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NCAC to Host Second Women's Coaches Symposium

NCAC to Host Second Women's Coaches Symposium

The North Coast Atheltic Conference will host its second Women's Coaching Symposium on Wednesday, May 30, at Oberlin College.

The day-long Symposium provides high-quality programming and professional development for female assistant and head coaches from around the conference. This event provides time for networking and an opportunity build community among our women coaches.

Funded by a generous Diversity & Inclusion grant from NCAA Division III, the Women's Coaches Symposium is designed to address the historic decline and current stagnation of the percent of women in coaching. Did you know that in 1972, 90% of collegiate women were coached by women? Today that figure is only ~40%, a statistic that has remained stagnant for the last decade. Women coaches are valuable role models for each other and for our student-athletes of any gender.

The purpose of the Women Coaches Symposium is: 

  • to provide high-quality professional development programming
  • to provide an opportunity for networking among women's coaches
  • to build community among the NCAC female coaches
  • to retain and support women in the coaching profession

Schedule & Program

12:00-12:30pm                       Registration (coffee, water)

12:30-12:45pm                       Welcome and Speed Meet
Keri Alexander Luchowski, Executive Director, NCAC

12:45pm-1:30                         Lunch

1:30 – 2:15pm                        Keynote Speaker: Finding Your Inner Badass
                                               Lynn Berling-Manuel, CEO, United Soccer Coaches

2:15 – 2:30pm                        Break/Networking

2:30 – 3:00pm                        Say What?! Dealing With Criticism
                                               Portia Hoeg, Director of Athletics, Allegheny
                                               Sara Lee, Head Coach Women’s Basketball, Denison
                                               Erica Rau, Head Coach, Women’s Volleyball, Oberlin
                                               Moderator:  Lynn Berling-Manuel, United Soccer Coaches

3:00 – 3:15pm                        Break/Networking

3:15pm – 4:00pm                   Expert Speaker: The Art of Communication: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Practice
                                               Julie Muller, 3Fold Group

4:00 – 4:15pm                        Break/Networking

4:15-4:30pm                           Takeaways/Closing Remarks
Natalie Winkelfoos, Oberlin

4:30 – 7:00pm                         Hospitality Reception


Lynn Berling-Manuel
Lynn Berling-Manuel is the first female to lead United Soccer Coaches in its storied 76-year history, and one of the few women in the world to lead a major soccer organization. Berling-Manuel joined the United Soccer Coaches after nearly eight years as chief marketing officer of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) in Torrance, Calif.  With nearly 500,000 players and 70,000 coaches, AYSO is the biggest youth soccer club in the world. During her tenure, Berling-Manuel guided all brand management, partnership development, fundraising, and communications efforts. Her most recent accomplishment was developing a five-year, multi-million dollar partnership with FOX Sports, making AYSO its exclusive youth soccer partner.

Prior to joining AYSO, Berling-Manuel was with  Soccer America Communications LLC,  first as editor-in-chief and associate publisher (1984-1991), and then as CEO and publisher (1991-2007). She directed the strategic development and execution of the multi-platform soccer media company, which includes Soccer America Magazine, as well as monthly, weekly, and daily digital publications, conferences, and events. Berling-Manuel was also responsible for transforming the then 30-year-old Soccer America from a national weekly magazine to an internet-dominant communications product and the leading soccer media outlet it is today.

Berling-Manuel is not a new face within United Soccer Coaches, as she has been a long-time member of the Association and an appointed at-large member of the NSCAA Board of Directors since 2006. She is also a member of the U.S. Soccer Diversity Committee. Berling-Manuel’s other volunteer experience includes serving as president of the West Berkeley Foundation Board of Directors (2002-07) and being a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Board of Directors  (2005-10).

Berling-Manuel attended UC Berkeley, where she studied economics. She also earned a professional publishing program certification from Stanford University. Her hometown is Albany, Calif., and she is married to Martin Manuel.


