Finding a replacement for the greatest coach in program history is never an easy task.
St. Louis native Jacob Yorg has accepted the challenge in being named the head coach for the UW-Parkside women’s basketball team, the university announced on Wednesday.
Yorg takes over a program previously led by Jenny Kenesie, who stepped down in June as the winningest coach in team history. Kenesie quickly transformed the program into a proven winner, a conference heavyweight and a NCAA Division II contender in 11 seasons at Parkside. She resigned to spend more time with her growing family.
“It’s exciting and also very humbling,” said Yorg, who begins at Parkside on Aug. 15. “It’s a daunting task following (Kenesie). I consider Jenny a friend and admire all the work she did to this program. I’ll attempt to make it even better.”
The sixth women’s coach in UWP’s 35-year history, Yorg brings familiarity with the Great Lakes Valley Conference having served as the associate head coach at Maryville (Mo.) since 2008.
“We are very excited to have Jacob Yorg leading our women’s basketball program,” Parkside athletic director Tamie Falk-Day said in a statement. “He is a tenacious recruiter and understands what it takes to be successful in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. His knowledge of the GLVC will be invaluable as he looks to continue the great success that Jenny Knight-Kenesie built over her tenure.”
Serving under Maryville head coach Chris Ellis, York helped Maryville to a 76-64 record from 2008 to 2013. The Saints won last year’s GLVC West Division title in just their fourth year as a NCAA Division II program.
Yorg, who has an undergraduate and master’s degree in mathematics, spearheaded the Saints’ defensive scheme and in-game defensive play calling. He also oversaw individual skill workouts, operational budgets and compliance. Yorg played a major role in recruiting, bringing in the most geographically diverse class in program history with players from 13 states.
“Coach Yorg will do a great job stepping into the head coach position,” said Parkside forward Danielle Slivka, a second-team All-GLVC selection. “He is very knowledgeable about the game and has the passion needed to help the team be successful. He brings new ideas and drills, while still emphasizing the hard work that the program has been built around. We are all very excited for him to get to campus and start preparing for the upcoming year.”
Yorg served as the head girls basketball coach at Sherwood High School in Creighton, Mo., in 2007-08 and was an assistant coach at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis from 2005 to 2007. During his time at Incarnate Word, Yorg had 11 girls play in college and watched his team soar as high as 13th in the national high school poll.
Yorg made a name for himself in the St. Louis area for not only his coaching ability, but for personal accomplishments. Five years ago, Yorg’s weight ballooned to nearly 400 pounds with a 52-inch waistline. He treated his health problems as a food addiction, changed his diet and now weighs approximately 180 pounds.
“You have to look good in this profession,” Yorg joked.
As an assistant at Maryville, Yorg guided the Saints to a 62-55 victory over Parkside on Jan. 7, 2012 at Moloney Arena in St. Louis. It was one of just three Parkside GLVC losses that season.
Parkside didn’t play Maryville last year.
Under Kenesie’s direction, Parkside went 195-125 in the past 11 seasons. The Rangers earned five NCAA berths and two Sweet 16 appearances during that stretch and won the GLVC North Division championship in 2009-10 and captured the East Division title in 2011-12.
“I’m going to love coaching them,” Yorg said. “Just their style of defense and how they’re so hard-nosed ... they’re not going to back down from a fight and they hate to lose. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Parkside kid that was happy with not being successful.”
Kenesie was the GLVC Coach of the Year in 2012 and won the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Women’s College Division 1-2 Coach of the Year award last season.
The Rangers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season last March.