Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Coaches Earn Prestigious Accolades

Photo courtesy of Amanda Phillips
Shiva Senthil is the men’s basketball head coach.

In team sports, a head coach plays one of the most important roles. Leading a team through good times, bad times, or even in the offseason, it’s a head coach’s job to make the team successful  and push athletes to the best of their abilities. The Oberlin Athletics Department recruits coaches who help athletes succeed both on and off the field, so it comes as no surprise when their efforts are recognized. This last week two coaches received important nominations as they were recognized for their achievements and leadership abilities: Head Coach Erica Rau of the women’s volleyball team and Head Coach Shiva Senthil of the men’s basketball team.

Coach Erica Rau was elected for a second time to the Board of Directors of the American Volleyball Coaches Association as the NCAA Division III Women’s Representative. 

“I am grateful to be elected for a second term to the AVCA Board of Directors,” Rau wrote in an email to the Review. “I feel respected by my peers, and I am excited to continue my work with the AVCA and D3 volleyball.”  

In her first term as the NCAA Division III Women’s Representative, Rau set goals advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as well as advancing legislative polls.

“In my second term, my primary goals are to advance legislative proposals, coordinate match scheduling, improve training for AVCA Awards and poll committees, collaborate with the NCAA DIII Women’s Volleyball Committee, and continue to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Rau wrote. 

Coach Rau just concluded her 13th season at Oberlin as volleyball head coach. In these 13 seasons she has led the team to five double-digit win seasons, coached 15 players to all-NCAC Honors, and holds the record for most wins (98) during her time as coach. Aside from her job as a coach, Rau is also the deputy Title IX coordinator for the Athletics Department. 

The volleyball team finished with a record of 13–10 and 3–4 in the NCAC Conference, another double-digit winning season and a remarkable run for the team.

“This season has meant so much to me,” Rau wrote. “We were always a solid team but couldn’t quite get off the plateau. We worked hard on our team culture over the past two years, and we saw the success of it this year. This is the team culture I have always envisioned, and I am so proud of my team and everything they have accomplished this year.”

Although volleyball’s season just came to an end, Rau and the team are now focused on making the spring 2024 season one to remember.

Coach Shiva Senthil was named among the Most Influential Division III Head Coaches by Silver Waves Media. Senthil is entering his second year as the men’s basketball coach after a first season with eight wins, including one against the College of Wooster, who the Yeomen hadn’t won against since 1988.

“The award means a lot to me,” Senthil wrote in an email to the Review. “One of the best parts of coaching is seeing the impact you can have on the lives of your players. I have been fortunate enough to see a lot of my players do some wonderful things. I have seen players go from wide-eyed first years, to graduating, getting incredible careers, and starting families of their own. Seeing your players grow up and progress through their lives in a meaningful way is so special and rewarding as a coach.”

His nomination to the Most Influential Division III Head Coaches is no surprise, as his impact on the team was notable throughout this past season. The team drastically improved their rebounding skills, and Senthil helped Đorđe Otašević, OC ’23, to season-high numbers and a nomination to NCAC Second Team Honors. 

“Our goals as a program are to continue to develop young men while also building a winning program that can compete at the top of the NCAC,” Senthil wrote. “We have made some significant progress since our staff has been here, and I am super excited to see the continued progression in the future. We have great kids, who are fully bought in, and now it’s all about working at building winning habits everyday.”

As the basketball season has just begun, Senthil and the men’s basketball team are hoping to continue building on last year’s successes.

“I think we took a big step in the right direction last year,” Senthil wrote. “This year is about continuing that. We have some new talented faces. We have a really good culture. Now it’s about being able to get through whatever adversity we face from the season together, while continuing to build winning habits. We know the path to winning won’t be easy. We understand how good our conference is. But we also know that if we keep working at the right things, we will get there.”

The election of Coach Rau to the Board of Directors of the AVCA and the nomination of Coach Senthil to the Most influential Division III Head Coaches echo the passion and dedication of coaches here at Oberlin College. Congratulations to both coaches on their continued success.

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