Field Hockey Welcomes Michelle Frates Tambroni Back to Happy Valley
Aug. 10, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Charlene Morett and the Penn State field hockey program would like to welcome former All-American Michelle Frates Tambroni back to her alma mater. A three-time letterwinner (1988-90) under Morett, Tambroni returns to Happy Valley with her husband Jeff, who recently took over at the helm of the Penn State men's lacrosse program.
"We would like to welcome the Tambronis to the Penn State Athletic Family," said Morett. "Michelle has a great story. I [also] coached her sister up at Boston College and really got to know her family very, very well. I consider them family to me."
Known as Chelle by her friends and family, Frates enjoyed a stellar career under Morett, highlighted by an All-America season as a senior.
Being back around her former coach, Frates will be an asset to the 2010 squad, which looks to bounce back from an up-and-down 2009 season to make the program's 26th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance.
"I think that Chelle, being around the field as an alum, can show up at occasional practices," said Morett. "Her presence at those practices and at our games is really going to benefit not only our staff, but also our whole team."
The bond between Morett and Frates started even before their time at Penn State.
"I signed Chelle to a letter of intent at Boston College, but ended up leaving to come to Penn State that summer," said Morett. "Chelle got in a car and drove to Penn State, met with the Athletic Director and called me after the weekend to say she's coming to Penn State.
"That just made me so happy," continued Morett. "The sad part of that process back then was she had to sit out a year."
Despite missing her freshman season, Frates jumped right in as a sophomore and contributed to the 1988 squad which advanced to the NCAA Semifinals. In her three years, the Nittany Lions went a combined 44-13-2, advancing to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons and the semifinals twice.
"She was such a dynamic, quick, tough competitor," said Morett. "It's just the way her whole family has always been. When she got on the field as a sophomore, she contributed right away and started all three years for us. She has such great competitive drive in her."
After graduating, Frates went right into coaching, beginning at Yale where she served as an assistant from 1991-93. She was then named head coach at Towson in 1993 before moving onto head coaching duties at Cornell from 1997-2006. In addition, she served as head high school tennis coach at Wilton High School in Connecticut.
While at Cornell, she met Jeff Tambroni, an up and coming lacrosse coach, who served three years as assistant before being named head men's lacrosse coach in 2000.
Tambroni went on to an exceptional 10 seasons as head man before accepting the same position at Penn State this June. He posted an incredible 109-40 record (.732 win percentage), leading the Big Red to eight straight Ivy League Titles and three national semifinal appearances in the last four seasons.
"They're just a wonderful couple in so many aspects," said Morett. "They have so much in common [when looking at] their athletic and coaching backgrounds."
"We're thrilled that Jeff and Chelle are back here in Happy Valley. They brought Carissa (8), Madison (6) and Ella (3) with them, so, I know the three little girls are thrilled to get to know Penn State a little bit better."
GoPSUsports.com had a chance to catch up with Chelle after a busy few months for she and her family. See what she had to say!
How it does it feel to be back in Happy Valley?
Talk about the importance of Penn State field hockey in your life. What impact did your time here have on your life moving forward?
What does it mean to be an alum of Penn State and the field hockey program?
What type of impact did Coach Morett have on you? Both when she was your coach and now, as an alumna?
Char also had a large influence on bringing me back here today with my family. I have always said Char is one of the best recruiters. Her passion for Penn State and energy when talking about the great life she has here peaked our interest and catapulted us into making a life changing decision to leave Ithaca, N.Y. for State College. She knows how to push you to be your best even when you feel weak and vulnerable. She doesn't know lazy; she breeds only strength and power. I have admired the way she motivates and the way she can relate to us on a personal level. As an alumna, I am proud to say that I played for Char, tried to mimic her coaching style as a professional and now treasure our friendship.
What type of presence do you hope to have with Penn State field hockey program? Chelle: As soon as I get our three girls Carissa, Madison and Ella settled and feeling at home here, I will be able to support the field hockey team. I would love to be a part of this program in any aspect. I would be thrilled to be an active member of the Booster Club and assist with the alumnae events. When Char needs me, I will be there as she has always been there for me. My passion is to carry a whistle around my neck and get back into the sport of field hockey. We have the schedule of games already marked on our calendar and we are psyched to watch them compete.
How excited are Jeff, you and your family for the years ahead here at Penn State?