Former athletes return as assistant coaches


Dan Elson

Former outside midfielder Morgan Argubright joined the women’s soccer coaching staff.

Dan Elson, Sports Editor

Four athletes who once played for the Riverhawks are assistant coaches for AACC teams this fall.

Three of them played for AACC teams last year.

Volleyball assistant coach Joselin Bautista, an outside hitter who graduated in May, played 36 matches for the Riverhawks in the 2019-2021 seasons. 

“I was excited just because I knew I couldn’t play anymore,” Bautista, a former health and exercise science student, said. “And I never really stopped being connected to volleyball. So when [head] coach [Tanchea Rice] reached out to me, I was pretty excited. If I can’t play, then I will definitely be happy to assist.”

The other three players-turned-assistant coaches are soccer assistants Morgan Argubright, a full time student at Towson University, and Elizabeth Dandy, who played and graduated here in 2005. Cross-country assistant Madison Palmer graduated in May.

Argubright said she was “shocked” when women’s soccer coach Jim Griffiths brought her on.

“It was a great opportunity,” Argubright, a former outside midfielder and defender, said. “I’m more than happy to be here. And the fact that he asked me, it means a lot and to be back on the field working with the girls on the program that I also played with. It’s amazing.”

Argubright, a former transfer studies student, scored seven goals and six assists in 18 career games from 2019-2021.  

Dandy, who graduated from Towson in 2007, managed with Griffiths from 2009-2016. This is Dandy’s first season back as an assistant.

Dandy, a director of operations for a non-profit foundation, said she loved playing at the college. 

“I love what I got out of the program,” the former sociology student said. “I wanted to get back into it … as a coach to bring back to the girls that are playing now to help them be successful in their futures.”

Griffiths said Argubright and Dandy are “reinforcements” to the soccer squad.

“They were all good players here,” Griffiths, who also is the head women’s lacrosse coach, said. “They were all very successful individually.”

Forward Cassidy Smith said Argubright has a positive attitude.

“I really like her,” Smith, a second-year transfer studies student, noted. “I played indoor [soccer] with her. And I think she’s just great. As a coach, she relates to the players really well.” 

Goalkeeper Kaitlyn Kenney said Argubright brings “energy” to the Riverhawks. 

“She just helps me stay focused and she helps all the girls stay focused,” Kenney, a first-year emergency services student, said.

Kenney also noted Dandy “keeps everyone’s heads in the game.”

Bautista, who works as a treatment coordinator at a dental office, said her job could lead to head coach.

“I feel like it’s a start on coaching at another school [or even] maybe a head coach,” Bautista, who plans to enroll back at AACC for phlebotomy, said. “I like to be around kids and [so] maybe [I’d] even start a kid’s volleyball group and things like that. I really do like helping the girls improve.”

Rice said Bautista’s new role is a learning experience.

“She will bring some leadership and the girls can relate to her as far as say, just being a year removed from her final season of playing,” Rice said. … “They definitely look up to her and listen to her so it’s just getting to know the players and I think they’re warming up to her good.”

Rice added it’s a different feeling to have a former athlete assist her.

It’s a “feeling that I definitely welcome,” Rice said. “I love taking former athletes and keeping them involved with the game. And then they can see from the players that now they can also view the game from the coach’s side.”

Libero Nieshia Downs said Bautista is helpful.

“She’s always there to make sure we’re doing good,” Downs, a first-year art sciences and communications student, said. “We have this thing where we wear certain color shirts for practices, and she always makes sure she wears the shirt. If we don’t have a partner, she’ll be glad to be our partner.”

Palmer, a shift lead at Rutabaga Juicery & Eats, said it’s “really fun” assisting head women’s cross-country coach Susan Noble.

“We have really good energy,” Palmer, a former transfer studies student, said. “We’re super close and we were last year. So it’s fun to make decisions together for the girls on the team.”

Noble said she chose Palmer to be her assistant because of her dedication to cross-country.

“She was the glue that kept the team together last year,” Noble said. “So I was pretty excited that she was going to be here.”

Noble said she “loves” having a former athlete as assistant coach.

“I can see her growth from when I first started coaching her to now,” Noble said. “And it allows her to bring some authoritative wisdom to the team.”

First-year transfer studies student Noelle Somers said Palmer motivates the runners.

“I remember on one of the workouts I was not feeling the last [run and] she was like, ‘Oh, I can run with you,’” Somers said. “But I was able to do it.”

First-year transfer studies student Bailey Healy said her favorite part about Palmer is how “she’s running with us [during practice]. So it makes it a lot easier.”

Still, Palmer said, “I’m excited and a little bit nervous because I’ve never been [an assistant] before but I like the experience.”