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Before he stepped off into his well-deserved and well-earned retirement a week or so ago, Whitefish Bay Athletic Director John Gustavson was pleased to announce a few coaching gaps had been filled.

Gerald 'Jake' Conrad has accepted the position as new girls volleyball coach.

Conrad has a strong background in volleyball as well as psychology. He brings several years of experienced coaching from McHenry County College, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and girls club volleyball. In addition, he coached the boys volleyball team at Whitefish Bay in 2014.

Over the past 10 years, Conrad has achieved exceptional results while coaching. His accomplishments include a top 10 finish in state, an AAU National Championship at 17-Open, a high school boys conference championship and helping to develop several current collegiate athletes. He also played alongside some current U.S. Olympians on the USA Men's Junior National team from 2005-2006.

Coach Conrad believes 'every player deserves an opportunity to have a positive volleyball playing experience. Ultimately the coach is the main facilitator of this and should cultivate an environment to help make sure the player receives this chance.

'Developing the four pillars of the game (technical, tactical, psychological, physical) while providing a fun, competitive environment will be the primary focus at Whitefish Bay. Working together, we will continue our efforts of bringing a new level of excellence to Whitefish Bay.'

In addition, Eric Murano has been named as the new head boys hockey coach for the WNS (Whitefish Bay-Nicolet-Shorewood-Milwaukee King-Martin Luther-Milwaukee Lutheran) co-op.

Murano had a long and successful career as a hockey player. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks but chose to attend the University of Denver where he played for four seasons. After graduating in 1990, Murano went on to have a 12-year professional hockey career. He has coached almost every year since retiring from hockey in 2002, including six seasons coaching high school hockey.

Coach Murano's coaching philosophy follows: 'First and foremost, playing hockey should be a fun, positive experience. Secondly, the program should be based on skill development and physical fitness. A player must learn to skate, shoot and stick handle. Key drills should be performed at high speeds and tempo.

'Bogging players down with too many complex drills can prove to be counter-productive to building confidence and proper execution. Hockey commands hard work, discipline, respect for self and others and teaches the player the meaning of team work. The coach's philosophy and positive team atmosphere can increase player confidence, self-esteem and help the player create deep and long-lasting friendships.'

Eric, his wife, Annette, and their family moved to Whitefish Bay from St. Louis last year. Their son, Alec, graduated from Whitefish Bay in 2015. Their daughter, Brianna, is a junior at Bay, and their son, Dominic, will be an incoming freshman at Bay this fall.

New Athletic Director Jason Kasmarick will have other coaching positions to fill before the fall season starts.

Material provided through Bay district press releases