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Summer 2005 | Volume 28, Number 2 | Athletics

You Can Call Them “Coach”: SPU Fills Women’s Basketball and Volleyball Positions

TWO NEW COACHES MOVED into offices in Brougham Pavilion this summer. Chris Johnson was elevated to head coach of women’s volleyball while Julie van Beek was handed the helm of women’s basketball.

In van Beek, Seattle Pacific University gets a proven winner. At Nashville’s Trevecca Nazarene, she averaged 21 wins over her final six seasons and took the Trojans to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2005. Trevecca was a combined 162-119 under van Beek, who will be the first female coach for SPU since 1982.

A Northwest native, she graduated from Northwest Nazarene University. NNU is also the alma mater of longtime Falcon coach Gordy Presnell, who resigned June 3 after 18 years to accept a position at Boise State.

Van Beek inherits a Seattle Pacific squad that advanced to the NCAA national championship game in 2005 and finished 30-3. Four starters, all seniors, are back from a program that has won three straight conference crowns and two West Region titles in a row.

“Julie is a terrific coach and inspiring Christian woman,” says Athletic Director Tom Box. “She is known for building strong relationships, and not only teaches the game of basketball but also addresses life’s lessons.”

“I take over a great program,” says van Beek, “and I know there are a lot of great coaches out there who wanted this job. I have met the players and they are super-impressive. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

Johnson, an assistant coach last season, replaces Kellie Ryan, who resigned in April after five seasons and a record of 83-51. A native of Bellevue, Washington, and graduate of Westmont College, Johnson makes his debut August 27 with a tournament in Big Rapids, Michigan.

“We searched the nation aggressively and found a very compelling candidate right under our own noses,” says Box. “Chris brings fresh ideas and will move the program forward.”


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