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Rick Berkman: Head Coach
Rick Berkman, the 2007 and 2011 SUNYAC Coach of the Year, enters his 18th season as head men's lacrosse coach at SUNY Potsdam. During Berkman's tenure, the Bears have had 10 winning seasons, 14 post-season appearances and a conference championship, and have amassed an impressive 57-46 mark in conference play.
2011 was one of the most successful ever for Berkman and Bears' lacrosse. SUNY Potsdam posted a 4-2 SUNYAC record, earning a second-place finish and its first home playoff game. The Bears defeated Geneseo at home in the SUNYAC Quarterfinals before falling to perennial power Cortland in the championship. Berkman was honored with his second SUNYAC Coach of the Year award and five Bears earned All-SUNYAC recognition. Junior defender Rashaun Durden became Potsdam's first SUNYAC Player of the Year and third USILA Division III All-American.
In 2010, the Bears finished fourth in the league and fell to eventual league champion and NCAA Division III semifinalist Cortland in the SUNYAC Tournament semifinals.
In 1997, Berkman was named Empire Lacrosse League "Coach of the Year" after guiding Potsdam to its first-ever Empire Lacrosse League championship. He also took the Bears to the first of their 13 post-season appearances in 1995.
Coach Berkman was named the 1998 USLCA (Unites States Lacrosse Coaches Association) "Man of the Year". Berkman was recognized for his contributions to the growth of lacrosse in the North Country. He has organized several lacrosse clinics, tournaments and youth leagues since his arrival in Potsdam.
In 1999, the Bears reached the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) championship game and came within one goal of winning their first post-season title.
Potsdam set a school record with 10 wins in 2000 and was also an ECAC semi-finalist in reaching the post-season for the fourth consecutive year.
From 2001 through 2005, the Bears finished in fourth place in the SUNYAC, which qualified them for post-season action each year. Potsdam faced SUNY Cortland each year from 2001-05, coming up just short in first round tournament games. In 2007, the Bears finished third before losing to Geneseo in the SUNYAC Tournament and RIT in the ECAC Tournament. Potsdam also placed third in 2008 following a setback against Geneseo in the SUNYAC Tournament semifinals.
Berkman also serves as a physical education instructor at SUNY Potsdam and is on the NCAA Lacrosse Advisory Committee. He also coaches the Potsdam men's golf team.
Prior to Potsdam, Berkman served as assistant coach at Salisbury State (Md.), where he helped guide the Seagulls to three consecutive NCAA tournaments and their first NCAA national championship in 1994.
As a player for the Seagulls, Berkman led the team to a national championship game appearance in 1991, only to fall one goal short to eventual champion Hobart College. That season, he was named a first team All-American and captained his team in the prestigious North/South game.
Coach Berkman and his wife Jessica reside in the town of Potsdam with their children, Tyler and Parker.
Bill Olin: Assistant Coach
Bill Olin enters his second season as assistant coach for the men's lacrosse and men's golf programs at SUNY Potsdam.
Olin brings vast experience in college lacrosse as a four-year starter at goaltender for Rutgers (N.J.) University. While at Rutgers, Olin was a three-time ECAC Defensive Player of the Week and two-year member of the All-ECAC Academic team. In 2010, he was named to the Big East Honor Roll. Olin ranks in the top 10 in career saves at Rutgers.
Olin has also worked a number of lacrosse camps over the last five years, including four years at the All-American Lacrosse camp at Colgate University.
Olin earned his bachelor's in history with a minor in psychology from Rutgers in 2010. He is a graduate of Horseheads High School, where he holds school records for saves in one game and saves in a season. Olin ranks first all-time in New York State for career saves.
Ben Gaebel: Assistant Coach
Ben Gaebel enters his fifth season as an assistant coach for the SUNY Potsdam men's lacrosse team.
Gaebel, who will work with the defense and goalies, began at Potsdam in the fall of 2007 as an assistant men's lacrosse and golf coach.
A 2006 graduate of SUNY Cortland, Gaebel was an All-American goalie for the Red Dragons and a starter on the 2006 NCAA championship team. A two-time All-SUNYAC honoree, Gaebel received his bachelor's with a major in athletic training.
Prior to his illustrious college lacrosse career, Gaebel was an All-Northern goalie at Carthage High School. He was named a Frontier League All-Star in both 2001 and 2002. During his tenure at Carthage, the team finished as runner-up at the New York State Championship twice. Gaebel also played varsity basketball for two years and football for three years.