LOWVILLE With one phone call from an old swim coach, Brittany Berruss plans for the year took a drastic turn.
The phone call came from Kenneth McLaughlin, head swimming and diving coach at SUNY Potsdam. McLaughlin wanted to see if Berrus, who swam for the Potsdam Bears until her graduation in 2011, was interested in an assistant coach position.
I was not in shock, but I was confused, said Berrus, a 2007 Lowville graduate. She had originally planned to start graduate school this fall at Syracuse University.
I was looking and hoping something else would come along, said Berrus, who found the social work curriculum offered at Syracuse was not what she wanted to study.
Berrus said the decision still took a few days to make. Ultimately, the memory of the late Bobb Watkins, her swim coach at Lowville, helped her along.
I asked myself what would Bobb tell me to do? Then I had the answer, said the 23-year-old Berrus, who broke relay records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays while swimming at Lowville. She said she often thinks of Watkins, who died last December, when trying to make a tough decision.
Another Lowville graduate, Nick Clemens, is an assistant swim coach for the mens swim team at Clarkson University in Potsdam.
I think (Watkins) would be proud of me and Nick, Berrus said.
Although swimming practice at Potsdam will not start until Oct. 1, Berrus has kept busy this semester with her two graduate classes and preparing for the season.
I live with two other girls and I am literally always doing homework or swim stuff, she said. Berrus is working toward a Masters education degree in organizational performance, leadership and technology.
I want to work in higher education ... or to become a program director in social services, she said.
POTSDAM NAMES ASSISTANT
Elisha King has been named an assistant coach for the SUNY Potsdam womens lacrosse team, the school announced Thursday.
King last was an assistant coach for the Salmon River high school girls lacrosse team and head coach for the Under-15 girls Akwesasne Attack team.
King graduated from and played for the University of Toronto. She played on defense from 2008-10.
WARNER HONORED BY NEAC
Former Sandy Creek athlete Breanne Warner was named the North Eastern Athletic Conference defensive athlete of the week for womens soccer for the week ending Sunday.
Warner, from Lacona, is a freshman goalie for Cazenovia College. She finished with two victories, including a shutout, last week. In a 6-1 win against SUNY Morrisville, she made four saves. She made five stops in a 4-0 victory over SUNY Cobleskill.
HOWE JOINS ONONDAGA CC
SUNY Potsdam graduate Mitchell Howe has joined the Onondaga Community College mens basketball program as an assistant coach.
Howe, who graduated last spring, played for Potsdam before an injury ended his career. He served the last two seasons as an assistant under head coach Sherry Dobbs.
Howe, from Fayetteville, was a standout player for Jamesville-DeWitt High School.