William Peace University Introduces First-Ever Head Women’s, Men’s Lacrosse Coaches
After announcing the addition of women’s and men’s lacrosse just over a month ago, William Peace University’s Director of Athletics, Phil Rowe, has concluded his coaching search, hiring Akasha Kasper as the head coach for the women’s program and Nate Bates as the head coach for the men’s program. Kasper and Bates will also serve as the Pacers’ first-ever strength and conditioning coaches.
Kasper comes to Peace from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she served an assistant coach for the women’s lacrosse program since August 2014 after earning her degree from Queens University in the spring of that same year. Involved in virtually all aspects of the program, Kasper has been particularly instrumental on the recruiting trail, helping to bring in the largest, most talented recruiting class to date in 2016.
“I am very excited to be the first coach for the women’s lacrosse program at William Peace University. It is an incredibly unique and exciting opportunity to establish a culture that will allow more female student athletes to attend William Peace for years to come.”
In addition to graduating Magna Cum Laude, Kasper was a standout player at Queens on the defensive end, where she earned a starting spot as a freshman and started all 71 games in her career. Following a stellar rookie campaign, Kasper was named to the IWLCA All- American and All-Region teams, the Synapse Sports All-Rookie Team, the USACollegeLacrosse.com All-American Rookie Team, and she was a Conference Carolinas All-Conference First Team selection. Kasper was an All-Conference performer all four years and a two-time All-Tournament Team member, leading the Royals to a South Atlantic Conference regular season championship and tournament championship in 2014.
A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, where she was an all-state performer at Western Guilford High School, Kasper has gained valuable coaching experience with multiple clubs in the area. She served as an assistant coach with the Greensboro Select Lacrosse club team from 2010 to 2012 and Greensboro’s NC Elite Lacrosse club team starting in 2014.
Kasper also served as a camp coach for Queens’ women’s lacrosse camp from 2012 to 2015 and Maryland University’s women’s lacrosse camp in 2014.
“I am very excited to be the first coach for the women’s lacrosse program at William Peace University. It is an incredibly unique and exciting opportunity to establish a culture that will allow more female student athletes to attend William Peace for years to come, and I would like to thank Dr. Brian Ralph, Frank Rizzo and Coach Rowe for this opportunity,” Kasper said. “Coach Rowe’s vision for the future of athletics at Peace is inspiring and parallels mine for the future of lacrosse at Peace, which is to build a team based on the commitment to excellence. Each member of the team will be expected to perform at the highest level on the field, in the classroom, and within the community. Again, I look forward to becoming part of the Pacer community and am very thankful for this opportunity.”
“Searching for a leader to launch our Women’s Lacrosse program was an exciting task for all of us here at the University. During our search we had many outstanding candidates pursuing the opportunity to build a competitive collegiate program, but throughout our whole process, Akasha Kasper consistently rose to the top of the candidates pursuing this challenge,” Rowe said. “Akasha has demonstrated to all of us her passion for building a culture of success that will be felt throughout the WPU community. We feel that we have a “rising star” in the lacrosse community joining us, and we look forward to working with Akasha as she embarks on this exciting journey.”
Since 2010, Bates has served as an assistant men’s lacrosse coach and recruiting coordinator at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was involved in all aspects of the men’s lacrosse program. Bates also served as the Director of Outdoor Athletic Facilities for the Quakers, overseeing all maintenance and planning for outdoor facilities. Bates served as an associate professor in sports science as well, developing and implementing curriculum for Fitness and Wellness courses.
Prior to a two-year stint as an academic support teacher and assistant football and lacrosse coach at Skaneateles High School (2008-2010), Bates served as an assistant men’s lacrosse coach and recruiting coordinator at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He spent one season on the sidelines, helping the Falcons reach the 2008 Middle Atlantic Conference title game.
From 2005 to 2007, Bates served as Assistant Athletic Director and the Head Boys’ Lacrosse Coach at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he earned the 2007 Indiana High School Lacrosse Association Coach of the Year Award. During his time there, Bates was also the Vice President and Game Schedule Coordinator for the Indiana Youth Lacrosse Association from 2006 to 2007.
Bates started his coaching career at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana as an undergraduate before earning his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2005. Bates started the program as an undergraduate and served as the school’s first head lacrosse coach from 2000 to 2004, where he was a four-year starter on the team and also played football three of those four years. Bates was a three-year captain on the lacrosse team, graduated as the program’s second all-time leading scorer, and garnered All-America honors from the United States Lacrosse Men’s Division of Intercollegiate Associates.
“After meeting Coach Rowe, the administration and staff members at WPU, I was instantly impressed with the vision and direction they have for the university. I couldn’t be more excited to be tasked with beginning this new chapter of Pacer Athletics.”
In addition, Bates co-founded the Carolina Hilltoppers in 2011, a youth lacrosse club based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Bates served as Head Coach as well as the Director of Player Development and College Recruiting until 2014.
Bates has worked several high profile camps at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Syracuse and Delaware, as well as numerous tournaments and clinics in 15 different states. He even served as the equipment manager for Team USA’s U-19 men’s lacrosse squad during the 2008 U-19 World Championship.
Bates currently resides in Gibsonville, NC but will be making the move to Raleigh with his wife Brianne, his son Jack, daughter Adeline, and will be welcoming a third child in February.
“I would like to thank Dr. Brian Ralph, Frank Rizzo, and Coach Rowe for this outstanding opportunity,” Bates said. “I have been keeping my eye on William Peace for the last few years and hoping the university would take this step. After meeting Coach Rowe, the administration and staff members at WPU, I was instantly impressed with the vision and direction they have for the university. I couldn’t be more excited to be tasked with beginning this new chapter of Pacer Athletics.”
“The academic offerings, location and campus upgrades make William Peace an outstanding place for student-athletes to spend the next four years and lacrosse is being welcomed with open arms,” Bates added. “The university truly understands the value our program will add to the campus, community and greater Raleigh area. I couldn’t be more excited to offer student-athletes an opportunity to make history as the first Pacer lacrosse players and begin an exciting new tradition here at Peace.”
“Coach Bates has the drive, passion and background we were looking for in someone to lead William Peace University’s Lacrosse program. Nate has demonstrated his recruiting and teaching skills at every place he has been, and we believe he is the right person to bring quality student-athletes to our Raleigh campus,” Rowe said. “Nate will also bring a wealth of knowledge and teaching skills to our other athletic teams with his strong background in strength and conditioning which will benefit all of our student-athletes and the WPU community. We look forward to working with Nate as he develops one of the top programs in USA South.”
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