SARATOGA SPRINGS – Lindsay Bynon said she woke up Tuesday morning and couldn’t believe there was snow on the ground.
She was reminded of “one of my dad’s famous quotes,” she said with a laugh: “‘Whenever it’s raining, it’s a good day for an indoor sport.’ ”
Bynon also woke up Tuesday morning as the new head coach of the women’s volleyball program at Skidmore College, which brings her back to her roots in more ways than one.
She graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, and also won two state championships while playing for her father, Gary, the long-time Spartans head coach whose name has become synonymous with success in Section II girls’ volleyball.
Now Lindsay Bynon has a chance to put her own coaching stamp on her sport, while inheriting a program that had been guided for the past 27 seasons and over 550 victories by the recently retired head coach Hilda Arrechea and husband and assistant coach Jerry Rodriguez.
“I’m beyond excited,” Bynon said. “It’s an amazing opportunity. Obviously, I know Skidmore. I’ve been around it so long, being from the area, and I actually went to Skidmore volleyball camp when I was a young athlete.
“Through the interview process, I got a great feel for the campus and the staff and athletic department. It’s just a really special place to be, and the campus is absolutely beautiful. I got to meet some of the student-athletes on the volleyball team, and they’re all amazing, and it’s going to be a really, really great experience for me.”
“Lindsay stood out among an impressive group of finalists with her energy, passion, and vision for the future of the program,” Skidmore athletics director and assistant vice president for student affairs Gail Cummings-Danson said in a release.
“Lindsay’s philosophy around trust, commitment, confidence, and individual growth are in line with our expectations, and I look forward to the positive impact she will have on our student-athletes.”
After graduating from Burnt Hills, Bynon played volleyball for Division II College of Saint Rose and Division III Nazareth, then in 2019 became a head coach at the age of 23 at Castleton State in Vermont.
At Skidmore, she’ll try to fill the big shoes left by Arrechea and Rodriguez.
Arrechea’s legacy includes four league championships, eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances and four Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year awards.
Under Arrechea, the Thoroughbreds had 21 winning seasons, including nine years of 25 or more wins and a school-record 38 wins in 2000.
“Jerry and Hilda are two very special people, and they’ve been able to build such an amazing program there,” Bynon said. “It’s a challenge to take over a program through that big transition. They have been so supportive throughout the whole process.
“It’ll be a challenge, but there’s so much support at Skidmore, and I’m fortunate to have such great support with my family and mentors and volleyball community people I have in my life.”
Bynon’s family claims a daunting legacy of its own.
Gary Bynon is Section II’s all-time leader in girls’ volleyball coaching wins, and his teams have won eight state championships and have finished as the state runner-up six times.
Lindsay’s brothers, Mike and Matthew, also played for Burnt Hills, and are directors at the highly regarded Lakeside Volleyball Club in Burnt Hills and the Mill City Volleyball Club in Lowell, Massachusetts, respectively.
While leaning on the wisdom and experience of having played for her father, Lindsay Bynon is looking forward to continuing to carve out her own identity as a coach.
“That’s been something I’ve had to kind of navigate,” she said. “I’ve been so fortunate to have him as an incredible role model. Not only him, but my two brothers. I think it’s important to take all of the great things that they have as coaches – and I was able to play for my dad back in the day – and make it my own.
“That’s something I’ve had to figure out. I’m so lucky to have him as my role model and someone who I can learn from every day.”
Part of Lindsay Bynon’s coaching philosophy stems from her role as an educator.
She earned a degree in Inclusive Early Childhood/Childhood Education as well as Psychology from Nazareth, and has worked as a special ed teacher in the Argyle Central School District.
She’s scheduled to complete her Master’s in Athletic Leadership from Castleton in May.
“I love teaching the game and love engaging my athletes in all different types of drills and make them competitive,” she said.
“I was able to coach through the pandemic and was able to figure out how to make that piece of coaching engaging. We always try to do things in practice that help my athletes love the sport as much as I do. Creating that culture is very important, and it’s something Jerry and Hilda have been able to do and something I hope to make my own moving forward.”
If she can perhaps make some of her father’s players – or anyone from Section II, for that matter – part of her own program, all the better.
“I obviously love Section II,” Lindsay Bynon said. “It’s important for me to bring in a really solid recruiting class that’s going to be able to compete in the high level that is the Liberty League. I have such a soft spot for those Section II athletes, and I can’t wait to just sell Saratoga Springs. It’s one of my favorite towns in the world, and I would say one of the best college towns in the nation.
“I had never been in the heart of campus until last week. Seeing everything, from their new science center to the music and the arts, I can’t wait to start recruiting for that college.”