NEW YORK -- Former Fordham University assistant Nettie Respondek has joined the Columbia University women’s basketball team as an assistant coach, head coach Paul Nixon announced today. Respondek comes to Morningside Heights after serving this past year as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Fordham, and three of the last four seasons on the Rams' coaching staff."We are very pleased to be adding Nettie Respondek to the coaching staff at Columbia," Nixon says. "Her genuine enthusiasm for this opportunity will not only be attractive to recruits but will also bring positive energy to our program on a daily basis. I cannot overstate how much I am looking forward to working with her in the future."
Prior to this season, Respondek held a similar assistant coaching position at Fordham from 2006-08. Respondek took a one-year absence in 2008-09 to serve as an academic advisor for Kinesiology at California State University-San Marcos, where she was in charge of more than 450 students.
"I have known and respected Coach Nixon for many years, and it is a dream come true to be a part of his winning program and have the opportunity to compete for Ivy League championships," Respondek says. "What an exciting time to be a part of Columbia Women's Basketball!"
In her playing days, Respondek enjoyed a successful basketball career at Vanderbilt University, where she helped Vanderbilt to two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, as well as one trip to the NCAA Elite Eight. Playing at Vanderbilt from 1994-99, she was a four-year starter, playing both point guard and shooting guard, and led the Commodores in assists in 1996-97 and in three-pointers in 1997-98. She also served as a team co-captain, was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times, and received the 1997 Vanderbilt Spirit Award for women's basketball.
While at Vanderbilt, she worked at a number of Vanderbilt Summer camps, serving as counselor and camp director. She managed the adult counselors and coordinated daily activities and camp schedules for five summer camps in Nashville, Tennessee. Away from the court, Respondek worked as an intern at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in Atlanta in 1997, where she planned activities for summer camps and scheduled trips for WBCA executives.
Following her time at Vanderbilt, Respondek received her first coaching position in the high school ranks, where she coached at Owattona High School in Owattona, Minnesota. She helped the boys' team to an 11-win improvement from four wins to 15 wins in her one season at Owattona.
In addition to the start of her coaching career, Respondek still found the time to participate in the 2006 Empire State Games, where as captain of the Manhattan team, she led the team in scoring, and helped them to a silver medal.
A Rosenberg, Texas native, Respondek was the 1994 Gatorade State Player of the Year, a two-time Houston Chronicle Houston Area High School Player of the Year and was named Miss Texas Basketball (1994). The same year, she was one of 20 players selected to the WBCA Kodak High School All-America Team.
Respondek received a Bachelors' degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt in 1998, before going on to earn a Masters' degree in Counseling Psychology from the school in 2000.
"I truly believe the combination of an Ivy League education, tough basketball competition and the location in New York City makes Columbia University an attractive destination for any high school student athlete," Respondek concludes. "I am looking forward to bringing my experience in recruiting and passion for the game into the positive environment Coach Nixon has fostered and I am ready to help lead Columbia into postseason play!"