding Capstone Award for her final project.

After finishing her collegiate career, she played six seasons of professional softball in Australia, Germany and Italy, serving as both a coach and pitcher in each of her stops. While playing in Western Australia, she led the Moreley Eagles to their first state title. She also played three seasons in Germany, leading the Mannheim Tornados to a pair of national titles.

Alana Aweau

Assistant Coach

Alana Aweau begins her first year as Academy of Art University Softball assistant coach.

One of the original artist-athletes to play for Academy of Art, Aweau competed for three seasons spanning 2009-2011. In her career, she hit .350, scored 75 runs, tallied 91 runs batted in, and currently holds the program's home run record (21). Aweau is one of just two ART U players to register over 100 bases in a single season which she came along with 11 homers in 2010.

As an upperclassman, she led the team to back-to-back 29-win seasons, assisted the Athletic Department in a variety of capacities in 2012, then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising that spring.

After serving as an assistant with both San Francisco's University High School and the Sorcerer Softball Club in 2013, Aweau joined Dominican this past October and helped the program to its first winning season in the NCAA Division II era. The Penguins went 27-20 overall (18-5 in PacWest) and defeated nationally ranked teams such as #1 Humboldt State and #20 UC San Diego. Aweau helped the squad improve statistics in nearly every category compared to their 2013 campaign and guided the team to a 3.45 GPA.

Email: aaweau@academyart.edu

Sports Medicine
Karmont Mak, MS, ATC

Head Athletic Trainer

Karmont oversees all aspects of healthcare including injury prevention, assessment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries for our teams. Prior to joining the Academy of Art, he worked in athletic training with the San Francisco 49ers and was an Associate Athletic Trainer at Delaware State University for the Football and Men’s Basketball teams. Karmont earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from San Jose State University and his Masters of Science degree in Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and certified as a performance enhancement specialist and corrective exercise specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Phone: 1-415-618-8234

Email: kmak@academyart.edu

Laz Cardenas, MS, ATC, CSCS, PES

Assistant Athletic Trainer

Laz assists in all aspects of healthcare for our sports teams. Prior to joining the Academy of Art University, he was the Head Athletic Trainer at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, CA and was responsible for the healthcare and developing both the sports medicine and AED programs. Laz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University–Hayward and Master of Science degree in Software engineering from National University. He is a certified member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Phone: 1-415-618-8234

Email: lcardenas@academyart.edu

Jessica Reinhart

Athletic Trainer

Currently part of the San Jose State University Graduate Athletic Training Program, Jessica earned a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Pittsburgh. Most recently she worked as an Athletic Training Student at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Sports Medicine assisting in the Outpatient Physician Clinic. Jessica carries a series of certifications and professional memberships including EMT Pennsylvania Certification and National Athletic Trainers’ Association Student Member, and became president of the Athletic Training Student Association in August 2012.

Phone: 1-415-618-8234

Email: sportsmedicine@academyart.edu

Strength Training
Drew Rossi

Head Coach

Drew Rossi begins his first year as the Academy of Art University Head Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Rossi spent three years with the NCAA Division I Loyola Marymount University Lions, working with 10 teams including men's and women's basketball. Prior to his time in Los Angeles with LMU he worked with the NBA D-League team Springfield (Mass.) Armor and following graduation served as a personal trainer while working with the University of Massachusetts strength team.

Rossi graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from UMass in 2007 after playing two seasons with the Minutemen. He joined the team in 2004 as a walk-on having never played high school basketball.

Email: drossi@academyart.edu

Jessica Balzano

Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach

Jessica Balzano enters her third season as Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Academy of Art University Athletics Department.

Phone: 1-415-618-8446

Email: jbalzano@academyart.edu

Tennis

Women's Coaches

Nicole Briceño-Garzón

Head Women’s Tennis Coach

Nicole Briceño-Garzón began her first year as Academy of Art University Head Women's Tennis Coach in September of 2014, bringing NCAA Division I experience from her stints as an assistant at Saint Mary's College, University of Maryland, and University at Albany.

Most recently with SMC, Briceño-Garzón was a volunteer assistant for a Gaels squad that achieved a Top 34 NCAA DI ranking. She helped guide Saint Mary's to a West Coast Conference final in addition to obtaining three individual ITA rankings. With the University of Maryland, Briceño-Garzón was heavily involved with recruiting as well as player development, mentoring and coaching the Terrapins squad both on and off the court.

Prior to Maryland, Briceño-Garzón served as an assistant at Albany for one season. She helped guide the Great Danes to their first conference final appearance in school history and had a hand in the school's first-ever wins over UMBC and Binghamton.

