A for Athlete


Messiah Hires Second Coach in Six Months[]

Grantham, PA , June 30th, 2008

Former Mechanicsburg High School head swimming coach Nancy Luley has been tabbed to guide and direct the Messiah College swimming program.

Luley, who served as the head boys’ and girls’ swimming coach at the nearby high school for the last two years, assumes her first collegiate coaching position in her move to Messiah.

Messiah will host men’s and women’s swimming for the first time as an intercollegiate sport in the 2008-2009 academic year.

“I am honored to be chosen for this position,” Luley said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to start a program from scratch. I’m very excited to be part of the Messiah community. I will miss working at Mechanicsburg, but there are so many great things going on at Messiah. There aren’t many chances in life to start something from the ground up. I am excited for that challenge in the upcoming weeks and months.”

Named the Carlisle Sentinel’s 2008 Swim Coach of the Year, Luley helped guide her Mechanicsburg girls’ team to an undefeated, 11-0 record this past winter, leading her boys’ team to an 8-3 record overall. Mechanicsburg placed swimmers to PIAA State Competition in every year of Luley’s tenure (she was the head assistant coach there for the previous eight years), while she estimates an average of three to four swimmers went on to swim at the college level each year.

“I’ve had plenty of experience in trying to help place kids into collegiate swimming,” Luley said. “Now, I will just be on the other end of that equation.”

Messiah director of athletics Jerry Chaplin said that Luley’s connections across the state should help aid in the recruiting process.

“We are excited that Nancy Luley will be serving as the head swim coach as we begin intercollegiate programs for women and men,” Chaplin said. “She has developed a very strong program at Mechanicsburg Area High School and is highly respected by her swimmers and parents. Nancy already has many contacts in Pennsylvania. We are looking forward to working with her in the years ahead.”

While counting as her first collegiate coaching experience, leading the Messiah swim teams will not be Luley’s first chance to start a sports program. Luley founded the Mechanicsburg Ice Hockey Club in 1999, and since then the club has flourished: Mechanicsburg now boasts multiple teams and competes in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, winning the varsity championship in 2006-2007.

“I didn’t know anything about hockey, and I still don’t,” Luley said. “But my son and his friends wanted a chance to play on a real team, so we started one. It is really rewarding to see kids in full uniforms now, competing at a high level after some of the early struggles we had. I feel blessed to have the chance to start something from the ground up again, only this time in a sport that I know something about.”

Luley jointly served as the head coach of the Mechanicsburg Swim Club for the past three years, a youth program for swimmers ages five to 19. Prior to taking over that club, Luley served as an assistant coach at the prestigious West Shore YMCA for five years.

“It is so much fun to watch this age group grow, change and take charge of their lives,” Luley said. “I think what will be different, with college-aged kids, is that these athletes will be a bit more in charge of their sport. With high school-aged students you generally have athletes in great need of direction. I’m excited to take over an age group that has a bit better concept of what a student-athlete should be.”

Luley describes her coaching style as nurturing, with a strong emphasis on academics. During her tenure at Mechanicsburg High School, Luley’s teams maintained a strong presence on the honor roll.

“During my time at Mechanicsburg, we never dipped below 75 percent of our athletes making the honor roll,” Luley said. “I want students to excel in the classroom as well as in the pool. That’s an important balance to achieve at any level.”

Luley is a lifetime member of the American Swim Coaches Association and National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. She possesses ARC certifications in lifeguarding, CPR, AED and First Aid, and maintains Level 2 certification within the ASCA.

“My first job is to get in touch with our existing recruits and let them know that I want them here,” Luley said Tuesday. “Scheduling is a priority, as we want to make ourselves known in the conference. It’s all a starting point. You have a base line and then you look at what you need.”

Luley graduated from Penn State University in 1977. She is married to her husband, Rich, and they have four children: Ben, Kate, Anne and Erin. Erin was one of Luley’s best swimmers at Mechanicsburg, placing third in the 2006 500-meter freestyle state championships and sixth in the 200-meter freestyle.

“We need to make our name in the pool,” Luley said of her opportunity at Messiah. “I’m going to encourage kids to be leaders. It’s not often that you get a chance to establish something bigger than yourself. Usually you step into a program that already has a history. We have a chance to start a tradition here. And that is truly special.” Messiah College, a private Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences, enrolls 2,800 undergraduate students in 55 majors. Established in 1909, the primary campus is located in Grantham, Pa., near the state capital of Harrisburg. A satellite campus affiliated with Temple University is located in Philadelphia.