Menlo College losing men's VB, track and field coaches

Atlee Frechette (middle) talks things over with the men's volleyball team during a match last season. She developed the program from scratch. Photo courtesy of Menlo Athletics.

Menlo-Atherton High grad Atlee Frechette is stepping down from her post as men's volleyball coach at Menlo College to focus on the family business it was announced Tuesday.

Track and field coach Dan Noel also announced he is stepping down from his position at Menlo to pursue a law degree at UCLA.

Both coaches made immediate impacts with the Oaks athletic department. Frechette spent four years coaching the women's volleyball team, winning two conference titles and earning the Coach of the Year honors in 2014.

Last fall, she accepted the challenge of building a men's volleyball program at Menlo from scratch.

Frechette recruited an entire roster and steered the men's program toward success in a few short months. She guided the Oaks their first ever win over an NAIA top-10 ranked team, defeating Then No. 10 Robert Morris at a tournament in Illinois in late January.

"Menlo College opened a door for me to pursue coaching at a higher level and I'm very thankful to Keith (Spataro) for taking a chance on me when I had no previous collegiate experience," Frechette stated. "The opportunity to learn and grow under his leadership was an awesome experience. My time at Menlo was filled with wins and losses, but most importantly the student-athletes and staff gave me a community that embraced challenges and sought excellence. I am grateful to have been a part of the women's volleyball program and to have started the new men's volleyball program at Menlo. I can't wait to watch them play next year and follow Menlo Athletics."

Frechette coached eight Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, nine All-conference players including two conference players of the year, and her 2014-15 women's team was named an NAIA Scholar-Team for a collective 3.28 team GPA.

Noel is responsible for the resurgence of both the track and field and cross country programs three years ago. He helped lead both programs to continual improvement and successes on and off the field.

In his first season, Noel led the men's track and field program to a remarkable second place finish at the Golden State Athletic Conference championships at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Eight different athletes earned All-GSAC honors.

Over the next two seasons, 19 more student-athletes would achieve All-GSAC honors, bringing the three-year program total to 27. Five different track and field athletes also qualified for the NAIA national championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. during that span, including the program's first All-American in Tommy Wright last month.

Noel has continued to grow and build the cross country program which returned in 2015 following a one-year hiatus as a varsity athletics program. In 2017 both a men's and women's runner from the young team finished in the top 25 of the competitive GSAC championships.

"I am proud to have been a part of establishing a new program at Menlo, and especially proud of this year's athletes for really forging a committed and team-oriented environment," Noel said. "I am grateful to have worked with a supportive department, dedicated coaches, and most importantly, an exceptional and inspiring group of student-athletes. I will greatly miss the warmth and sense of community on campus, and look forward to following the continued success of the athletic department."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics

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