Portia Hoeg
Portia Hoeg was named director of athletics and recreation at Allegheny College on December 8, 2011, ushering in a new era for the College’s robust and historically rich athletic program.

The Allegheny strategic plan, Combinations 2020, focuses on the student experience, and it is through Hoeg's strong background in building partnerships that the College looks to leverage in enhancing the quality of the student-athlete experience. During her five years at Allegheny, Hoeg has overseen the enhancement of a number of facilities, including the installation of state-of-the-art turf at the school's stadium, the installation of new weight room and cardio equipment, and complete renovations of the athletic training center and the football locker room.  Hoeg was instrumental in the creation of two positions within the athletic department aimed at improving the experiences of student-athletes and coaches, including the director of peak performance and fitness and manager of athletic operations, while under her supervision, the Allegheny Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has become an active, vibrant, and important piece of the school's athletic scene. 

In 2015, she was named to the Allegheny Administrative Executive Committee, which is overseen by President Dr. James Mullen and is comprised of the school's senior administrators. The AEC serves as the primary policy making body of the College.  The AEC reviews all major financial, administrative, academic, and programmatic issues.

Prior to her appointment as Allegheny AD, Hoeg served as the associate director of athletics at Lake Forest College, which is a member of the highly competitive Midwest Conference.

After joining the Lake Forest College staff as assistant athletic director in the fall of 2005, Hoeg was promoted to associate athletic director and senior woman administrator in July of 2008. Hoeg focused on athletic alumni relations, community outreach, and student-athlete leadership and development during her initial role with the College. As associate athletic director, she oversaw internal operations of the athletic department to include NCAA compliance, personnel, and special programs as well as serving as a liaison with admissions and student affairs.

Hoeg recently served as vice chair of the NCAA Division-III Management Council, while she is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) and the National Association of Division-III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA).  She participated in the first NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Regional Leadership Conference in 2002 and has twice served as a facilitator for the event.  Extremely active in the Meadville community, she has also served on the board of directors of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Crawford County.   

Her record of service in administration was honored in December 2008, as she was the inaugural recipient of the NADIIIAA Emerging Athletic Administrator award for exemplary achievement and service as an emerging athletic administrator and leader in Division III intercollegiate athletics. In January 2010, Hoeg received the distinct honor of being selected as a representative on the NCAA Division III Management Council.

Hoeg, who has served on a myriad of national panels and committees, served as marketing, promotions and special events coordinator at Smith College (Mass.) from August, 2002 to May, 2004. Hoeg became the interim assistant director of athletics at Vassar College in June, 2004, where she focused her efforts on compliance issues, scheduling and transportation.

The former Portia Lowe received her bachelor's degree in marketing and management from Trinity University (Texas) and completed her masters in business administration from North Park University. As an undergraduate, she played basketball for the nationally-prominent Tigers and still ranks among the program's all-time leaders in three-pointers and steals.

Portia and her husband Josh reside in Vernon Township, and are the proud parents of son Kye, who was born in April 2016.


Sara Lee
In 2018-19, Sara Lee enters her 30th season as Denison's head women's basketball coach and her seventh year as the department's Associate Athletic Director.

The last 15 seasons under Lee have been the most successful stretch in the history of the Denison women's basketball program.  Since 2003-04, the Big Red have won 289 games and have averaged 19 wins per season.

In 2015-16, the Big Red won the North Coast Athletic Conference championship and finished with a 23-5 record, advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the sixth time in program history.  Junior Jordan Holmes was named to the WBCA and All-American team after leading the nation in blocked shots for the third-straight season. Holmes averaged 15.9 points per game and 17.8 rebounds per game, which was the second-best per game average in Division III.

Lee boasts a career record of 454-309 (.595) in 29 seasons at Denison.  Entering the 2016-17 season she ranked 29th in victories among active Division III coaches.  She is one of just 50 coaches in Division III history to reach the 400-win milestone.

