Former Washington Husky player and coach Erin Otagaki-VanPaemel is in her second term as an assistant coach for the Boilermakers. She completed the fifth season of her second stint in 2012 after previously coaching the Old Gold and Black during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Purdue has qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice during Otagaki-VanPaemel's time as an assistant to Robert Klatte. The 2005 Boilers finished second in the Big Ten Conference at 7-2-1. Purdue would return to the NCAAs three times over the next four seasons, including 2009 when she had returned to campus.
After her first tour of duty in West Lafayette, Otagaki-VanPaemel accepted the same position at Washington State and served there from 2006-07. In her first season with the Cougars, Otagaki-VanPaemel helped boost the WSU offense to 18 goals and 16 assists in 20 games. The offense was led by Pac-10 all-freshman and second team all-conference honoree Carly Dobratz and fellow rookie Kiersten Dallstream with three goals each.
Her penchant for connecting with new collegiate student-athletes has followed her back to the Midwest, as evidenced by the Boilermakers being represented on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2008 and 2009.
Newcomers once again had a noticable impact on the team in 2012. Freshmen Melissa Casella and Kim Love were among the most consistent performers on the team. Love did not leave the pitch all season, becoming the first Boiler to go the distance for an entire campaign since 2010. Casella entered the starting lineup as a defensive midfielder in time for the Aug. 31 win against Tennessee-Martin and played every minute the rest of the year. Emma Lancaster made an immediate impact with two assists in the season-opening win. She went on to start 12 of the 15 games in which she played despite battling injuries.
Purdue's 12 freshmen on the 2011 team were among the most in the country. Led by Alex Hairston (6 goals, 4 assists) and Chinyelu Asher (3 goals, 4 assists), both Big Ten Freshman of the Week winners, freshmen played a role 19 of Purdue's 29 goals.
Among Hairston's six goals were game-winners in the season-opening victory at Toledo and the lone goal in the win against Colorado. She also joined Katie Leinert as the only players in program history to account for Purdue's first two goals of Big Ten play. She was the first Boiler to score in her Big Ten debut since 2007.
With two goals and an assist, Asher starred in the 8-2 blowout win of Indiana that saw the Boilers tie a program record for goals.
As one of six freshmen to get an opportunity to start in 2010, Mollie Kuramoto started every game in which she played (17 of 17). Fellow freshmen Shae Desmond and Jordan Frick saw action in all 20 games. Kuramoto, Desmond and Frick were regular starters as sophomores in 2011.
Washington State continued to progress on offense in Otagaki-VanPaemel's second full season, scoring 31 goals on 275 shots through just 19 games. The Cougars finished with a respectable record of 11-5-3 and were .500 within the Pac-10 Conference at 4-4-1.
In her four seasons as a player at UW, Otagaki-VanPaemel competed in three NCAA tournaments and was a member of the Pac-10 championship team in 2000. She spent two additional seasons in Seattle as a volunteer assistant coach, assisting in practices and recruiting efforts.
In addition to volunteering her time to the Huskies, Otagaki-VanPaemel also coached both club and ODP teams and directed soccer camps. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Otagaki-VanPaemel has already received her NSCAA Regional Diploma, a NSCAA goalkeeping license and a U.S. soccer `C' license.
During her tenure at Washington, Otagaki-VanPaemel was heavily involved in the community, volunteering her time at Children's Hospital, the Union Gospel Mission and the Center for Human Services. In 2000, Otagaki-VanPaemel served on a UW intercollegiate advisory committee, sharing ideas that would better support student-athletes both athletically and academically.
Academics played a significant role in Otagaki-VanPaemel's career at Washington. In addition to being named to the Dean's List several times, she was twice named Pac-10 Conference All-Academic Honorable Mention and in 2001 was tabbed as UW's Soccer Scholar-Athlete.
In 2002, Otagaki-VanPaemel was involved with the Wing Luke Asian Museum Sports Project and attended meetings to develop an exhibit highlighting Asian-American athletes in the Seattle community. Otagaki-VanPaemel was a featured athlete in the museum in 2003.
Otagaki-VanPaemel attained her first degree from Washington in December of 2001, earning a bachelor's degree in English. In March of 2004, Otagaki-VanPaemel received a master's degree in secondary education.
A graduate of Punahou High School in Honolulu, Otagaki-VanPaemel twice helped her prep squad place third at the Hawaii state championships (1994, 1997). She also participated in the Olympic Development Program regional pool from 1995-96.
Otagaki-Van Paemel and her husband, Mark VanPaemel, reside in West Lafayette. They became parents of their first child in February 2012.