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In her heart of hearts, Brianna Liebold ’11 believes she wouldn’t stand where she does today if not for her IUP track and field coaches, Michelle Burgher M’13 and Kurt Duncan. Their help came not in landing a job after college but years earlier.

Brianna Liebold leads the cross country and track and field programs at Cheyney University.

A former IUP All-American in the long jump, Brianna Liebold, left, leads the cross country and track and field programs at Cheyney University. Cheyney Sports Information

If not for them, Liebold said, she wouldn’t be tough enough to handle the challenges she faces now as a first-year head coach of a fledgling program.

“Oh my gosh,” Liebold said, her voice rising as she spoke of Burgher and Duncan. “My coaches at IUP completely changed me, 110 percent, as an athlete and an individual. They made me the type of person who can handle anything. And I don’t think I would have been able to handle everything here at Cheyney without them. They broke me down, but then they built me back up. They were tough, but every chance I get, I thank them. I often tell my athletes about IUP and how hard they were on us.”

Liebold served as an assistant coach for four seasons at Cheyney University before she was promoted in August to interim head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs.

Although the Wolves regularly field talented athletes, low participation and poor results in recent years have taken a toll on morale. Some days, Liebold has more events to fill than she has available athletes.

That makes for some tough days on the track, and yet, she couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity she’s been given. She hopes to influence athletes’ lives in the same way her IUP coaches influenced her.

“You can’t come into a situation, knowing what it is, and not have some type of motivation to fix it,” she said. “There are some days I think I’m never going to fix it, and then there are days I think, ‘Hey, there’s lots of potential.’ The good days outweigh the bad. The important thing is to keep the athletes believing.”

Liebold admitted to being “in over my head” during the fall semester, but she said she’s made progress on changing the culture and is now focused on creating an “atmosphere of championship-minded athletes.”

With her growth as a coach come frequent reminders of her models at IUP.

“I still see coaches Burgher and Duncan from time to time, and I always tell them how much I see them in me when I say certain things,” Liebold said. “I think to myself, ‘I just sounded like Coach Burgher there.’”

Alumni Notes

Villarrial -313

Former IUP football standout Chris Villarrial earned Northeast Conference Coach of the Year honors for leading the St. Francis Red Flash to a breakout season. Photograph: St. Francis Sports Information

A former IUP football standout and All-Pro NFL offensive lineman, Chris Villarrial ’95 was tabbed the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year after leading the St. Francis Red Flash to a breakout season last fall. The Red Flash went 7-4 to record the team’s first winning season since 1992. A member of the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame, Villarrial climbed to third place on the school’s wins list last fall, raising his career total to 24 victories in six seasons. Villarrial played 11 seasons in the NFL with Chicago and Buffalo. Joining him at St. Francis is Marco Pecora, who played one season at IUP in 2013 after transferring from Pitt. Pecora is entering his third season as the Red Flash’s defensive backs coach. In January, Chase Haslett M’15 was hired as an offensive quality control assistant at the University of Nebraska. Son of Jim Haslett ’91, a former IUP All-American (1976-78), the younger Haslett was IUP’s starting quarterback in 2014 and early last season.

After spending the past two seasons playing professional basketball in his native Uruguay, Marcel Souberbielle ’14 was drafted in December by Leones de Ponce, one of the top professional teams in Puerto Rico. Souberbielle played two seasons in his hometown of Montevideo with Malvin, which competes in the Liga de las Americas, the top league in South America. A four-year player at IUP, Souberbielle helped lead the Crimson Hawks to two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships and four NCAA tournament appearances. His 1,169 career points put him at 19th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Kristen Tunno ’11 is in her second season as the head softball coach at Glenville State College, a Division II school in West Virginia. Tunno was a starting outfielder for IUP in 2011, when the Crimson Hawks won a school-record 38 games and captured their first PSAC and Atlantic Region titles en route to their first appearance in the College World Series. Tunno still ranks second in school history with a .370 career batting average and fourth with 192 career hits. She also ranks in the top 10 in several other offensive categories, including at-bats, RBIs, doubles, triples, and total bases.

An assistant softball coach under Bill Graham on that 2011 PSAC title-winning team, Megan Timpf M’10 is back on the East Coast after one year at UNLV, and she has turned her focus exclusively to coaching. A 2008 Beijing Olympian and a member of Canada’s national team since 2005, Timpf announced her retirement in January. She is in her first season as the top assistant for Division I Stony Brook University in New York. Since leaving IUP after the 2011 season, she has made stops at Division II Barry University in Florida and UNLV before landing the Stony Brook job.

Gabrielle Hoffman ’08 is in her eighth season as the long jump and triple jump coach for the Cumberland Valley High School track and field program in Mechanicsburg. Her father, Bill Hoffman ’74, is a longtime sprints and hurdles coach for McDowell High School in Erie.

A standout midfielder on IUP’s field hockey teams that made back-to-back appearances in the national semifinals in 2006 and 2007, Sylvia Guerrieri ’10 completed her first season as the girls’ field hockey head coach at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. She led the Patriots to an 8-10-1 mark.

A lifelong hockey enthusiast who played for the IUP men’s ice hockey club for five seasons, Patrick Damp ’14 serves as an account executive for the Wheeling Nailers, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ East Coast Hockey League affiliate. Damp joined the Nailers in January of last year as a media relations intern.

Alex Gett ’07, M’12 is in his third season as a strength and conditioning coach in the Kansas City Royals’ minor league system.

In January, the University of Pittsburgh athletic department hired Kelly Dumrauf ’13 as a media relations assistant. She previously served in a similar capacity at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Kyle Heckelman ’13 is regional sales manager for Monumental Sports and Entertainment in Arlington, Virginia, which owns and operates the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and Washington, DC’s Verizon Center.

And at IUP, Steve Roach ’01 was promoted in December to succeed Frank Condino as director of athletics. Roach took over the role on an interim basis in January of last year, following Condino’s retirement. He previously served two years as the athletic department’s associate director and compliance officer. Before that, Roach worked in athletic administration for five years at Millersville and for two years at Slippery Rock.

More from the Spring 2016 Issue of IUP Magazine

Race: The Next Step

Race: The Next Step

A racist photo that went viral on social media has brought an age-old problem—at IUP and across the nation—to the forefront of campus business.

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

Open Spaces, Modern Graces

IUP’s new academic building, replacing Keith and Leonard halls, houses the space, the technology, and the minds to prepare today’s students for tomorrow.

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