Sports

Former player returns to coach Crusaders basketball

By Hillary Mulka

hmulka@my.madonna.edu

Former star player for Madonna Men’s Basketball, Noel Emenhiser, recently accepted a position as the team’s new head coach.

Emenhiser, Assistant Athletic Director, worked as an assistant basketball coach at Madonna for two previous seasons.

“It is very exciting to see our all-time leading scorer take over the program,” said Athletic Director Bryan Rizzo. “Noel is a highly motivated coach who will put all his energy into building a winning program. I am confident that we have made a great choice for Madonna University.”

Though no stranger to Madonna’s team, this is Emenhiser’s first experience as a head coach.

“I am not at all apprehensive because I feel that my experiences at Madonna as a student athlete, as well as my experience as an assistant coach, have prepared me for the challenges that are ahead,” said Emenhiser. “I am certain that my familiarity with the program, school, and conference will be a great help as the team prepares for next season.”

With so many successes as a player, men’s basketball followers have high expectations.

“I do not believe that there is any added pressure for the team to be more successful because of any individual success I may have experienced as a player,” he said. “I think most people understand that success as a player does not directly translate into coaching success.

“With that said, I have high expectations of myself to make sure that the players in the program are learning to become successful. I want to make sure that the focus of our program stays on developing each player as a student, a person, and a basketball player. If we are able to be successful in these areas I believe the winning will follow,” he added.

Drew Coker, former player and recent graduate recognized as one of the 2008-2009 NAIA All-American Scholar Athletes, commented about his work with Emenhiser while he was assisting the team.

“He is a coach who brings discipline and always is challenging his players to work harder,” he said. “Coach Emenhiser is a great skills coach. He was a talented player himself and he brings a lot of knowledge to the team about specific moves and specific ways each player can improve their game. Coach helped me with my individual skills and he was a great friend [as well]. I liked the way he pushed my teammates and me and yet off the court he was a great role model who was fun to hang out with.”

Emenhiser plans to challenge his team to succeed both on and off the court in order to achieve the greatest success for the program.

“The goals for our team will be very similar to those that the team has experienced in the past few seasons. One of our goals is to improve every time we step on the floor for a game or for a practice. Our team will really be pushed to constantly improve at everything they are doing, school, basketball, and personally,” said Emenhiser.

The new coach’s passion and dedication will shine through as he takes control of the team.  His spirit for Madonna will definitely be an asset for the men’s team.

“He is smart and a hard worker,” Coker said. “That is a great combination. Noel is Madonna through and through. I bet if he got cut he would bleed blue.”