The University of Connecticut announced two major coaching changes for the 2014-2014 season as head coach Bob Goldberg promoted previous intern assistant coach T.J Natal to a full-time assistant coach position and added Maiya Otsuka to the program as the intern assistant coach.
With Natal’s new position comes a lot of experience that the division one team could use going into the new season. His familiarity with the team and coach Goldberg will be an important asset, but his NCAA experience is what will make him so useful to the program.
Last season, Natal was with the Huskies, but before that he coached for Tulane University where he spent three years there, first working as the volunteer assistant coach, and then the assistant coach. Natal was the assistant coach at Green Wave for two seasons before getting promoted to the interim head coach position at the university in 2012.
Before that Natal had coaching jobs at the University of New Orleans.
Not only does he have experience coaching in the NCAA, Natal was a former NCAA swimmer competing for the division one team: Louisiana State. While there he had plenty of success as a swimmer.
Like Natal, the new intern assistant coach Maiya Otsuka has plenty of NCAA experience including coming off a two-year assistant coaching job at Texas A&M. Texas A&M boasts one of the top women’s teams in the entire nation so there’s plenty of experience and knowledge that Otsuka will bring from Texas A&M to the Huskies program.
Before working with Texas A&M, Otsuka worked as a fifth year assistant coach for the University of Utah where she swam collegiately beforehand. Swimming for that program, Otsuka broke multiple school records and had a very successful career. She still holds school records in the 200 breaststroke, 400 IM, and 400 medley relay.
Natal will be filling the shoes of previous assistant coach Janelle Atkinson who left the Huskies for a position at Fairfield University which has a fairly new swimming program. Atkinson was previously in charge of recruiting, so there could be many changes to the Connecticut program in the upcoming years with the likes of Natal and Otsuka most likely making some recruiting decisions.
Last season, the Huskies men’s team went 6-0 in dual meets and the women had plenty of success too. To start off the 2014-2015 season the Huskies will host Yale, Central Connecticut, and Rhode Island at home before leaving for Philadelphia a week later to face Villanova in a dual meet.