While the summer did not inspire any overwhelming change in personnel for the Athletics Department, the few alterations that were made have set the Cardinals in a positive direction for 2013-14 campaign. The most notable personnel addition came from the women’s lacrosse team with the signing of Amanda Belichick ’07 as interim head coach. Belichick takes over for Holly Wheeler, who had coached the Redbirds since 2000 and led the team to a winning record on three separate campaigns.
The coaching switch comes after a second straight 5-10 record for the women’s lacrosse team with a 1-9 mark in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play. Belichick was an integral part of the last Cardinal squad to achieve a winning record in 2007, her senior year. As a four-year letter-winner, Belichick posted 47 goals and 25 assists as a part of a feared Wesleyan attack line. Since graduating from the University, Belichick has amassed a wealth of coaching experience. She has served as an assistant at University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Ohio State University, to say nothing of growing up the daughter of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ’75.
After years of floundering at the bottom of the NESCAC standings, the Cardinals may have found someone who knows exactly what the team needs to be able to compete with lacrosse powerhouses in the conference like Trinity and Middlebury.
“I am so proud to be a Wesleyan alum, and after six years away from Middletown, it is a dream to be coming back to Wesleyan,” Belichick commented. “I believe that the women’s lacrosse program here at Wesleyan has incredible potential, and I am looking forward to leading the team into its next chapter.”
With Belichick at the helm, the guardians of Smith Field look forward to the 2014 spring campaign as a chance to redeem women’s lax by notching a conference tournament victory for the first time in team history.
Additionally, Mike Fried, formerly the interim coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams, has been handed the full-time head coaching job after a hugely successful campaign in 2012-13. Under the tutelage of Fried, a former nationally ranked letter winner at Brown, the Cardinals undertook one of their most successful seasons in recent memory. On the men’s side, the Cardinals mounted a 5-4 conference record, which earned them their first-ever bid to the NESCAC tournament. The women experienced a successful year marked by a 4-5 conference record and placed as the 15th-ranked team in the Northeast. Additionally, Fried was named NESCAC co-Coach of the Year for his efforts in rebuilding Wesleyan tennis. Since then, Fried has continued his tireless work, recruiting the seventh-best freshman class in Division III, per the Tennis Recruiting Network, to push his squad further into tournament play.
The positivity emanating from his players is a testament to the encouraging effect Fried has had in his tenure at the University.
“We have a whole new approach to our game now,” said Alex Rachlin ’15. “If we can keep up our commitment and work ethic, the NESCAC will have a team to look out for.”
With these familiar faces ready to push Wesleyan athletics into a new era of dominance, this is looking like a great time to be a Cardinal.