Under Lee, Denison has won four NCAC regular season championships and seven NCAC Tournament titles.  In 2010-11, the Big Red completed the conference's first undefeated regular season at 25-0 and went on to capture the NCAC Tournament title for the sixth time in seven years.  Led by NCAC Player of the Year, Shaina Kaiser, Denison finished the year 28-0, marking the best season in program history.

In 2010-11, the Big Red completed the conference's first undefeated regular season (25-0) and went on to capture the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament for the sixth time out of the last seven seasons.  Led by All-American and NCAC Player of the Year, Shaina Kaiser, Denison finished the year 28-0.

She is a five-time NCAC Coach of the Year (1990-91, 1997-98, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2015-16).

In addition to her basketball coaching duties, Lee spent 18 seasons as the head volleyball coach at Denison. She stepped down prior to the 2007 season after recording 395 career victories. She is the program's all-time leader in wins and holds a .618 career winning percentage as the head volleyball coach. The team's 31 victories in 1993 set a new school record that still stands.

In 1989, Lee came to Denison from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where she was the head coach of women's volleyball, women's basketball and softball. While at Lake Erie, she also served as the coordinator of women's athletics, an instructor of physical education, a residence hall director, and an academic advisor.

A native of Moorhead, Minn., Lee enrolled at Minnesota State Moorhead after graduating from high school in 1982. She earned her B.S. in physical education from Minnesota State Moorhead in 1986. Lee went on to earn an M.A. in athletic administration from Kent State in 1987.

While at Minnesota State Moorhead, Lee's athletic career was highlighted by several outstanding accomplishments. She was a four-year letter winner in each of three sports: volleyball, women's basketball and softball. In volleyball, Lee earned all-conference and all-district recognition her junior and senior years and was twice named as her team's most valuable player. Her senior year, Lee served as a basketball captain and she was an all-district selection in softball.

In 1995, Lee was inducted into the Minnesota State Moorhead Athletic Hall of Fame for her distinguished accomplishments and career both on and off the playing field.

Lee's honors as an undergraduate include the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship which is awarded annually by NAIA athletic directors. Lee was also honored as the recipient of the Minnesota State Moorhead Student-Athlete Award her senior year. At Kent State, Lee was selected for a graduate assistantship in physical education.

In addition to her coaching and administrative duties, Lee holds the title of Professor at Denison University.

Julie Muller
Julie Muller has an extensive background in intercollegiate athletics having served as a coach on the Division III level and an administrator on both Division I and III campuses and as a Division III Commissioner. Throughout her career, Muller has worked with institutions of varying profiles, from small private colleges to mid-size and larger public universities and has established a broad I working knowledge of the full spectrum of intercollegiate athletics.

​In June 2016, Muller retired from her position as the Commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference after completing 11 years of service. Hired as the first full-time Commissioner for the NAC in May of 2005, Muller played an integral role in its growth and development, leading the conference through strategic planning processes and several membership transitions. She currently serves on the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force and recently completed terms on the Women Leaders in College Sport (formerly NACWAA) Board of Directors and the Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee. Muller served as a member of the Executive Committee of the DIII Commissioners Association and as President from 2013-2015. She was a member of the NCAA Division III Interpretations and Legislation Committee, Women Leaders Nominating Committee and the chair of the NCAA Woman of the Year Committee. She was recognized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference as the 2011 Female Administrator of the Year and by the DIII Commissioners Association with the 10 Year Service Appreciation Award in 2015. Muller was named the 2016 Women Leaders Administrator of the Year in the Association and Organization category.

​Muller began her career in college athletics at her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham starting as an assistant field hockey coach in 1988 and advancing to the position of Associate Athletic Director/SWA and head coach for the Devils. In 2000 she left this position to take on the role of Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development at Stony Brook University. Muller has a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Services, a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Graduate Certificates in Coaching and Non-Profit Management. In addition to her position with the NAC, she currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for Stony Brook University in the School of Professional Development, Graduate Coaching Certificate and Higher Education programs and for Castleton University’s MS Program in Athletic Leadership.


