Muskingum News


Muskies Participate in Final Four Events
Connecting Cleveland

During the 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four® in Cleveland, Ohio, several Muskingum University students and coaches had unique opportunities to participate in the Connecting Cleveland and WeCOACH events and to volunteer at Tourney Town.

Connecting Cleveland, presented by AT&T on April 4, brought college students from across the NCAA divisions together for a day of engaging with sports industry leaders. Lauren Hertle ’26, and Ethan Taylor ’25 were among the 200 students selected to attend through a competitive application process.

Soccer player Lauren Hertle is double-majoring in sport administration and sports communication and is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “It was exciting to be part of this new initiative, which the NCAA just began this year,” Lauren said. “I learned so much from listening to the keynote speakers and panels, and then discussing what we heard at our small group tables, which included mentors from throughout the sports world. We had such great opportunities to network with industry professionals and to meet students from all NCAA divisions. I was so impressed with the way the keynote speakers engaged with the audience and how willing they were to answer our questions.”

Lizzie Allen ’26 and Kenzie Bicking ’25 volunteered with the NCAA’s Tourney Town presented by Capital One throughout the Women’s Final Four Weekend. The free-to-the-public festival featured special appearances, interactive games, giveaways, historical Final Four team displays, photo opportunities, and basketball contests.

WeCOACH is a national non-profit organization dedicated to recruiting, advancing, and retaining women coaches through professional growth and leadership development programs. Among the sponsors for the April 3, 2024, Cleveland regional workshop were NCAA Women’s Basketball, the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), and Women’s Sports Foundation.

Muskingum Head Women’s Soccer Coach and Senior Woman Administrator Dani Gunderson, Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach Maelwenn Gaiffas, and Women’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Ashli Bryan attended the daylong WeCOACH workshop.

Muskie Coaches at WeCOACH

They enjoyed a keynote session with Hall of Fame CBS/ESPN Basketball Commentator Debbie Antonelli, multiple breakout panels on topics such as building culture, fundraising best practices, and elite performance, and peer-to-peer learning sessions and networking opportunities.

“The workshop was a phenomenal professional development opportunity, and it was very inspiring to share the day with more than 130 women coaches from multiple sports and divisions,” Coach Gunderson said.

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