Bakeer Ganes takes over for Bob Bertucci, who resigned last year.
Bakeer Ganes, the new head coach of the women’s volleyball team, plans to rebuild a team that his former mentor, Bob Bertucci, once coached to seven Atlantic Ten Conference regular-season titles.
As an assistant coach for five years at West Virginia University, Ganes was the top choice to fulfill the opening for the Owls’ vacant coaching position, according to the search committee, Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said.
“We are really excited we got the best coach available from that search,” Bradshaw said. “When I met him I got a sense of his passion for the sport of women’s volleyball, and we know he will be a positive factor in their program.”
Ganes takes over after the resignation of Bertucci, who served 16 years as the head coach and became the coach with the most wins in program history with 315. Bertucci, a three-time A-10 Coach of the Year, took the Owls to 14- straight conference tournaments prior to his final season.
“The program was very successful in the past,” Ganes said. “I know coming into this position I have big shoes to fill.”
The Owls finished last season with a 4-25 overall record and were tied for ninth in the conference with a 1-14 mark in A-10 play. Ganes will begin to prepare the squad for the start of next season in the fall.
“If we all work together, I’m very confident we can get back to where [the program] used to be,” Ganes said. “Right now, our focus isn’t with wins or losses. We got to make sure we train the right way.”
Prior to his coaching career, Ganes studied under Bertucci during offseason summer camps in 2005 and 2006. Bertucci named Ganes a coordinator to help coach middle school and high school volleyball players at his camps in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country.
“It’s funny because I feel like almost everybody in the states worked at one time in their career for Bob,” Ganes said. “Coach Bertucci is very good at breaking down the game to the fundamentals and teaching the techniques.”
Ganes said he learned the basics from Bertucci before his start as an assistant coach at Cedar Valley College in Grand Prairie, Texas. He helped coach the Suns to a co-conference championship in the 2005-2006 season.
At West Virginia, Ganes earned his master’s in athletic coaching education while serving for two years as a graduate assistant coach and then as a full-time assistant for the Mountaineers for three years. Ganes helped the Mountaineers finish 17-13 in 2009 and 15-15 last season.
Over the years, Ganes established connections with club teams in “hot bed” recruiting places such as California, Texas and the Midwest. Ganes said his experience as the recruiting coordinator at West Virginia will be put to use as he scouts new talent for the Owls.
“I think what we need to do here at Temple is we need to find a mix of recruiting places,” Ganes said. “I think international recruiting is going to play a big role. It’s probably one of my big assets that I do have international connections in Europe and in South America.”
“A lot of my former teammates are coaches now, so I’m going to use those connections to get some quality players to come to Temple,” Ganes added.
Ganes, who started playing volleyball at the age of eight in Germany, said he still maintains relationships with the junior club and national programs in the country. As a college volleyball player, Ganes attended Queens College, where he was a four-year letter winner and part of two conference championship teams.
As an international player, Ganes said he is familiar with the paperwork process international players go through to become eligible to play in the United States.
“The focus at this point is to get some international kids and to try to get some California kids out here,” Ganes said. “Right now, it’s a little tough. It’s really cold outside, so I’m just waiting until it warms up to get some more visits.”
As Ganes makes the transition from coaching in the Big East, he said he finds his current position as a coach in the A-10 an “intriguing” challenge.
“The biggest challenge right now is just to create an environment where the players feel comfortable,” Ganes said. “I tell my players we got to look at the big picture. I’m not here for a year or two, but I’m here for the long haul, and I want to create a stable foundation where we can be successful for a long time to come.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at email@example.com.