Erica Rau
The 2018 season is Erica Rau’s eighth as the head coach of the Oberlin College volleyball team. In the spring of 2016 she was also named as the department's senior woman administrator (SWA).
Since taking over the Yeowomen, Rau has changed the culture within the program as the team has improved upon its win total in nearly every season under her guidance.

In her role was SWA, Rau serves on the athletics senior staff and is the deputy title IX coordinator for athletics for the institution.
The Rau File
- 52 total wins over the last four seasons (2013-17)
- Tied a school record for conference winning percentage in 2013 (.500 / 4-4)
- Won a match at the NCAC Tournament in three out of the last five years (2012-14)
- Mentored numerous players to All-NCAC honors
- Guided Molly Powers '16 to the school record in digs
- Led three-time All-NCAC selection Meredith Leung to over 3,000 career assists and 1,000 career digs
- In 2016 first-year Lexi Mitchell led the NCAC in aces and was a second-team All-NCAC selection
- Prior to Oberlin spent three years as an assistant coach at Carnegie Mellon University, helping the Tartans to the NCAA Tournament in 2008
- Named 2006 High School Coach of the Year by the Gettysburg Times.
- Played at Gettysburg College from 2002-2005. A four-year starter at middle hitter, she helped lead the Bullets to four-straight Centennial Conference    Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. During her senior season she served as team captain and was named second-team all-conference.
- Graduated from Gettysburg with a BA in management in 2006 and an MBA from Robert Morris University in 2012.



First Last Coaching Position Institution Sport
Valerie Lohr Head Coach Allegheny Field Hockey
Ashley  Donnelly Asst. Coach Allegheny Women's Volleyball
Sara  Lee Head Coach Denison Women's Basketball
Laina  Walker Asst. Coach Denison Softball
Kristina Corona Head Coach DePauw Women's Soccer
Kayla  Grimsley Asst. Coach DePauw Women's Soccer
Emily Girasole Head Coach Earlham Field Hockey
Lauren  Horton Head Coach Earlham Volleyball
Bri Dishing Head Coach Hiram Women's Lacrosse
Alex  Dellas Head Coach Hiram Women's Basketball
Arianna  Kreush Asst. Coach Hiram Women's Lacrosse
Samantha  Campbell Head Coach Hiram Cheer and Stunt
Hannah Saiz Asst. Coach Kenyon Swimming & Diving
Jacque Demarco Head Coach Kenyon Field Hockey
Kendra Musher Head Coach Kenyon Women's Volleyball
Kelly Bryan Head Coach Kenyon Women's Soccer
Erica Rau Head Coach Oberlin Women's Volleyball
Sara Schoenhoft Head Coach Oberlin Softball
Sally Snover Asst. Coach Oberlin Softball
Kenia Cole Asst. Coach Oberlin Women's Basketball
Izzy Alexander Asst. Coach Oberlin Cross Country/Track & Field
Lynda Mcandlish Head Coach Oberlin Women's Lacrosse
Jess Paine Asst. Coach Oberlin Field Hockey
Jen Simonetti Asst. Coach Oberlin Women's Soccer
Chloe Shell Asst. Coach Ohio Wesleyan Softball
Becca Madison Asst. Coach Ohio Wesleyan Women's Soccer
Andriel Doolittle Head Coach Ohio Wesleyan Women's Rowing
Megan  Mummey Asst. Coach Wittenberg Women's Basketball
Sarah  Morris Asst. Coach Wittenberg Women's Soccer
Sarah Davis Head Coach Wooster Women's Volleyball
Liz Ford Head Coach Wooster Women's Lacrosse
Katie Kocher Asst. Coach Wooster Women's Lacrosse