Meet Your Fall Coaches

Cross Country
Coached by Ronnye Harrison

Track and field coach Ronnye Harrison has been at Portland State since 2008. His coaching highlights are filled with a number of successful athletes. In the last few years, Harrison has coached the track and field program to a number of top-three finishes at the Big Sky conference’s indoor and outdoor meets. This year’s cross country squad is already off to a stellar start, in which Harrison has seen his team win a meet hosted by Willamette University. Four PSU athletes finished in the top 10 runners—a really solid accomplishment.

Harrison is a very active coach and is constantly working with athletes to improve their technique. That coaching attitude has given Harrison major success with a number of his athletes, specifically sprinters. Harrison has coached former PSU athlete Karene King in her attempt to run in the Olympics, as well as Gerrone Black, who broke a number of records at PSU before her last year as a runner in 2013.

Harrison is also a jazz musician and has performed the national anthem at PSU events on his saxophone a number of times.

Coached by Nigel Burton

Nigel Burton was named the head coach of the PSU football team on Dec. 8, 2009. Ever since then, Burton has been the man responsible for a complete turnaround in the Vikings
football program.

The head coach has made a number of changes to the appearance, play and attitude of PSU football, including returning the Vikings to their traditional green color and recruiting more locally. PSU has become a very big recruiter in Oregon. Of the recruits in the last couple years, most of them have been from Oregon or the Pacific Northwest.

In recent success, Burton has seen former PSU Viking Julius Thomas achieve success in the NFL as a tight end for the Denver Broncos. This season has also seen a lot of achievements and potential for the Vikings, who came just short of beating PAC-12 school California. The team now stands at a record of 3-3. Burton has 13 years of coaching experience, including time spent at Oregon State and Nevada.

Women’s Soccer
Coached by Laura Schott

Laura Schott has been the head coach of women’s soccer at PSU since February 2008. Her career as a Viking has seen a number of successes, including an incredible record both in the Big Sky Conference and out. Schott’s teams have never finished worse than second place in the Big Sky, and they have been to five straight Big Sky tournaments. Her record for games in conference is 23–7-7.

Her win total at PSU is 41, which is a Viking record. The women have been on top of their game early, with five wins so far.

Schott has had a long history with soccer, playing and coaching for a number of teams. The Viking head coach played at Jesuit High School and California. She also went on to play professionally. Schott appeared in five games for the women’s national team, rounding out her playing experience. In 2005, she started out at PSU as an assistant coach. Three years later, she found herself in the head coaching position.

Women’s Golf
Coached by Kailin Downs

The women’s golf team recently changed coaches, bringing in Kailin Downs after Kathleen Takaishi left PSU for a coaching position at the University
of Nevada.

“I would like to thank Torre Chisholm and the members of the search committee for the opportunity to lead the Portland State Women’s Golf program,” said Downs earlier this year. “I am excited about the success of the program and look forward to building upon that success and taking it to the next level. I am thrilled to be a part of the Viking family.”

Before coming to PSU, Downs was an assistant coach at Oregon State, where she spent five years as a part of the program. Downs also had a very successful playing career, including time on the LPGA developmental tour.

Downs is coaching a PSU team that has high hopes of competing for a Big Sky conference championship this season. The Vikings are led by Big Sky conference player of the year, A Ram Choi, who has excelled out on the course. Four of the seven Vikings on the team are returning starters.

Women’s Volleyball
Coached by Michael Seemann

In his seventh year as a head coach of the volleyball program at PSU, Michael Seemann has led the Vikings into becoming one of the Big Sky powerhouses.
While he has coached the team, the Vikings have had a record of 122–59. PSU has only lost 19 Big Sky games in the last
seven years.

Not only does PSU’s win-loss record attest to Seemann’s effective coaching style, their post-season triumphs have as well. The Vikings made their first NCAA tournament in 2008 under Seemann, and made it again in 2010.

This year will be much of the same for the Viks as they attempt to make it back to the tournament for the third time.  A PSU graduate himself, Seemann has seen nothing but success in his six previous years as a Viking and hopes to have the same
fortunes in 2013.

Coached by Kenny Dow

Kenny Dow is coming off of a season in which he coached the PSU cheerleading squad to a fourth-place finish at nationals. This year, Dow has even higher expectations for his squad. “We are looking to finish in the top two, if not win a national championship,” Dow said.

The head cheerleading coach, who also works at PSU as the director of marketing and promotions, is very proud of the way his team works as a group, rather than a bunch of individuals. “We compete as a team, as a family,” Dow said.

Dow came to PSU from the University of Montana, where he got his degree and later worked. On top of that, Dow also cheered for four years at Montana, competing twice at USA nationals.

The success of the cheerleading program is not the only place Dow has excelled. The marketing program has also won numerous awards since Dow joined in 2009. Dow got his degree in educational leadership at PSU in 2013.