Posts tagged ‘Russ Rose’
Penn State announced today that a search committee has been formed as a first step in naming a replacement for Joe Paterno, who was fired Nov. 9 during the most dizzying and distressing week in the University’s history.
As expected, acting athletic director Dave Joyner ’72, ’76g heads the six-member committee, which also includes two faculty members, an athletic department administrator, a coach, and an alumnus. It’s a small group, which could be a good thing; a search committee with, say, 15 members on it would’ve just screamed “bureaucracy.”
Three names on the committee stood out for me: women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose, retired faculty member John Nichols, and alumnus Ira Lubert ’73.
Russ Rose is, of course, one of Penn State’s most prominent and successful coaches. He also is a straight shooter; I suspect the committee will benefit from his candor (and sense of humor). John Nichols is a longtime faculty member in the College of Communications, a former chair of the Faculty Senate, and current chair of a reform group called the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.
As for Ira Lubert, he has worked for years in the financial sector in Philadelphia. He is both an Alumni Fellow and a Distinguished Alumnus of Penn State and is a current member of the Board of Trustees. He and Joyner were wrestling teammates at Penn State in the early 1970s and have stayed friends ever since. Lubert has given a good bit of money to Penn State, including the wrestling program.
Tina Hay, editor
To put it mildly, the Penn State women’s volleyball team was in a tough spot Saturday night.
The four-time defending NCAA champions entered the season with the top ranking again, and then they lost to Oregon on Friday night at the AVCA Showcase at Rec Hall, snapping an NCAA record 94-game home match winning streak.
And there they were the next night, down 0-2 to No. 2 USC.
The spectacular crowd—6,165 strong, including Graham Spanier, a chunk of the men’s basketball team, two guys wearing matching blue and white mouse heads, respectively, and a baby girl in the balcony that my mom would have described as “just hatched”—was beginning to file out.
Then things got fun. (more…)
We just got our office copies of the March/April issue, so those of you who live in the Mid-Atlantic states should be receiving yours shortly. I can guarantee it’ll stand out in your mailbox because of the cover–a stunning photo of a Rabari Indian girl, one of the images on the world’s last roll of Kodachrome film shot by Steve McCurry ’74. It reminded all of us of of McCurry’s famous Afghan girl photo.
Inside, you’ll find more McCurry photos from that last roll of Kodachrome, a profile of Bobby Braun ’87, who as NASA’s newly named chief technologist is responsible for trying to rejuvenate innovation in the space agency, and a piece on women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose, who just led the Nittany Lions to their fourth consecutive NCAA title.
The Rose piece was particularly fun for Ryan Jones, the other senior editor, and me. We talked to players, coaches, even Rose’s wife, trying to figure out exactly what makes him such a great coach. Both of us knew Rose is a character, so we weren’t surprised when every interview started with some version of this: “Wow, I’m not sure I can tell you the best Russ Rose stories.” Even with that caveat, I laughed so hard when I talked with Bonnie Bremner Pettigrew ’00 that our class notes editor, Julie Nelson, peeked into my office to see what was going on.
“Oh my God,” Pettigrew said at one point, “if you find out what makes him tick, you’ve got to let me know.”
We think we did. Check out the story, and let us know what you think.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Senior Alyssa D’Errico is president of Penn State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board, which is the sort of thing you might put at the top of your resume if it didn’t mean bumping “four-time NCAA champion.” A co-captain last season with the women’s volleyball team, D’Errico is a back-row specialist who also possesses one of the nastiest jump serves on the squad. We caught up with her in January and asked her to explain that serve — and give us a shot at returning it. She said yes. Ouch.
“I may have shanked that.”
That’s me trying to handle a couple of those serves. Alyssa says that she and sophomore setter Kristin Carpenter have had their serves clocked at 62 mph — tied for fastest on the team — and that they average in the mid-to-high 50s. It’s all about momentum: Alyssa starts with her weight on her right foot, bounces the ball twice, takes three steps (left, right, left), tosses the ball nearly 20 feet in the air, leaps, and swings. In baseball parlance, she can aim for a spot and drill it (fastball), hit a “floater” that acts a bit like a knuckleball, or make it slice like a curve.
As for returning that serve? (more…)
Three consecutive NCAA women’s volleyball titles was unprecedented. And now Penn State is on the verge of its fourth in a row.
The Nittany Lions dominated Texas last night in a three-set sweep, and they’re playing Cal for the national title on Saturday night.
And this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. How did the Nittany Lions find themselves near the top again? There’s plenty of credit to go around:
Setter Kristin Carpenter, who explained her terrific serving performance by quipping that she “ate her Wheaties.” The Nittany Lions’ All-American seniors, Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson. A fantastic freshman class, led by National Freshman of the Year Deja McClendon. And of course coach Russ Rose, who has my Facebook friends debating whether he’s the best coach in Penn State history.
