SYRACUSE, NY (SU ATHLETICS) — Veteran head coach and championship player Bakeer Ganesharatnam is the new women’s volleyball coach at Syracuse University. He joins the Orange after serving as head coach at Temple from 2011 to 2021. The seventh head coach in Syracuse history, Ganesharatnam has guided the Owls to 173 wins in 11 seasons, including four 20-win campaigns.
“Bakeer is highly respected in the volleyball arena by elite coaches and administrators and is an excellent recruiter who builds a positive program culture,” said Syracuse Athletics Director John Wildhack. “His 11 years as a head coach and his sincere, calm, half-full attitude is the right combination for our program.”
The 2020-21 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) North Region Coach of the Year and American Athletic Conference (AAC) Co-Coach of the Year guided the Owls to the game of 2020-21 AAC Tournament Championship. During that season, he mentored an AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention selection that was the AAC Libero of the Year and an All-League selection, in addition to two All-Conference selections and two selections from all AAC tournaments. He also led the Owls to the second round of the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), the Philadelphia Big Five title in 2016 and the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2012.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected as the head coach of Syracuse University,” Ganesharatnam said. “I am proud to be part of such a prestigious athletics department and an excellent university. I thank John Wildhack, Herman Frazier, Kirsten Elleby and the rest of the search committee, for trusting me to lead this program. From the moment I set foot on campus, everyone was welcoming. I would also like to thank my family for their support and for allowing me to embark on this adventure. We look forward to doing part of the community of Syracuse.
“I am excited about this opportunity and the enormous potential of this program. Throughout the process, the administration has demonstrated its commitment to building a successful program, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together. I know we can create something special – a program we can all be proud of.
At Temple, Ganesharatnam mentored five AVCA All-Region selections, an AAC Setter of the Year, Libero of the Year and Rookie of the Year, an Atlantic 10 Libero of the Year, an Academic All-American, 15 All-AAC Honorees, two All-Atlantic 10 players and one A-10 All-Rookie selection. His 2014 and 2015 teams won the AAC Academic Team Award. He guided the Owls to 20 winning seasons in four consecutive years (2014-2017) and brought Temple back to the national playoffs in 2017 for the first time in 15 years. The Owls finished 20-10 overall, advancing to the NIVC second round, and finished second to The American with a 15-5 conference record.
In addition to Ganesharatnam’s work on the grounds of Temple, he was actively involved in college volleyball operations. He has represented Temple on the All-Region All-American AVCA Committee since 2018 and as a voter for the AVCA Division I Coaches Top-25 Poll.
Prior to joining Temple, Ganesharatnam spent five years at West Virginia University serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons and a graduate assistant coach for the first two.
Ganesharatnam began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Cedar Valley College in Grand Prairie, Texas in 2005. In his only season there in 2005-06, the Suns achieved their championship co -conference. He was also head coach of the elite ACE All-17 team at Arlington Courts in Dallas, Texas for the 2006 season.
As a student-athlete at Queens College, Ganesharatnam helped the Knights win two conference championships. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science with minors in economics and German literature in 2005 from Queens and his master’s degree in sports coaching education in 2007 from West Virginia.
Ganesharatnam, who was born in Sri Lanka but moved to Germany when he was five, started playing volleyball when he was nine. In Germany, he competed in a highly successful club team from 1990 to 2000, VFL Sindelfingen, winning the regional championship and the state championship several times. Ganesharatnam and his team have also made numerous national championship appearances.
Ganesharatnam and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Priya and Naveen.