Albany, NY- The Sage Colleges has tapped Robert Verhayden (Schenectady, NY) as the new head women's and men's volleyball coach. Verhayden will replace Sandy Augstein-Collins as the new head women's volleyball coach with her selection as the Director of Athletics for the Gators. No stranger to Sage, Verhayden spent the last two seasons as the men's volleyball head coach after serving the previous two years as the assistant men's volleyball coach with Sage.
Verhayden noted, "I want to thank Director of Athletics Sandy Augstein-Collins for the opportunity to work full-time at The College (a long-time goal/dream of mine) and to follow in her very big footsteps as the women's coach." He continued, "Coach Sandy has set the bar very high with the women's program here at Sage and I am honored to be selected to keep the tradition going. I look forward to the challenge of competing in the Empire 8 Conference and working with long-time assistant coach Arielle Smith. And, on the men's side, assistant coach Rachel Martin and I are looking forward to squaring off against the numerous nationally ranked teams that reside in the United Volleyball Conference."
"Sage is fortunate to hire as outstanding individual and team player, such as, Bob Verhayden as our next women's volleyball coach." She continued, "Bob will head up both the men's and women's volleyball programs going forward. Bob has a multitude of experience at the junior college, club, high school, and collegiate levels and his transition should be seamless. I look forward to helping Bob assume leadership of the women's volleyball team and to watching his teams compete in the Empire 8 and the UVC."
Sage joined the Skyline Conference in 2007 and starting July 1, Sage will move to the Empire 8 conference and will compete in the new league with the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. Additionally, men's volleyball will compete as a member of the United Volleyball Conference with the arrival of the 2018 season.
In his first campaign as Sage's head men's volleyball coach, he guided the Gators back to the Skyline Conference Tournament. Sage hosted the program's first Skyline Conference Tournament match and the Gators tallied a win to advance to the league's semifinals. For his efforts, Verhayden was honored by his peers with a selection as the 2016 Skyline Conference Men's Volleyball Coach of the Year after leading the team to an 11-5 mark, while standing at 15-20 overall. The team also had a pair of players also honored as Ryan Guyton was named to the Skyline Conference First Team and classmate Bailey Cecchi earned Skyline Conference Second Team honors in 2016.
He backed up the success of the 2016 season with a return to the 2017 Skyline Conference Tournament after a 6-3 mark in league play. For the year, Sage went 17-15 on the year and earned the No. 4 seed in the Skyline Championship. The Gators finished second in the conference and 20th in the nation in hitting percentage with a .241 average. Three performers, Ryan Guyton, Bailey Cecchi, and Casey Fitzpatrick were named to the 2017 Men's Volleyball Skyline All-Conference Teams as voted by the conference's 10 head coaches.
An accomplished athlete in his own right, Verhayden was a member of the 1998 Men's Masters Championship Team as a competitor at the USA Volleyball IREVA Regional. He also garnered a silver medal as a member of the 1995 Men's Senior Adirondack Team at the Empire State Games. A former USA Volleyball Provisional referee and a former USA Volleyball regional scorekeeper, he has an extensive understanding of the fundamentals of the game and has already been an asset for the Sage program.
During the summer of 2016, Verhayden participated in the New York State Senior Games in Cortland and took home the gold medal after winning the 55 and over team crown as a member of the Schenectady YMCA squad.
Verhayden added, "I am retiring (after 37 years) from my full-time NY State job, and I am rejuvenated by the opportunity that has been bestowed on me. I can't wait to jump in with both feet! I will work diligently and tirelessly to make The College, student-athletes and alumni proud of both the men's and women's volleyball programs here at Sage. And, I am very grateful knowing that I have a friend and mentor in Sandy Augstein-Collins just down the hall."