Sept. 4, 2009
DAVIS, Calif. -
Sunny Caldwell, an accomplished rower for the UC Davis women's rowing team before joining the coaching staff last season, has been named the program's top assistant coach while Vanessa Tavalero, most recently an assistant at nearby Sacramento State, has also been named to the Aggies' staff.
Head coach Carissa Adams made the announcement on Friday.
Caldwell enjoyed a standout career for the Aggies before graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in political science last year. From her stroke seat, Caldwell helped direct UC Davis to several victories in her career including nine during her senior season in 2008. She was named to the All-Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association First Boat in both 2007 and 2008, received the Coaches Award in 2008 and was twice nominated for the school's Hubert Heitman Award for most outstanding female athlete.
Caldwell also earned a prestigious invitation in 2007 to the Under-23 National Team Camp which featured some of the top collegiate rowers in the country. It was part of an Aggie career which also saw her win several team awards including MVP honors in 2005. As the program's top assistant, Caldwell will assist Adams in all areas including recruiting.
"Elevating Sunny into the role of first assistant is a great move for our program," said Adams. "During the time which I have been fortunate to have worked with Sunny as an athlete and assistant she has demonstrated her undying love for the sport and willingness to give it her all. She has proven to be an inspiration to the current student-athletes."
Caldwell's previous position on the coaching staff is being filled by Tavalero, who brings local collegiate and club rowing experience to UC Davis' program. Tavalero, who participated in four NCAA Championships from 1997-2000 while a member of the powerhouse University of Washington program, was most recently an assistant coach at Sacramento State. She assisted in all aspects of the Hornets' program for three seasons, including coaching the novice squad the last two.
Tavalero, who competed for Capital Crew, which is based in Sacramento, before moving on to Washington, coached with the local club in 2005-06 (women's novice) and in 2007 (men's novice). As a member of the Huskies, Tavalero rowed in the varsity eight for three years helping Washington claim a pair of NCAA team championships. The varsity eight won an NCAA title in 1998 with Tavalero in the two seat.
"I am very excited to begin working with Vanessa," said Adams. "She will bring in a fresh perspective and help us continue on our path to making this program a powerful DI contender."
UC Davis begins preparations for the upcoming season this fall.