Former NU Athletes Join Cadets Coaching Ranks
Several new faces on the Norwich athletic staff are not really new at all, but alumni returning to their alma mater to help lead their former teams to success on the playing fields.
Norwich soccer fans may well remember Dirk Vandaveer ’05 from when he wore the maroon and gold jersey on Howard Field. Now the Assistant Coach of the Lady Cadets Soccer team, Vandaveer played midfield for four years on the Norwich Men’s Soccer team, serving as captain his senior year. As a freshman and sophomore, Vandaveer made the All-GNAC Second Team, and during his junior and senior campaigns, he made the All-GNAC First Team. He graduated with a degree in International Studies.
One might wonder how Vanderveer, who was born and raised in Germany, ended up playing soccer at a small private college in Vermont. The summer before his freshman year, he made the ODP European squad, and while the team was touring the United States, he was recruited to play at Norwich.
Football fans are likely to remember the name of Anthony Purdy ’05, who assisted with the Cadets’ defensive line until October, when he reported for duty in the USAF. Commissioned September 8, Purdy was a four-year player for Norwich, finishing the 2004 campaign as the Cadets' leading tackler with 88 total tackles, 63 of them unassisted. Purdy was named to the All-Empire 8 Defensive Second Team and was chosen the Cadets’ Defensive MVP. As in 2003, he was named to the All-Freedom Football Conference Defensive Second Team with 65 tackles.
Also helping out on the sidelines of the Cadets’ football team is Jason Lewis ’05, who played four seasons on the Norwich offensive line. A member of the Corps while at Norwich, Lewis graduated in 2005 with a political science degree. Currently coaching the tight ends, Lewis played high school football in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Reynoldsburgh, Ohio.
Another well-known member of the Norwich staff made his NU coaching debut this fall. Rob Lukaskiewicz, who serves as NU’s Coordinator for Academic Enhancement and Director of Advising, took over as Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country, this fall.
A varsity runner for NCAA Division I Syracuse, Lukaskiewicz competed in cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track, specializing in the 5,000 and 10,000-meter distances. In addition to his collegiate Division I experience, Lukaskiewicz coached track and field at St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington, Delaware, and cross-country at St. Francis Xavier High School in Sumter, SC.
Lukaskiewicz, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University (1992) and a Master of Arts degree from Villanova University (1994), recently resumed running competitively, transitioning to the marathon. The first time he competed at that distance, at the Vermont City Marathon, he placed 12th overall (2nd in Vermont), with a time of 2:39, qualifying him for the Boston Marathon in 2006. Even more astonishing, in only his second marathon event ever, on October 16, he came in first at the Bay State Marathon in Lowell, MA, with a time of 2:37:18.