Women’s volleyball, regrettably, doesn’t get a lot of national coverage. You can learn all you need to know here and here from the Collegian’s beat reporters, who are still, unbelievably, cranking out copy during finals week. (They also provide in-match updates at Collegian_WVB.) For a national perspective, you can’t get better than Mechelle Voepel from ESPN.com, who checked in with this story.
Tune in to ESPN2 at 8:30 Saturday night to watch the final.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Alumni Council members got to see that second side of Rose on Friday afternoon, when he made a special guest appearance at their meeting. Sometimes Rose’s humor can be dry and deadpan, but he was laugh-out-loud funny standing at the podium in Robb Hall. The guy has the expert timing of a first-rate stand-up comic, and I can’t reproduce that here. But I hope you can still tell from these highlights that he did bring his A game:
The three-time defending NCAA champion women’s volleyball team opens the season Friday at the Carolina Classic, facing host North Carolina at 8 p.m. Penn State is ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls — understandable given the team’s 103-match winning streak — but coach Russ Rose is skeptical. In an article Thursday in USA Today, the longtime Nittany Lion coach says his team is too unproven — having lost a couple of first-team All-Americans and boasting a roster with nine true freshman — to justify such a ranking. Of course, a couple of his returning players (and most of those incoming freshmen) were college or prep All-Americans last season, so maybe those poll voters know what they’re doing.
As for the tournament, Rose’s players should feel right at home in the opposing gym: The Triangle Chapter of the Alumni Association is inviting all Penn Staters in the area to meet up for a Friday afternoon happy hour before heading over to the game. If you’re within shouting distance of Chapel Hill, you’ve now got plans for Friday night.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Mike Carlson, shooting for the Associated Press, got this image last night of the Penn State women’s volleyball team celebrating its third straight national championship.
It was an amazing come-from-behind win: The top-ranked Nittany Lions lost the first two sets of their match with second-ranked Texas and were on the brink of seeing their 101-match unbeaten streak—not to mention their dreams of a threepeat—come to a sudden end. But they came back to win the next two sets to even the match, then won a dramatic, back-and-forth fifth set for the title.
ESPN.com has some stories and a good video recap. Be sure to check out the fan in the video who’s standing behind Karch Kiraly and Beth Mowins, wearing a Joe Paterno mask and holding up three fingers to celebrate the threepeat. (I have no idea who he is, but I like his enthusiasm.)
But my favorite part of the video is at the very end, when Megan Hodge slams home the championship point and the players on the sideline rush the court and slide into the pile. If anyone knows of a video clip that shows more of that, let me know—I could watch that moment 50 times and not get tired of it.
Tina Hay, editor
…to an unprecedented third straight NCAA championship. The Nittany Lion women put a little scare into their fans last night in the NCAA semifinals, losing the first set to Hawaii, but they came back to win the match, 23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18. It was the team’s 101st consecutive win and head coach Russ Rose’s 1000th career win, but more importantly, it puts Penn State in the national title match Saturday night.
One of our most popular blog posts of the past year was one involving these amazing athletes. We took readers behind the scenes at a photo shoot last January for our March-April 2009 issue. Not surprisingly, that posting—called “Fun With the Women’s Volleyball Team”—is getting a lot of hits again lately, and if you’ve never seen it, you might want to check it out. It includes a short video clip from the photo shoot.
Tomorrow night’s final pits No. 1 Penn State (37-0) against No. 2 Texas (29-1). It’ll be televised nationally on ESPN2 starting at 8 p.m.
You can read coverage of last night’s win at gopsusports.com and at the Tampa Tribune (the NCAAs are at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa this year). And you can also follow the Penn State team’s adventures on Twitter.
Tina Hay, editor
Congrats to the Penn State women’s volleyball team, who beat Florida last night and California tonight to advance to the NCAA semifinals. Looks like their hopes for an unprecedented third straight national title are very much alive. The win tonight was Penn State’s 100th straight—and the 999th career victory for head coach Russ Rose.
Speaking of Rose, the Philadelphia Inquirer profiled him yesterday, taking a look at his no-nonsense style:
Rose, with his salt-and-pepper hair and admitted “smart-ass” attitude, seems to have all the right stuff. He’s brutally honest—and will tell you that himself—and tries not to recruit women who are overly sensitive.
“I look at it as, they’re not my girlfriends so I don’t care if they’re mad at me for pointing out things they need to do to be a better player or a better teammate or a better daughter and sometimes a better girlfriend,” Rose said. “I don’t have a problem saying what needs to be said.”
Rose was also the subject of a profile on the front page of the New York Times sports section last Tuesday. Some great visibility this week for a very deserving team.
Tina Hay, editor
P.S. One of our most popular blog entries to date is “Fun with the Women’s Volleyball Team,” from our photo shoot last January that led to our March-April cover story on women’s volleyball. Check it out if you haven’t already.