For the first time in the school’s history, Emerson College has hired full-time head coaches exclusively for the women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse teams, promoting David Suvak and Dan Gold from their part-time positions. The athletic department announced the decision via press release on August 12.
“When you’re young, it’s about recruiting and building your team,” Interim Athletic Director Stanford Nance said regarding the 24-year-old Gold, who graduated from Emerson in 2012 and took over the Lions’ men’s lacrosse team just months after playing his final game. “You’ll become a better coach once you get good players. That’s why we’re elevating our part-time coaches to full-time.”
The promotion of Gold and Suvak to full-time positions are the first hires in what Nance said is a three-year plan to staff full-time coaches in all 14 varsity sports by 2015. Currently, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis and baseball are the only teams without full-time coaches.
The plan coincides with Emerson’s move from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, starting this fall. Gold, a native of Randolph, N.J., spoke positively about his team’s chances to progress as the school’s athletic program improves.
“I feel good,” Gold said. “I feel like we’re in a good position to help the program. I’m glad that the athletics department is behind the lacrosse team.”
The funding for Emerson’s summer personnel moves came via the Athletics Working Group, of which Nance was a member, which President M. Lee Pelton organized to identify the needs of the athletic department heading into the NEWMAC and its more established sports programs.
Mike Blanchard was hired as Emerson’s first full-time lacrosse coach in 2006, but Nance said he was overstretched, coaching the men’s and women’s team at the same time during the spring season. Blanchard said the extra time Gold can spend on recruiting and his status as a recent Emerson player will serve him well.
“Think about it, by being there, by being on campus, by being a student, he can look those kids in the eye that are coming in and he can tell them exactly what it is they’re going to run into,” said Blanchard, who usually talks with Gold once a month, but tries to only act as a sounding board, he said.
A two-year captain at Emerson, Gold was described by Nance as someone who “bleeds purple and gold.” He took over the team as part-time coach last fall after approaching Nance with an interest in helping out.
“I can’t stress enough the passion that he has for the game,” Blanchard said. “You talk to Dan about lacrosse and he just lights up.”
Gold led the team to a 2-9 record during the spring 2013 season as a part-time coach, an improvement on their 1-9 season under then-coach Nate Mayo in 2012.
“As far as coaching experience, I think there’s definitely more for me to prove,” Gold said. “I’m a young guy, so I still have a lot to learn about just coaching and managing players and people.”
Meanwhile, fellow full-time hire David Suvak brings a long list of coaching knowhow to the helm of the women’s soccer team. With over two decades of experience, Suvak compiled a 21-26-5 record over his first three seasons at Emerson, and led the team to the GNAC Quarterfinals last year.
“Everyone was really pleased that he was hired as the head coach full-time,” senior defender Casey Jablonski said. “He definitely deserves it, and he is a really great coach. We’re very lucky to have him.”
The team claimed its first victory this season on Sept. 3 in a 2-0 win over Wentworth. Having been a member of the team for four years now, two with Suvak, Jablonski noted the positive changes she’s seen from Suvak since his first year with Emerson.
“He’s improved the team itself immensely just by his recruiting process,” Jablonski said. “[He’s] bringing in a lot of better players into the program. As for his coaching style, because of the stronger players, that gives him the ability to incorporate more difficult drills and more complex playing styles.”
Recalling his time as a player, Gold believes that the biggest positive to come from his promotion is the greater focus he’ll have as a full-time coach.
“It’s tough when you have a part-time coach who’s not there and [doesn’t have] the office there at ground level to see what’s going on with the team,” Gold said. “It’s tough for the players and it’s tough for the coach.”
Jablonski said having Suvak around more often will serve as an advantage this season.
“It gives the players a chance if they have any concerns, whether it be with soccer or school or anything in general,” Jablonski said. “He’s always available for us to go talk to.”
Gold maintains that there’s still more to be done for the department moving forward.
“There’s a lot of work to be done still; there’s a lot to accomplish. The program has a ways to go.” Gold said. “It’s a good step in the right direction, but I don’t think anything has gotten to where it needs to be.”