Sports

The Future is now: New coaches push forward the vision of competition, faith and success.

As the summer sets and a new school year opens its doors, there is much for which to be excited, especially as it regards EU Athletics. With the Softball field reconstructed, Lacrosse field further maintained, and new equipment added to the Fitness Center, the addition of four new head coaches is certain to push forward the vision of competition, faith, and success embodied by EU Athletics. These new coaches, Jason Falvo, Terri Adams, Elizabeth Gainer and Thomas Kennedy, have risen above all others in a national search geared toward establishing a coaching coalition that aligns with Eastern University’s values and moto, “Faith, Reason, & Justice.” 

Brought in as a solution to Mike Wilson’s exit, Jason Falvo brings talent, excitement and experience—a formula which has given him championship success throughout his coaching career. 

After spending thirteen years at Waynesburg University, where he coached both Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Falvo is excited to be able to coach here at Eastern. Upon looking at the roster, and meeting his team, Falvo is confident in calling them “one of the best teams I have ever coached.” 

This year, moreover, Athletic Director Eric McNelly is proud that for the first time in school history, full time coaches have been assigned to the Softball, Cross Country and Women’s Lacrosse programs. When analyzing elements factoring into the success of various teams, McNelly saw “two rosters that were underachieving, always barely having enough for a team.” The main predictor, he found, “both [programs] had part-time coaches.” 

After two challenging years for Softball, EU Athletics seems to have found a saving grace in the name of Terri Adams. A coach of proven caliber, Adams led the Softball program at St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia) for more than a decade. Celebrated in her position as head coach, she was named Coach of the Year eight times. However, after tragedy struck her family—her husband was diagnosed with cancer—Adams took the difficult decision to step away from the sport. 

By the grace of God, and the miracle of medicine, as her husband is now in remission, Adams has once again been reunited with her long-held passion. 

With the amount of resources allocated toward rebuilding Softball, it is only fitting that the program should be led by such a renowned, talented and accomplished leader. In Women’s Lacrosse, Elizabeth Gainer has been signaled to lead the way toward success. An accomplished collegiate athlete at Loyola College, Gainer enters Eastern with the experience of having coached at the University of Charleston, as well as other Division I and II programs. 

Gainer is no stranger to Eastern, however, as her mom also coached here during Gainer’s childhood. As McNelly beautifully phrases it, Gainer’s entrance “brings it back full circle.” 

After a number of years as assistant coach, Tom Kennedy is now at the helm of the newly established position of Cross-Country Head Coach. Known as “Coach K,” Kennedy brings formidable experience to the role. Kennedy’s accomplishments include a successful run leading programs at Cardinal O’Hara, and a strong stint, as mentioned, here at Eastern. 

While at Eastern, in his assistant coach role, Kennedy has helped several athletes achieve All-American status, and has also developed the collegiate careers of multiple distance runners. 

It is evident that McNelly’s vision for the future of EU Athletics has one goal: to make Eastern a leader among NCAA Division III colleges. With this goal in mind, four outstanding coaches have joined the Eagle family—all with the experience, passion and determination to help our Eagles soar higher than ever before. 

McNelly’s philosophy is clear; “Invest the money, give our student-athletes the experience they deserve.” 

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