Morristown, N.J. (November 24, 2015) – In November 2015, the NCAA notified the College of Saint Elizabeth that it has their approval to add men's sports teams starting in fall 2016 with soccer and basketball.
Juliene Simpson, director of CSE Athletics, has been working on the plan since the College's Board of Trustees voted in June 2015 to shift the College to being fully coeducational in fall 2016. In the notification she received from the NCAA, she was told not only was CSE approved, but the committee that oversees the process was "incredibly impressed that the documentation was so complete and all the points were covered, so there was no need for additional correspondence."
The strategic plan for athletics calls for planning, organizing, staffing, budgeting, and maintaining Title IX compliance to ensure that all efforts are gender equal.
According to Simpson, "Athletics is one of the engines used to move into a coeducational facility. Everyone has pulled together as a team to make sure that we are fully prepared for young men to join our campus next fall."
Saint Joseph Hall, where the athletic department and facilities are located, has undergone regular renovations in the past three years that are typical of maintenance. The renovations now required for coeducation will be to split the two existing locker rooms in half to accommodate both visiting male and female teams as well as the home teams.
Two coaches, Tom Wagenblast and James Ellison, have been hired to develop men's basketball and soccer teams respectively. During this season, two more coaches will be hired to field men's tennis and volleyball, and in the 2017-2018 season a swim coach will be hired. By 2019, CSE will be in full compliance with NCAA requirements to field five teams within three years.
Meet the New Coaches
Tom Wagenblast, Men's Basketball
Tom Wagenblast was hired as the new Head Men's Basketball Coach and Admissions Recruiter in the fall of 2015. The men's basketball team will begin play for the 2016-2017 season with the opening game on November 15, 2016.
Tom is very happy to be at CSE for a number of reasons. He is looking forward to assembling an entire team for 2016 season. His focus will be on getting freshmen to commit to a four-year stint to develop a team that will represent the school well.
"I am looking for that student who has an ambition to be part of the team-building process and excel in academics as well," he explains.
He arrived from Kean University, where he was the Associate Head Coach for seven seasons. As a member of the athletics department, the Kean University Men's Basketball coaching staff was awarded with the Sam Schoenfeld Award given by the Collegiate Basketball Officials Association three times. The Schoenfeld Award is presented to the college or university, which in the judgment of the CBOA membership best exemplifies "the highest degree of sportsmanship, character, and ethics among their players, coaches and spectators."
At CSE, Tom is responsible for starting up the men's basketball program.
"This is a dream of mine – to build a program from the ground up. It is a great opportunity to meet the students who want a higher education and to play ball," he says. "The insane task will be making them into a team in 30 days next fall, but if the student athletes are ready, we will be able to do it!"
Tom splits his time as a recruiting coordinator where he is assisting admissions in the recruitment of incoming students.
"I am looking for students of all backgrounds," he explains. "I have been talking to coaches and guidance counselors to find students who will be a good fit for the program."
James Ellison, Men's Soccer
James Ellison brings over 27 years of soccer coaching experience to CSE. He has years of coaching experience at the collegiate level as the head assistant coach for the women's soccer team at Muhlenberg College and the head assistant coach for the women's team at his alma mater, East Stroudsburg University. He was named the interim head coach his final season at ESU.
More recently, James served as the head men's varsity soccer coach at East Stroudsburg Area School District. Prior to coaching in East Stroudsburg, he was the assistant coach for the Pocono Snow men's soccer team, head assistant coach for both men's and women's soccer teams at Stroudsburg High School and also the coach for FC Pocono Soccer Club.
He has received many accolades as a coach. He was named Mountain Valley Conference Soccer Coach of the Year three times, Pocono Record Soccer Coach of the Year three times, District 12 Soccer Coach of the Year and Northeast Atlantic Conference Soccer Coach of the Year. Coach Ellison's teams have also had tremendous success under his leadership. His teams won the Mountain Valley Conference Championship four times, District XI Champions twice, 2012 Morning Call Team of the Year, Northeast Atlantic Conference Champions and was the assistant coach on the 1994 soccer team that was introduced into the ESU Hall of Fame.
During his undergraduate years, he was a four-year starter and two-time captain on the soccer team. After graduating from ESU, Ellison went on to play professional soccer for the Delaware Wizards and Philadelphia Freedom of the USISL.