Alums return to coach in purple bubble

The athletics department has recently been blessed with a wave of fresh coaches found in a talented crop of alumni. Joey Lye ’09, Dan Greenberg ’08, Kevin Snyder ’09 and Jim Entwisle ’10, all of whom currently hold coaching positions at the College, are proof of this new phenomenon.

Lye assumed the roles of both assistant women’s ice hockey and assistant softball coach in July 2009 and was recently named interim head coach of the women’s ice hockey team. During her career as an Eph, Lye played in the outfield and at shortstop for softball and was a defender for women’s ice hockey. Her ability on the ice is matched only by her ability on the field: Lye is generally considered one of the most talented softball players to ever play for the College. She earned a multitude of accolades as an Eph, among them batting records and recognition as the 2009 Eastern College Athletics Conference Div. III New England Player of the Year. Some of her favorite experiences as an Eph were “winning softball NESCACs, being the No. 1 seed at Regionals and traveling to North Carolina for the World Series my freshman year.”

These experiences influenced Lye’s decision to return as a coach. “I wasn’t exactly sure which direction I wanted my life to go after [graduation], so I figured I might as well stay and work in a community that I love with the programs that helped shape my amazing college experience,” she said.

Having already completed a season as assistant coach for both of her former teams, Lye is excited to start at the helm of women’s ice hockey. “I was able to learn from established as well as new faculty and had the opportunity to impact both the ice hockey and softball programs with a unique perspective,” Lye said. “I have an amazing opportunity to lead and continue to build a program with growing success throughout the 2010-11 season.”

Greenberg has had similar feelings in his coaching career. His own positive experiences as a student influenced his decision to return to his alma mater in a new capacity. “I loved Williams as a student, so when I had the opportunity to come back as the men’s tennis coach I jumped on it,” Greenberg said. “It’s a great community, and I love working with my team and PE students.”

The student body has been one of his favorite parts of coaching, as Greenberg found that “[the students are] all awesome, even more so than I remember from my undergrad experience! I have a newfound appreciation for how hard they all work, how nice they are and really how funny they can be.”

Greenberg was named the head coach of men’s tennis in June 2009 after spending time volunteering for the University of North Carolina’s tennis team and serving as an assistant pro for the Hollow Rock Racquet Club in Durham, N.C. Like Lye, Greenberg was an exceptional athlete. He opened his collegiate career as NESCAC Rookie of the Year and continued to collect awards throughout his four years, including NESCAC Player of the Year and Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year for 2008 and All-American honors in 2006 and 2008 Greenberg finished his career by winning the ITA New England title and placing third in the ITA National Small College Championships in 2008.

Greenberg remembers defeating archrival Amherst particularly fondly. “As an Eph, I’ll never forget the 24 hours before, during and after beating Amherst,” he said. “Those matches always held true to the rivalry, and to share the experience with my best friends was amazing.”

Snyder also feels privileged to have returned to the College so soon after graduation. “It’s a very, very rewarding job,” he said. “When I go home at night, I’m very happy with what I’m doing for work, if you can even call it that.” Snyder left his position as director of basketball operations at the College of William and Mary in order to assume the role of assistant men’s basketball coach at the College.

Snyder was a starter and guard for the Ephs for three years, during which he became just the 26th player in College history to score 1000 points. Snyder was named to the All-NESCAC first team and honored as a District I second-team ESPN The Magazine academic scholar in 2009. Snyder’s favorite memories are with his teammates. “The moments that stick out the most are the little things,” he said. “What comes to mind are things like hanging out with the guys in the locker room, getting dinner after practice and funny stuff that happened on road trips.”

The caliber of the student body was one reason Snyder chose to return. “I knew what type of kid I was going to be able to work with here,” he said. “We have really good players on our team, but they are even better people. And when you love the guys you are coaching, it makes you enjoy being a coach that much more.” Snyder also cites the influence of Head Coach Mike Maker: “[He] is definitely my mentor in the coaching world … I’m gaining valuable experience by working under him. I know I’m getting better as a coach just by being around him.”

Snyder’s former role as captain smoothed the transition to coach. “There’s always the worry of coaching guys that you played alongside, but I think me being their former captain helped the transition a lot,” he said. “I tried to lead the younger guys when I played with them, and I’m doing some of the same things now as a coach that I did as a player … I love being out there on the floor for practice, helping our guys improve each day. I feel like I’m giving back to the program and even the game of basketball in a way.”

Freshly recruited assistant baseball coach Entwisle expressed the same desire to contribute to the College’s athletics. “I’m getting the chance to give back to a program that has given me much more than the honor of playing college baseball,” Entwisle said.

Entwisle had a distinguished infielder career, and, like Greenberg, one of his favorite memories is defeating Amherst. “We beat Amherst in a game televised on ESPNU [in honor of] the 150th anniversary of the first intercollegiate baseball game, which was played by Williams and Amherst,” he said. “That game secured our third consecutive NESCAC West Division crown, prevented Amherst from playing in the NESCAC tournament and ended their head coach’s career with a loss.”

Entwisle is excited to work with several old teammates to accomplish what he refers to as “unfinished business.” He and the men are ready to work. “A lot of the guys are hungry, and that is what you want to see as a coach,” he said. “There is no room for complacency in this program.”

Thus far, Entwisle has enjoyed his offseason responsibilities. “My job has been encouraging the team to work harder than it ever has before,” he said. “The guys are doing a great job preparing for the season, and that has very little to do with me and everything to do with their work ethic.”

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