To say that former Wauwatosa West student-athlete Ellen Coleman had a fine college career at the University of Rochester would probably be considered an understatement.
Coleman, who starred for the Trojans in soccer, basketball and cross country, recently earned the athletic department's Merle Spurrier Award for outstanding contribution to women's sports. Spurrier award-winners demonstrate qualities such as leadership, enthusiasm and service in their four years on the Rochester campus.
"It was really a big one for me," Coleman said when asked about the honor. "It was a culmination of four years of work. When you are a part of the athletic program at Rochester, it is really like being part of a family. To get that recognition after taking so much time and working and putting in all this effort was great."
Terry Gurnett, Rochester's soccer coach, was thrilled to have Coleman for four years.
"She was the type of player who made me look like I knew what I was doing as a coach," said Gurnett. "She was an absolutely delightful young woman. She was bright, articulate, self-confident, but not the least bit cocky."
It was easy to see why Gurnett was so excited about his star.
Coleman was a star on the soccer team the minute she stepped foot on the Fauver Stadium field. She was a four-year starter and was named a three-time All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Coleman was selected All-University Athletic Association for four years including being named Player of the Year in 2010 and Rookie of the Year in 2008. She also broke the UR career scoring record in 2011, notching 114 points (45 goals, 24 assists) in her four years.
This season she scored 10 goals to bring her career total to 45, second in Rochester history. The Yellowjackets reached three NCAA tournaments during Coleman's time at UR. Coleman also was a four-time All-Region selection, a Spike Garnish Scholar, team captain in 2011 and a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-American. Coleman has a 3.34 GPA in her Biomedical Engineering major.
"She was an outstanding student," Gurnett said. "As a player, she worked like the devil, gave everything she had and had a will to win. Her teammates adored her."
Gurnett admired Coleman as a player and, more importantly, as a person.
"She was larger than life. She was someone you would trust to hang with your kids, to baby-sit your children, go out with your son," Gurnett said. "She came from a great family and her family-oriented background helped the culture on our team."
Looking back, Coleman was thrilled with her college choice.
"I am so happy with the decision to go Division III," she said. "You are allowed to focus on school and have an incredible athletic experience. I played against some of the best soccer schools. It was a decision I was glad I made."
Coleman is currently working for Veeva Systems (pharmaceutical consulting).
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