Purdue University Northwest Sports Update, July 10, 2017

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: July 10, 2017

PNW-Purdue-Northwest-Selects-Michelle-Searer-As-Head-Cheer-CoachPurdue Northwest Selects Michelle Searer As Head Cheer Coach
Purdue University Northwest announces the appointment of Michelle Searer, as the university’s new head cheer coach.

Searer comes to PNW from Saint Joseph’s College where she served as the head coach of the spirit program and executive director of alumni affairs and parent relations. Prior to Saint Joseph’s College, she served as head coach of the national award winning spirit program at Indiana University Northwest for nine years.

“Michelle's experience and commitment to student success both on and off the court will be a great asset for our program," said Rick Costello, director of athletics. “We are very excited for Michelle to join the PNW family and are looking forward to her enhancing our spirit and cheer program."

With more than 20 years of coaching experience, Searer has experience a variety of teams including youth, middle school, high school and college. She also assists with the Kankakee Valley varsity and junior varsity for the past five years and Pop Warner spirit programs for the past 13 years.

In her role, Searer will lead and manage the cheer program that performs at a variety of Pride athletics events, at home and on the road plus serve as ambassadors for Purdue University Northwest in the community for events such as the Hammond Holiday Parade and Kids Day. In addition, she will identify and recruit academically and athletically talented students for the program, encourage collaboration across campus and oversee the mascot performer.

A Northwest Indiana native, Searer brings a life-long passion of cheerleading, student and fan engagement to Purdue University Northwest and is excited to bring a fresh look to the Pride cheer program.

“The role of the cheerleader is to enhance the game day experience. So whether that’s during the game or prior, the cheerleaders are an extension of the Purdue University Northwest brand,” Searer said.

“I want to do some fun and interesting things that will build loyalty to enhance and traditions unique to our athletics program. I am very excited about the future of the spirit program for PNW.”

A member her high school and college cheer teams, as well as a member of the Silverette dance team at Northern Illinois University, Searer brings a wealth of experience to her new role both as a coach and as a higher education administrator. She has many years of experience in enrollment management, admissions, marketing, fund raising and constituent relations.

Searer earned a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration from Indiana University, a post masters certificate in enrollment management and is currently completing a Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education through Capella University. Her dissertation research area focuses on the retention of minority males in Northwest Indiana colleges and universities.

She holds certifications with the following: American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA) Cheerleading Safety Coaches Certification, National Federation of State High School Association's Coaches Education Program (NHFS), Pop Warner Coaching Certification, Heads-Up and NHFS Concussion Safety, National Association of Cheerleaders (NCA)/United Cheerleading Association (USA) Coaches and Judges Certification, and American Red Cross First Aid Adult, Child & Infant CPR Certification. She is also a member of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA).

Purdue Northwest SAAC Raises $1,275 For Make-A-Wish
The Purdue University Northwest Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) reached its goal during the 2016-17 school year, raising $1,275 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

PNW student-athletes across all 13 sports participated in dodgeball tournaments and cornhole tournaments to help raise money for Make-A-Wish.

SAAC members also organized Miracle Minutes, minute-long pursuits to gain as much money as possible from the stands during men’s and women’s basketball games.

“It makes me feel really good that we were able to raise that amount for such a good cause,” SAAC Community Service Chair and former PNW baseball standout Matt Sandoval said.

“Seeing what we did this year, helps me know they can definitely raise more and improve on everything.”

This year’s SAAC had over 25 dedicated members from across the athletic department which helped with planning events on campus and engaging in other community service projects.

“I am very proud of our SAAC members, athletes and everyone in the community who contributed to our Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser,” SAAC member and cross country runner Abigail Bondi mentioned.

“I am happy that all we earned will be donated to such a great cause, and I am glad to have been a part of it.”

SAAC will continue to make an impact on the surrounding community, and hope to exceed goals in raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation during the 2017-18 academic year.

NCAA Division II has a long-standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. The Division II SAAC established the Make-A-Wish partnership in 2003 and has since become one of the foundations' largest and most consistent contributors, raising more than $4.7 million for the organization. In 2015-16, the annual total raised for Make-A-Wish from across Division II was $608,058.

Eight Purdue Northwest Players Named NFCA Scholar-Athletes
The Purdue University Northwest softball program had six members of the 2016-17 squad earn National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete honors.

The following players were named NFCA All-American Scholar Athletes, joining softball players across six membership divisions who earned the honor for the 2016-17 academic year.

  • Caroline Brown (Minooka, Ill./Minooka Community)
  • Audrey Headley (Lafayette, Ind./McCutcheon)
  • Allyson Leach (Demotte, Ind./North Newton)
  • Haley Loden (Crown Point, Ind./Lake Central)
  • Hannah Lopez (Granada Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany)
  • Alex Morales (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett)
  • Holly Pagan (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett)
  • Tessa Steffens (Litchfield, Ill./Litchfield).

In its first season as a unified program after the merger of the Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central athletic departments, the Pride finished the 2017 campaign with 29 wins with 15 CCAC victories and qualified into the eight-team CCAC postseason tournament as the fourth seed.

The honor is given to student-athletes who have a semester 3.5 GPA or better.