In addition to coaching experience at Penn State, Army and the United States Naval Preparatory Academy, Christian Appleman will be adding Yale to his resume.
Appleman was named to replace Yvonne Hawkins as the new assistant coach for the Yale women’s basketball team on Aug. 12. Appleman is hoping to integrate himself smoothly into the program under the direction of head coach Amy Backus.
“I think that no matter where you coach, you bring some experience with you,” Appleman said. “You bring some things that were done not necessarily at a higher level but at a different level. Everyone has a different way to get down the road in terms of how they teach. What I wanted to do was come in here and not change much of anything. They already have an established base. I’m here to learn from [Backus] what she wants done and implement it.”
Appleman, whose wife Erin Appleman is the head coach for the Yale volleyball team, has had his fair share of experience. He began as a basketball player for Penn State, then stayed on as a coach there for both the men and women’s teams for ten years, including a stint under legendary coach Rene Portland. He went on to coach Army’s women’s basketball team and most recently headed the United States Naval Preparatory Academy’s women’s program. Altogether, Appleman’s coaching career spans roughly 15 years.
Appleman’s experience as point guard and 1988-1989 captain for the Nittany Lions will make him especially valuable to this year’s Bulldog squad, which has a young point guard, Stephanie Marciano ’07.
“Obviously when you’ve played a position you have an innate knowledge of some of the nuances of it,” Backus said. “[Appleman] will be working a lot with guards and with the wing players.”
Using the successes that the team started to see at the end of last season as a base, the Bulldogs all have one goal — to play to their potential.
“At the end of last season, we really started to come together as a team,” captain Morgan Richards ’05 said. “It gave us experience winning, so this year we’re going to build on that success and improve.”
Appleman, who has met most of the players but has not yet had a chance to get to know them, will be helping the team on and off the court. His responsibilities will include on-floor coaching, recruiting and viewing and management of game footage.
“I want to see how [the players] go about their business with their practice and conditioning and workouts, and what their focus is like, and really go from there,” Appleman said. “Once December or January hits, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks — blanks of potential, blanks of attitude, blanks of effort, blanks of energy. When you have that kind of foundation, you’re going to have a successful season. You can’t put a number on it but you can help them become better players and be the best team they can be. If you do those kinds of things you’ve had a successful year.”