LEWISTON, Maine – Former Bates College skiing standout Micaela Holland is returning to her alma mater as head coach of the Bobcat men’s and women’s alpine ski teams, as announced Tuesday by Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh.

Holland comes to Bates from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., where she was head alpine ski coach and director of outdoor recreation over the past academic year, following two years as assistant coach.

“I am particularly excited to welcome back as our new head alpine skiing coach someone who I had the pleasure of watching compete on the national stage for Bates,” said McHugh. “Micaela is a terrific fit – not only as an alumna, but as a coach who already has a track record of developing high quality student-athletes, with successful recruiting experience and the knowledge and energy to continue the upward trajectory of Bates alpine skiing. I look forward to her coming aboard and positively impacting immediately the ski program, our department and the campus community.”

72Holland_a222062Holland graduated from Bates in 2011 after competing in three NCAA National Collegiate Ski Championships. She replaces Rogan Connell, who had led the program since 2001.

“I am so thankful to Kevin McHugh and everyone involved in the selection process for their confidence that I will successfully lead the alpine ski program,” said Holland. “As a proud alumna, Bates has always been a very special place to me and it has long been a dream of mine to come back and work with the program. Coach Connell has led a high quality alpine ski program for a number of years, and we will build on that foundation to create one of the best ski programs in the country.”

Holland received the Bates Senior Athletic Citation in 2011 after her stellar career with the Bobcats. After entering the program as something of an unknown as a first-year student, the Belmont, Massachusetts native competed at the NCAA Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and served as team captain in her junior and senior years. Holland also received Bates’ Lloyd Lux Award for excellence in athletic leadership in 2010.

Holland was battling a knee injury entering her senior year, which limited her training to one day a week and caused her to miss a number of races. However, as Connell later commented, “Her love for the sport outweighed any pain and allowed her to overcome any injury on her way to becoming the leader of the alpine program.” She had four top-15 carnival finishes on the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association circuit that year and returned to the NCAAs, where she tied her best national finish of 18th in the slalom and had her best finish in the giant slalom at 20th. Holland’s performance helped lead Bates to an 11th-place finish at NCAAs, which remains the program’s the best finish since 1999.

After graduating from Bates with a degree in sociology, Holland began work at Green Mountain Valley School, where she was a U16 coach as well as admissions counselor and seventh grade social studies teacher.

She moved on to Clarkson, where she assistant coached the Golden Knights alpine team while pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. In Holland’s only year as head coach at Clarkson, she led the men’s team to a program-record first-place finish in the MacConnell Division of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference, while guiding the women’s team to fourth place in the division.

“The last three years I’ve spent at Clarkson University have provided me insight as to what it takes to create a culture for athletic success. That experience, coupled with my familiarity of the supportive environment that the athletic department at Bates provides its student-athletes, will allow the Bobcats to see many successes for years to come.

“I am most looking forward to working with the student-athletes. “I know Bates challenges students to be inquisitive and think critically in the classroom, and I can’t wait to foster that environment on the slopes.”

Release and photo courtesy of Bates College, cover image courtesy of Clarkson Ski Team