Get to Know SU’s New Coaches

Longtime assistants Nate Daligcon and Skyler Young bring decades of coaching experience to their new roles in men’s soccer and women’s basketball.

Two Seattle University athletics programs have new leaders this year. Nate Daligcon has taken the reins as head coach of men’s soccer—recent winners of the 2023 WAC Regular Season title—while Skyler Young is the new head women’s basketball coach. Daligcon is a familiar face, having previously served for 10 years as assistant coach longtime men’s soccer coach Pete Fewing, who retired after last season but remains with Athletics as Associate Athletic Director. Young, who brings two decades of collegiate coaching experience to SU, returns to the city where he got his first job after graduating from college. Following is a Q&A from conversations with the coaches.

Q: How’d you get into coaching?

Skyler Young: I always wanted to coach, even in high school. I was raised by a single mother and my high school coach, Todd Johnson, was a big mentor in my life. I’d watch film with him. When I went to West Michigan University, I was on the practice squad of the men’s team and (then women’s head basketball coach) Ron Stewart gave me a shot. He treated me like a son, allowed me to attend coaches’ meetings and hear all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Women's basketball new coach Skyler Young

Nate Daligcon: I never thought I was going to be a coach. When I finished playing in college and the pros, I went to work in the marketing department for a soccer company, Diadora, which had sponsored me when I was playing. It was a nice transition. One of (my former teammates) asked if I could coach a U11 girls team. I really enjoyed working with the players and after that I just kind of made my way to working with older players and then college.

Q: What are some highlights of your coaching career thus far?

Skyler Young: Seeing athletes that you take a chance on that didn’t have a lot of opportunity and who people didn’t think would cut it grades-wise and then they’re almost at the top of their class and get that degree. And now they’re nurses or coaches themselves. You get letters, text messages 10 years later about how you were an impact in their lives. That’s the biggest thing. The (championship) banners and stuff—that’s one thing. But influencing someone’s life—that’s a huge thing. Because I know how people influenced my life.

Nate Daligcon: When I joined Pete Fewing’s staff in 2013, we didn’t do well the first five or six games, but the team really stuck together. The culture was very, very solid. And they wound up winning the WAC championship. And just to see those players have success and stick to the plan of what we were trying to do was great to watch. The 2015 team, which was 10th in the nation at one time, beating UCLA here and being able to get to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament (is another highlight).

New men's soccer coach Nate Daligcon

Q: What brought you to Seattle U?

Skyler Young: When I was 21, I met Seattle Storm (coach) Anne Donovan and (director of basketball operations) Missy Bequette at the Final Four and they offered me a job. I talked to my professors and they let me take my tests early and I moved out here with five duffle bags and $200 in my pocket and just fell in love with Seattle. I just love the city. I love how everyone accepts you for who you are. It’s a sports town and a women’s basketball town. I literally was working my whole career to get back this way. 

This is a true campus here—it has a nice interior but you’re not far away from anything. It offers a lot. This is a university based on serving the community and helping people achieve their goals and that aligns with me in life. Everyone’s been so friendly. I love it here. It’s a small family community.

Nate Daligcon: (One draw) was to compete at the Division I level. What keeps me here is the university and what it stands for and just watching the players go through their four years and how they come out at the end. Everyone comes in at a different level, even academically, and there’s change and growth and it’s great to watch them go on to have a positive impact in the community.

Q: As you take on this new role, what’s your focus?

Skyler Young: Be better every day. Keep improving and let the wins and losses take care of themselves.

Nate Daligcon: Since I’ve been here so long, the transition has been great with the team. The focus is going to be on how to make sure that everyone’s pulling in the same direction. We have a pyramid that we look at. The bottom is talent, the next level is character, the next is preparation, then performance, then results. We talk to them about how you can’t skip steps to get to the results. There’s a process to getting to where we want to be.

We talk a lot about the relationship with the players and the leadership and the culture of the group. We’re talking a lot about the team aspect. We’re doing a lot of individual meetings and leadership group meetings, not only to check in but to see how we can help them improve—not just on the field, but off the field, in the classroom.

Q: What style of play can we expect from your team?

Skyler Young: We’re gonna play fast. I know everybody says that but you can ask the athletes that attend practices (laughs)—we’re gonna play fast. There will be a method to the madness, though. We’ll be structured in that fast play. I want us to bring a beautiful style of basketball where we move the ball, screen and play with passion and togetherness.

Nate Daligcon: I think it goes by team and what you have and really playing to the players’ strengths. This year we talked a lot in the spring about our build-up play and our attack through the wings and getting players into the box and being dynamic in the offensive third. I think we have players who can do that. And we’re bringing on some players and getting some back off injuries who I feel can score some goals.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not coaching?

Skyler Young: I love spending time with my dog Lucius (a black lab, named after Lucius Fox in Batman). I love cooking, especially grilling. I’m a big ribs guy, briskets, slow-cooking. That’s what I watch all the time on YouTube. I do like golfing and fishing—even though I haven’t had a lot of time to do either—and reading.

Nate Daligcon: I love spending time with my family. My son plays soccer and daughter runs track and plays basketball so I get to as many of their sporting events as I can. I try to stay hands-off (with my son). I could probably tell him a lot of things but it’s great for someone else to do that (laughs).

Q: Parting thoughts?

Skyler Young: All I can promise people is our staff, our team and our program—we’re going to be exciting to watch. But also, we’re not just going to be athletes, but complete individuals and role models in this community because we are actually the university in the city and we’re going to embrace the city. And grateful. I tell the team there’s other people who would be salivating to be in your position. When we clap it up (in the huddle) we say ‘grateful.’ It’s all about gratitude.

Nate Daligcon: I’m really excited for the group. They’ve really embraced what we’re trying to do, not just on the field, but in the classroom and working in the community. I think there’s a real buy-in not only to the program but to the university as a whole.

For the latest on SU Athletics, visit GoSeattleU.Com.

This is a longer version of a story that originally appeared in the Fall edition of Seattle University Magazine, out now. Want more content like this? Check out the issue in its entirety. 

Written by Mike Thee

Thursday, November 9, 2023