SOMERS — The UW-Parkside women’s basketball team officially ushered in the Jacob Yorg era.
After replacing the winningest coach in school history this summer, Yorg directed the team for the first time for its opening day of practice Tuesday at the DeSimone Gymnasium.
Yorg is the sixth women’s coach in UWP’s 35-year history. The St. Louis native replaced Jenny Kenesie, who stepped down in June following her 11th season at Parkside. Kenesie quickly transformed the program into a proven winner, a conference heavyweight and an NCAA Division II contender.
“You will see two completely different coaching styles with the same expectations,” Yorg said. “My expectations are always going to be high.”
The Rangers replaced their head coach this offseason and were faced with the loss of departed seniors Jenna Endisch, Sierra West, Jaleesa Trussell and Kiah Simon. However, the remaining core of the team remains intact with nine returning players and a talented incoming freshmen class.
“We really put a lot of work in the summer and it’s paid off,” Parkside sophomore Tara Knapstein said. “Parkside is built off of the high expectations and how much hard work and determination it takes. That’s always been engraved in our minds and with any player that comes through this program.”
The sideline will certainly be different with Yorg in charge. The former Maryville (Mo.) assistant has an undergraduate and masters degree in mathematics and describes himself as a listener and observer.
Kenesie was known for her off-the-chart tenacity and drill sergeant demeanor.
“It’s obviously going to be a lot different,” Knapstein said. “They both have similar but yet very different philosophies. He expects a lot out of you and has high expectations, but he shows it in a different way. He’ll push you, but it’s all on yourself.”
Serving under head coach Chris Ellis, Yorg 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 now coaches the team he invested so much time figuring out how to beat in years past. He is assisted by Jordan Wilde and former Parkside standouts Brittany Beyer and Jadee Rooney.
“Playing against a team is one thing, but coming here is another,” Yorg said. “The school is amazing and the girls are fantastic. I left a great group of girls in Maryville and joined another great group here. The dynamic of how tight knit this family is here is amazing.”
Last season, Parkside finished 21-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The Rangers open with an exhibition game at Loyola (Ill.) on Nov. 3 before hosting Lake Superior State in the season opener on Nov. 9.