Get the most recent Syracuse information delivered proper to your inbox. Subscribe to our sports activities publication here.
When he was 5 years outdated, Bakeer Ganesharatnam packed his baggage, set to maneuver 4,000 miles away from his residence in Sri Lanka to Stuttgart, Germany. Like in most educational curricula within the West, Ganesharatnam grew up attending necessary bodily training lessons. He loved basketball, soccer, fencing and desk tennis, however volleyball caught his eye. He observed the need for teamwork and selflessness and the way every participant on the courtroom touched the ball.
“It’s a must to make sure that it’s a very good workforce altogether and never only one good participant,” Ganesharatnam mentioned.
In June, Syracuse College introduced Ganesharatnam because the seventh head coach within the volleyball program’s historical past. The Orange are at present rebuilding after dropping 9 gamers from final 12 months, however Ganesharatnam is able to tackle the problem.
“Our purpose is to construct a brand new workforce with a robust basis, culturally, but in addition from a aggressive standpoint so we are able to transfer ahead,” Ganesharatnam mentioned. “Our purpose is to compete on the highest stage on this convention.”
The Sri Lankan Civil Struggle compelled Ganesharatnam household’s abrupt emigration. However in 1990, Ganesharatnam landed a spot as a participant for VFL Sindelfingen, a neighborhood volleyball membership in Stuttgart. Over the following decade, Sindelfingen gained a number of regional and state championships.
As his college profession ended, Ganesharatnam wished to hunt a brand new problem “someplace totally different.” On the time, he had household dwelling in New York Metropolis. After persistent persuasion, Ganesharatnam was ultimately drawn to what his cousin known as the “biggest place on the planet.”
Ganesharatnam enrolled at St. John’s College in New York Metropolis for his freshman 12 months. Initially, he seen his transfer to the USA a trial interval to see whether or not he loved it. However sooner or later, whereas taking part in volleyball at a neighborhood recreation league, a St. John’s assistant coach approached Ganesharatnam, asking if he competed at a excessive stage earlier than. The coach relayed phrase of Ganasharatnam’s expertise to Karl Pierre, then the coach of Queens School’s volleyball workforce.
“He was astounding,” Pierre mentioned. “He was dedicated, prepared to pay attention and study, and had a pleasant temperament; you couldn’t have requested for a greater participant.”
Ganesharatnam’s ability and finesse confirmed early on in his relationship with Pierre. After a number of coaching periods, he obtained a full scholarship for the remaining three years of eligibility, prompting him to switch from St. John’s. Ganesharatnam made an instantaneous impression at Queens, main the entrance line as a center blocker.
“He got here in, mild-mannered and hard-working,” former Affiliate Athletic Director Merlin Thompson mentioned. “When somebody is that pushed, you possibly can’t assist however connect your self to them.”
The sport in Europe was gradual and technical, but it surely was flamboyant, highly effective and fast in America. Ganesharatnam progressively tailored to the brand new model, serving to the Knights to 2 convention championships whereas pursuing a possible profession in politics.
Eva Morris | Design Editor
After graduating from Queens, Ganesharatnam labored for a few volleyball camps to make some extra cash on the aspect. His affection for the job grew, and he took on an assistant teaching position at Cedar Valley School.
On the time, Ganesharatnam didn’t suppose teaching would grow to be his career. So after a short stint in Grand Prairie, Texas, he determined to return to highschool at West Virginia, the place he took on a graduate assistant job to assist cowl the prices of his training. After one semester with the Mountaineers, he modified his main to athletic teaching training and sports activities administration.
Regardless of the pivot in focus, Ganesharatnam was nonetheless deeply inquisitive about political science. He was grateful for the way Germany accepted immigrant households like his personal and was intrigued by the openness with which its residents talked about political points and insurance policies. Nonetheless, his devotion to volleyball finally took heart stage.
“I like teaching as a result of it requires fixed constructing,” Ganesharatnam mentioned. “It’s multi-faceted. It’s not only a nine-to-five. It’s multi-dimensional.”
After incomes his grasp’s diploma at West Virginia, Ganesharatnam stayed as a recruiter and a full-time assistant coach for 3 extra seasons earlier than being provided the pinnacle teaching job at Temple. The Owls had an abysmal season the 12 months earlier than Ganesharatnam’s arrival in 2011, ending with a 1-14 file within the Atlantic 10 convention and a 4-25 file total. Ganesharatnam was tasked with rebuilding this system.
Stephanie Zaso | Design Editor
Akiko Hatakeyama, one in all Ganesharatnam’s long-tenured assistant coaches at Temple, mentioned it took some time to create a profitable tradition.
“We have been at all times underdogs. Individuals at all times underestimated us for some motive, so we needed to outwork everybody else each single day,” Hatakeyama mentioned.
Now working as an assistant coach for Nevada’s volleyball workforce, Hatakeyama remembered the habits and values that Ganesharatnam instilled at Temple.
“He by no means compelled gamers to do something,” mentioned Hatakeyama. “He introduced within the philosophy of being structured and disciplined, which I actually revered.”
Ganesharatnam took Temple to the 2020-21 American Athletic Convention Match Championship, selecting up AAC co-Coach of the Yr honors within the course of. However, on prime of his accolades, Pierre and Thompson have been impressed with Ganesharatnam’s demeanor off the courtroom.
“The best way that he treats others stands out,” Pierre mentioned. “Ask any of his colleagues or teammates, they usually’d all say the identical.”
Revealed on September 5, 2022 at 1:08 am
Contact Tyler: [email protected]