Sue Syljebeck enters her ninth season as the coach of the Siena Heights women’s basketball program. She has 112 wins at SHU, which is the most of any of SHU’s women’s basketball coaches. Last season, Syljebeck guided the Saints to a 20-12 overall record and 11-7 slate in WHAC play.
The 2011-12 season was only the second 20-win season in SHU history, trailing only the 1978-79 season of 27-2. The Saints were receiving votes in the national ratings at year’s end for the first time in school history, and narrowly missed an at-large bid to the NAIA Division II Tournament.
When joining SHU, Syljebeck had immediate success, leading them to their first winning season in five years with a 16-14 record in 2004-05. After losing three starters, Syljebeck led a young team with a competitive schedule to six wins in her second season.
The turnaround continued, however, in her third season when Syljebeck led the team to an overall record of 17-13. The 17 wins were the Saints’ best win total since 1978-79. The Saints finished fifth with a 7-7 record in the WHAC.
During her fourth season at the helm, Syljebeck led her team to another double-digit win total with a 14-16 record. The 2007-08 team had no returning starters but still had a successful season without the benefit of experience. In 2008-09, Syljebeck hit double-digits in wins for the fourth time in five seasons with an 11-20 record.
The 2009-10 campaign once again saw the Saints reach 17 wins, tying the win total Syljebeck led the Saints to in 2006-07.
Syljebeck has seen her win percentage and her career mark at Siena Heights move her up the ranks of coaches into second place in career winning percentage at .461. She also holds the highest career conference winning percentage with .422. Her records at SHU is 112-131 overall and 49-67 in the WHAC.
Syljebeck came to Siena Heights from NCAA Division I school Nicholls State (La.). At Nicholls State, she was the Associate Head Coach before being promoted to Interim Head Coach during the 2003-04 campaign. Syljebeck has also coached at Southern Illinois and New Orleans (La.).
Syljebeck graduated from New Orleans in 1997 with her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Performance and Health Promotion. After a successful playing career, she then went on to receive her Master’s of Science degree in Physical Education from Southern Illinois in 2000.
Debrah Ray will enter her 10th season on the bench with the Saints, where she is responsible for guard development, scouting and defensive assignments..
Ray is a native of South Carolina where she played basketball at Clemson (S.C.). Ray earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Clemson.
As a Tiger, Ray earned the team’s Best Defensive Player Award as well as the Best Rebounder Award in her career. She also has professional basketball experience as she played in Venezuela for one year and was drafted by the Atlanta Peaches of the WBL.
Ray resides in Adrian with her husband, Ben, and three children, Christopher, Matthew and Jordan.
Sara Chrenko will start her eighth season on the bench for the Saints. She is responsible for guard development and opponents’ offensive schemes. Chrenko also assists with the coordination of recruiting.
Chrenko is also in her 12th season as a member of the program after a successful four-year playing career.
Chrenko has earned both her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Education as well as her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Siena Heights.
Chrenko also works as an admissions representative at Siena Heights. She currently resides in Adrian.
Erin Cassidy enters her third year on the Saints’ bench. She is responsible for post skill development, recruiting coordination and day-to-day operations. Cassidy is also head coach of the SHU junior varsity team.
Cassidy helped out as a volunteer assistant to the SHU junior varsity women’s team in 2010-11 before taking over as the squad’s head coach in 2011-12.
Prior to coaching, Cassidy donned a Siena Heights jersey on the court. She was a four-year post player who totaled 800 points and 569 rebounds.
Cassidy graduated in May 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in special education and early childhood development. She is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Special Education and Cognitive Impairment.