The Syracuse Orange volleyball program has unveiled its new head coach. Bakeer Ganesharatnam takes the reigns with sixteen years of previous coaching experience. He replaces Leonid Yelin, who resigned after leading the team for the last decade including a record of 17-13 (6-12 ACC) last year.
Ganesharatnam just concluded an eleven-year stint with the Temple Owls where his teams won a combined 173 games. Four of those seasons (2014-2017) featured at least 20 wins. Just two years ago, he guided the Owls to an AAC Tournament Championship appearance. The performance earned him 2020-21 American Volleyball Coaches Association North Region Coach of the Year and AAC co-Coach of the Year honors.
However, the Cherry and White are coming off a very disappointing 7-24 (3-17 AAC) season that led to Ganesharatnam not receiving a contract extension. Before joining the Owls, Bakeer spent five seasons as an assistant coach at West Virginia.
I find this hire to be interesting because the last three hires Syracuse has made have put women in charge of women’s teams, and in those cases women were replacing men. In the latest Women in College Coaching Report Card from the University of Minnesota, Syracuse received a grade of “D” which is an improvement (and doesn’t count Legette-Jack or Smith) so there will be even more progress next year. However this seemed to be an opportunity to continue to add to the number of women leading teams, especially since the coaching shuffle still has more men in assistant coach roles on women’s teams. Hopefully this move does help elevate the Syracuse program back to another NCAA appearance.