As a collegian herself, Briceño-Garzón played for Southern Methodist and Alabama. An important leader on her SMU squad, she led the Mustangs to a national ranking of No. 21, highest in program history, and to the Conference USA Championship. She set the record for most doubles wins ever at SMU, achieving a 21-1 season record. Briceño-Garzón and partner Ksenia Tokarieva achieved a career high doubles national ranking of No. 38. During her time at SMU, she earned multiple Conference USA Player of the Week awards and was named the Conference USA Newcomer of the Year in 2008.

An outstanding student, Briceño-Garzón graduated from SMU in 2010 with a 3.6 GPA majoring in psychology and Spanish. She received the SMU Minority Academic Excellence Award three straight years, and was named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. At Alabama, Briceño-Garzón was named to the Dean's List and the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. While at SMU, she also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

 

Email: nbriceno@academyart.edu

Track & Field

Men's & Women's Coaches

Charles Ryan

Head Coach

Named USTFCCCA Women's Track & Field Coach of the Year in indoor and Pacific West Conference Women's Track & Field co-Coach of the Year, Charles has developed 32 NCAA All-Americans across the indoor and outdoor campaigns at the Academy of Art. Prior to the Urban Knights, Charles was the Assistant Sprints/Hurdles Coach for Louisiana Tech developing 30 WAC Conference Champions, 28 NCAA Regional Qualifiers, and 12 NCAA National Qualifiers. During college, Ryan ran hurdles and relays for both UCLA and South Carolina, where he earned a BA in Liberal Arts and helped set an American record in the Shuttle Hurdle Relay.

Phone: 1-865-406-5192

Email: cryan@academyart.edu

Torrey Olson

Associate Head Coach

Coming to us from after serving as an Assistant Coach with University of San Francisco Track & Field/Cross Country, Torrey brings a strong intercollegiate coaching background to the Urban Knights staff as he will be responsible for the distance and mid-distance runners. He helped guide a USF team qualify six athletes to NCAA Preliminaries and three to NCAA Championships. A graduate of Pomona College, Olson also holds an MFA from St. Mary’s College and is a USATF Level I certified coach.

Phone: 1-925-330-6470

Email: tolson@academyart.edu

Volleyball

Women's Coaches

Ed Jackson

Head Women's Volleyball Coach

As the associate head volleyball coach and recruiting director at William & Mary, Ed implemented a training program that lead to a 22-win season in 2005. Over that time he also coached nine CAA All-Conference selections, and was undefeated as acting head coach for the Tribe. Jackson was also the assistant coach and recruiting director at Fresno State, where he developed five WAC All-Conference selections and recruited the Bulldogs’ first Capitol One Academic All-American. Ed attended Sacramento State and received a BA in Psychology, and then went on to graduate with a MA in Physical Education and Sports Administration from Eastern Illinois University.

Phone: 1-415-618-6173

Email: ejackson@academyart.edu

Ray Batalon

Associate Head Coach

Ray Batalon begins his first season as Academy of Art University Women's Volleyball Associate Head Coach in 2014.

Batalon comes from a five-year stint as the associate head women's volleyball coach at University of the Pacific. An integral part of Pacific's recruiting, Batalon handled the Tigers' scouting and video database while the team collectively went 89-60 since 2009 without having a losing season. Among the Tigers' highlight campaigns were 2010, when Pacific went 19-11 overall and featured an offensive powerhouse in AVCA All-Region honoree Svenja Englehardt, and 2012, when the Tigers boasted a 20-11 overall record and won their final match in the Big West Conference prior to a transition to the West Coast Conference.

Before to joining Pacific, Batalon spent seven seasons on the bench at the University of Nevada, Reno. He was named the Wolf Pack's top assistant prior to the 2007 season. Batalon was primarily responsible for Nevada's recruiting as the team's recruiting coordinator while managing the team's volleyball database and serving as the primary evaluator. Leading the way on the recruiting effort, Batalon helped land the nation's 23rd-ranked recruiting class in 2006.

In addition to recruiting, Batalon developed the opponent scouting reports for the Wolf Pack while working as the team's video coordinator and underclassmen academic advisor. On the court, Batalon helped train the Wolf Pack setters, defensive specialists and middle blockers.

Prior to Nevada, Batalon was a staple in the Nevada high school ranks as he was the head coach at Reno High School from 1995-99 and an assistant at Bishop Manogue High School in 2000 and North Valleys High School in 2001.

Before beginning his coaching career, Batalon played men's volleyball at Nevada from 1991-95. He earned his bachelor's degree in general studies from Nevada in 2003.

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