Sunshine Slam schedule set
Rhode Island will take on Tulsa in the opening round of the 2021 Sunshine Slam in Daytona, Florida, it was officially announced Tuesday afternoon.
The brackets have been set for the Sunshine Slam, an eight-team event that features Utah, Boston College, Rhode Island and Tulsa in one bracket. The second bracket includes Air Force, Holy Cross, Bryant and Bethune-Cookman.
All games for the bracketed portion of the event will be played at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.
Each team will play one game prior to the games in Daytona Beach. For Rhode Island, that game will be a home game against in-state rival Bryant on Friday, Nov. 12.
Television details, game times, and ticket information for the Sunshine Slam will be announced at a later date.
Rams hire new coach
Rhode Island Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn has promoted Angel Agu to head coach of the women’s volleyball team, it was announced Tuesday.
Agu joined the Rams in March of 2020, helping lead URI to the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals in her first season with the program.
“Angel brings a high-energy approach to the job, and I am excited for her to take the reins of the program,” Bjorn said. “She has the ability to relate to the student-athletes as well as a strong familiarity with the Atlantic 10. Angel has been successful at a high level both as a player and as a coach, and we are fortunate to have her at Rhode Island.”
Agu takes over as head coach for Nicky Holmes, who resigned for personal reasons on July 5.
It was the first time since 2017 Rhode Island qualified for conference tournament. In a COVID-shortened season, the Rams were 7-8 overall and 5-3 in A-10 play. In each of the previous two years, Rhody had been 3-11 in league play.
“I am incredibly honored to be named the head coach for the Rhode Island volleyball program,” Agu said. “I would like to give my utmost thanks to Thorr Bjorn, associate athletic director Brittney Miles, and the rest of the athletic administration for entrusting me to lead this program.
“The support has been immeasurable, and I am incredibly grateful for the mentors and colleagues who have been a part of this wonderful journey. This is a very exciting time, and I cannot wait to hit the ground running with these amazing young women in continuing to build a tradition of excellence.”
Agu came to Rhody after spending two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Wisconsin. In 2019, the Badgers won the Big Ten championship and reached the NCAA Division I National Championship match before falling to Stanford, 3-1. In the national semifinals, Wisconsin upset top-seeded Baylor. In her first season at Wisconsin, the Badgers reached the Elite 8.
During her two years in Madison, the Badgers collected eight AVCA All-America awards while combining to go 52-14 with a 33-7 record in Big Ten play. Additionally, during that two-year span Wisconsin picked up 19 wins over nationally ranked teams and was 7-3 against top-5 programs.
Agu began her collegiate coaching career in the Atlantic 10, serving as a graduate assistant coach at La Salle. There, she helped lead the Explorers to the program’s best single-season winning percentage in conference play since joining the A-10.
As a player, Agu had a successful five-year career at perennial A-10 power Dayton from 2011-15. The 6-2 middle blocker was a two-year team captain and four-time Atlantic 10 champion with the Flyers. She helped guide the team to four appearances in the NCAA tournament, where they advanced to the second round three times.
Agu was a recipient of the 2015 Kacie Hausfield Teammate award for her leadership through example, commitment to the game, and support as a teammate for the Flyers. Additionally, she was a two-time nominee for the Northwestern Mutual Leadership Award.
A first-generation U.S. citizen, Agu earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with minors in Biology and Women Gender Studies, from the University of Dayton in 2016.
Goldstein tabbed as new head coach
Whitney Goldstein has been named as the head coach for Rhode Island’s softball team, Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn announced last week.
Goldstein comes to URI after a highly successful eight seasons at WPI, where she led the Engineers to four regular-season titles, two NEWMAC Championship crowns, three NCAA Regional appearances and two Super Regionals. A two-time NEWMAC Coach of the Year, she also was the ECAC Regional Coach of the Year in 2016.
“Whitney Goldstein has a long history of success, both as a coach and as a player in the Atlantic 10,” Bjorn said. “Her leadership skills and passion for the game are clear, and I believe she is the right person to elevate our softball program. I am thrilled to welcome her to the Rhode Island family.”
In 2016, her WPI squad was No. 1 in New England, and a year later the team was ranked No. 11 in the country by the NFCA. She set WPI’s single-season win total in three consecutive seasons, winning 30 games in 2014, 34 games in 2015 and 38 games in 2016. Over her nine seasons as a head coach, Goldstein has a .719 winning percentage,
Before her time at WPI, Goldstein spent three seasons at Amherst College, including one as the interim head coach. She also was the director of softball operations at UMass in 2010. As a head coach, Goldstein has a career record of 230-90.
“I would like to thank Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn, head of the search committee Shane Donaldson and all other members of the URI Athletic department for making me feel welcomed and excited to lead the softball program to new heights of success,” Goldstein said. “I am honored to be a Ram.action-inside-godstein
“I am thrilled to be a part of Rhody Athletics, which is a great academic institution. We will strive to recruit the highest caliber student-athletes and continue to work with our great current players to build a contagious softball brand that offers the best student-athlete experience. I look forward to URI competing and thriving in the Atlantic 10 and on a national scale.”
During her playing career, Goldstein was an All-American for legendary head coach Elaine Sortino while leading Massachusetts to four straight Atlantic 10 championships from 2006-09. The Minutewomen made four straight appearances in the NCAA Championship, including a run to the Super Regionals in 2006.
As a freshman, Goldstein was the first A-10 player in league history to be named both the Player and Rookie of the Year in the same season. She was a three-time A-10 First Team All-Conference selection, a three-time NFCA All-Region honoree and an Academic All-Conference pick. She started all 217 games she played at UMass, batting .341 with 28 home runs and a program record 156 runs batted in.
Goldstein is the granddaughter of the late baseball legend Don Zimmer, who spent 65 seasons in Major League Baseball as a player, manager and coach.