Turning two: Matt, Morgan Nandin bring close sibling relationship to Syracuse coaching staff

first_imgCorrection: In a previous version of this article, Lindsay Nandin’s position for the orange from 2005-2009 was misstated. Nandin played second base and center field. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Going back to their earliest days of driveway basketball, siblings Matt and Morgan Nandin have been vehemently competitive with each other.Ever since parents Robert and Marilyn Nandin forced Matt to let his younger sister tag along with him and his friends to play basketball, Ping-Pong or any other sport, the siblings always bonded through athletics.After playing four years at Syracuse and graduating in December, Morgan is now a student coach. And after being convinced by SU head coach Leigh Ross, Matt joined the staff before the season, as well.Now that the siblings are both coaching the Orange and the program is starting to share a chemistry akin to theirs.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think they have such a neat, close relationship,” Ross said. “It’s not your typical brother-sister relationship, because they have such a love for the game, that’s their big bond for them.”“I think that Matt challenges Morgan, and I bet that’s why Morgan in part was such a great player for us.”Marilyn couldn’t help but laugh when asked about the open competitiveness of her kids going back to their youngest days.She recalled one of the first times Morgan was finally able to beat Matt one-on-one in basketball. At the end of the game, Matt dropkicked the basketball down the street in frustration.“But it was always like that,” Marilyn said. “It was always an argument on who was going to win, who was better and who did what the best.”The Nandins have family history on the diamond. Matt and Morgan’s father Robert played for the Syracuse Chiefs and Marilyn played softball throughout her childhood.Morgan played under Ross for four years as a shortstop for SU, graduating this past December. Matt was an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.Ross got to know Matt through Morgan, and eventually took her daughter to get lessons from him.“I would watch Matt coaching my daughter and tell him, ‘Matt, you are so good, you’d make a great softball coach,’” Ross said.Then Ross, trying to imitate Matt in the deepest, manliest voice she could muster, said, “No. Nah, I could never coach girls, I’m only a baseball guy.”When Matt told his parents he was going to coach at SU, his mom thought he was playing a joke on her and started to laugh.Morgan, however, always knew she wanted to be a softball coach. For Syracuse’s shortstop from 2010-13, coaching is a different role, but her former teammate and longtime friend Mary Dombrowksi thinks the transition has been seamless.“It’s nice to have her as a coach because I can still go to her for advice about what it may be,” Dombrowski said. “She has drawn the line a few times with all of us though, reminding us that she’s the coach and wants us to respect her that way.”While Morgan demands respect from her players, Matt doesn’t hesitate to joke around with his younger sister.“Why is your glove on your foot?” Matt sometimes jests to Morgan after a defensive miscue.Morgan has taken flak from her older brother and his friends since she was little, when the self-admitted tomboy would tag along with them.“She would have her little tempter tantrums playing sports with the older boys,” Marilyn said. “But they would never give in to her and it made her a tougher player while she was at Syracuse.”But the family dynamic on the SU softball doesn’t end with Matt and Morgan.Lindsay Nandin is the director of operations for the team and is also Matt’s wife. She also played second base and center field for the Orange from 2005-09. Morgan introduced Lindsay to Matt while Lindsay was an assistant coach for two years after she graduated.Matt recognizes that there is a certain novelty to the situation.“It’s pretty funny looking at the coaching roster and you have all of us with the same last name,” Matt said. “I’ve never seen something like this, so maybe we’re starting something new here.”The Nandin siblings were able to grow closer with greater distance apart from each other once Morgan went to college.Now, having Matt on the coaching staff has added a new level of comfort ability and familiarity for her and is enhancing her budding coaching career.“I didn’t really notice how much I looked up to him when I was younger,” Morgan said. “I was too busy getting mad at him, but once I got to college I realized I’ve looked up to him my whole life.”Morgan and Matt come from a tight-knit family, one that Lindsay later joined. And as they’ve united on the Syracuse staff, the whole program feels just as close.“I feel like we’re all part of the same family,” Ross said. “It really feels that way and I know the girls feel that way, too.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img

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