By Warren Rappleyea
Former Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School soccer standout and current Louisville University assistant women’s soccer coach Natalie Cocchi-Gorman will become the athletic director at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, effective July 1.
Cocchi-Gorman, who grew up in nearby Ocean Township, takes over from Bobby Malone, who will be leaving Ranney at the end of the academic year.
“I’m very happy to be coming back to New Jersey, and I’m excited about the possibilities at Ranney,” Cocchi-Gorman said. “The school is so well known for its high academic standards, and I’m hoping to build a culture where academics and athletics can work hand-in-hand.”
Cocchi-Gorman learned the intricacies of the sport under the tutelage of her dad, Frank Gorman, who still coaches youth soccer in the area. After an outstanding career at RBC, including an NJSIAA sectional title in 2002, she went on to West Virginia University. A stalwart defender, Cocchi-Gorman nonetheless notched 15 goals during a four-year collegiate career. She captained the 2007 Mountaineers team that won the Big East championship, finished first in the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional competition and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Along the way, she was named Big East Player of the Week six times and was named as West Virginia’s Most Valuable Defensive player as a senior in a vote by her teammates and coaches. The Mountaineers qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Cocchi-Gorman’s four seasons in Morgantown while compiling a superb 59-21-8 mark.
Cocchi-Gorman went on to play professionally for the Pittsburgh Sparks. In 2008, she took a position as an assistant coach at Duquesne University, where she earned a master’s degree in sports leadership and administration.
The following year, she joined the coaching staff at the University of Louisville. While there, the Cardinals reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2011, and the program has remained successful and is able to recruit top players. When the university opened a new stadium, more than 5,000 people attended the opening game.
Additionally, Cocchi-Gorman has coached young talent at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Training Center and working with players across multiple age groups at the USYAA Region II Olympic Development program.
The incoming athletic director believes her playing and coaching experience, knowledge of NCAA rules and the many connections she has built over the years will help Ranney athletes who want to continue their athletic careers in college.
Her goals include forming a student-athlete advisory committee, supporting and mentoring the Ranney coaching staff and helping student-athletes excel on the field and in the classroom.
Cocchi-Gorman began looking for a position in the New Jersey area during the winter after her husband, Tom, accepted a position at a strength and conditioning company in New York City. She learned of the opportunity at Ranney through a former RBC teammate, Ali Le Vine, now the athletic director at Hewitt School in New York City. After applying and securing an interview, Cocchi-Gorman developed a strategic plan to present to the Ranney administration.
“Mrs. Gorman represents a positive new direction in athletic leadership for Ranney,” Head of School Dr. John W. Griffith said in a statement that also noted her background in marketing. “We are proud to bring a woman into this role as athletic leadership at the regional and national conference level is largely dominated by men.”
Cocchi-Gorman said she will also work to get more people into the stands at various Ranney sporting events.
“I’m looking forward to helping advance Ranney’s overall mission by further developing our student-athletes and creating a support system throughout the school,” she said. “Because of the experiences I’ve had, I’ll be able to help talk our students through a variety of different situations.”