Oct. 1, 2002

All in the Family

The Smith Center Serves as the Unlikely Setting for “As the Volleyball Turns”

By Brian Krause

The cavernous and often bustling hallways of the Smith Center, filled with sneakers, sweat socks, and locker rooms, are not known for romance. But for Jojit and Kimberly Coronel, two members of the Department of Athletics family, the Smith Center foyer was the setting of their very own GW fairy tale.

Once upon a time, he was the assistant volleyball coach and she was the squad’s athletic trainer. They cultivated a strong professional relationship working long hours together and traveling with the team.

“I first realized I liked Jo when I went home to Colorado during (the 1999) winter break,” Kim says. “He called me a few times and I was so happy that he did.”

At the end of the season, she was transferred to the women’s basketball team, and Jo Coronel took her on their first date — to Old Ebbitt Grill. “We never dated while we were working together,” Jo Coronel explains. “I didn’t ask her out until the season was over and she was with the basketball team, it may have been uncomfortable otherwise.”

“Kim is a very private person,” says assistant women’s basketball coach Tori Harrison. “They work in the same building and most people didn’t even know they were dating. They’re such a cute couple.”

One of the few in the know was Tim Burke, executive assistant for the department and Jo Coronel’s close friend and golf course confidant. “He can talk to me about anything on the golf course,” Burke says. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to follow your heart.’ ”

“It was hard because they tried to keep it quiet for a while, they didn’t want everyone knowing their business,” Burke adds. “I think what they have is very special and they really handled it well professionally.”

In August 2000, the death of former head volleyball coach Yvette Moorehead brought the couple closer together. “Kim was very helpful when Coach Moorehead passed away,” Jo Coronel says. “It was a great help to me to have her here because she knows the girls. We’re very lucky that we both work here and can lend support to each other throughout the day.”

Now the head coach, Jo Coronel rose to the occasion and steered the squad to an impressive 25–6 record that year, and was named both the 2000 Northeast Region Coach of the Year and the 2000 Atlantic 10 Coach of the year.

“When I saw how he handled that situation and how he comforted the girls, that made me know for sure that I wanted to marry him,” says Kim.

While taking a walk around the city and its monuments the following Valentine’s Day, Jo Coronel proposed on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. “Since it is so far away, I figured there would be less people there than at the other memorials,” Jo Coronel explains.

The next day the Smith Center was plastered with red construction paper signs that read: “Kim said yes!” There was even one taped to Jo Coronel’s back. Kim spent most of the day retelling the story and showing off her ring.

“It was actually surprising that a lot of people didn’t know that we were dating,” says Jo Coronel. “We had really tried hard to make it private. Some people didn’t even know we were engaged until the next season.”

The engagement did not come as a shock to the women on the squad, who came screaming down the hall in excitement when they heard the news. They had been secretly gossiping and keeping track of the couple with their own mock soap opera, “As the Volleyball Turns.”

“They decided that Jo and I would get together and would update each other every time they saw us together,” says Kim. “They knew before we did.”

Jo and Kim Coronel were married in Colorado last December and now reside in Arlington. Although they work on different floors of the Smith Center and have different schedules, they still find time every now and then to duck out for coffee together.

“We really like this school,” says Jo Coronel. “We’re very blessed that we both came here at the same time for different reasons.”
And they both lived happily ever after.

Men’s Soccer Rallies Past Radford
GW’s men’s soccer team scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to rally past the Radford Highlanders, 3–1 for its fourth victory of the season, Sept. 22.

The Colonials broke the scoring drought in the 82nd minute of play when senior midfielder Riccardo Forno scored his first goal of the year off two passes from freshmen Steve Brown and Frank Ambrosio.
Forno’s goal sparked the Colonials and soon after, senior midfielder Michael Goldman turned a pass from Forno into a game-winner. The Colonials added an insurance goal when Goldman and junior forward Fabio Andrade set up senior Matt Osborne for his fifth goal of the season.

The win pushed the Colonials (4–3) over the .500 mark on the season. To date GW has held opponents to 11 goals on 136 attempts while netting 16 goals of its own on only 94 shots.

The Colonials open October with a pair of road games against A-10 opponents St. Bonaventure (Oct. 4) and Duquesne (Oct. 6). The team follows those matches with four home games against conference foes Dayton (Oct. 11), Xavier (Oct. 13), Saint Joseph’s (Oct. 18), and Temple (Oct. 20). To close out the month the Colonials visit Fordham (Oct. 25), and La Salle (Oct. 27).

Cross Country Places First and Fourth at Mount St. Mary’s Invitational
Freshman Lindsay Blum finished first out of 84 runners to lead the GW women’s cross country team to a first place finish out of seven teams at the Sept. 22 Mount St. Mary’s Invitational. Junior Darrell Andruski finished ninth out of 85 runners to help the men’s team finish fourth out of nine teams.

In October the teams will compete in three events: the George Mason Invitational (Oct. 5), the Penn State Open (Oct. 12), and the Maryland Invitational (Oct. 19).


Send feedback to: bygeorge@gwu.edu

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