“We are thrilled that coach Akiko is joining us at Syracuse,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “She has competed at an extremely high level as a collegiate athlete and on the professional stage. Hatakeyama is an experienced coach, has proven to be one of the best-setting coaches in the country, and is an excellent recruiter. She will serve as an excellent mentor for our student-athletes on and off the court as well.”
Hatakeyama joins the Orange after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada at Reno during the 2022 season. She coordinated team travel, managed equipment, and worked with the setters while assisting with compliance and recruiting.
“I’m so grateful that Bakeer has given me the opportunity to join such a respected volleyball program,” said Hatakeyama. “This program has a lot of potential and I’m beyond excited to see what we will achieve as a team.”
Before her stint at Reno, Akiko worked with the Saitama Ageo Medics volleyball team (V. League 1) in Ageo City, Saitama, Japan from August 2021 through May 2022. She worked as an Interpreter, helping professional volleyball players integrate with the team, and acted as the communication liaison for players and the coaching staff while assisting in practice and competitions.
Hatakeyama played professional volleyball in Europe for 11 years. The Tokyo native also competed in the United States Professional Volleyball League (USPV), helping the Grand Force Rapids to a third-place finish (2002).
After her playing career, Hatakeyama was hired as an assistant coach at Temple in 2011, where she was hired by Ganesharatnam during his tenure with the Owls. Hatakeyama remained with the program through 2020 where she was promoted to associate head coach in December 2016. The season following her promotion, Hatakeyama helped the Owls make history. In 2017 Temple qualified for the postseason for the first time in 15 years and made it to the second round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.
The Setter began her colligate career at Kaetsu Women’s Junior College, where she earned a two-year degree in International Economics. She continued her college career in the states, playing for Southern Mississippi (1996) before Hatakeyama transferred to Temple for her final two seasons, where she helped the Owls to their first NCAA…