Section: Sports

Department of Athletics welcomes sixteen new coaches

Sixteen new coaches joined the Kenyon Department of Athletics during the off-season, a dramatic uptick from last year’s four coaching appointments. From cross country to volleyball, more than half of Kenyon’s 20 athletic teams welcomed at least one new hire to their flock.

One of the biggest shocks of summer was the departure of men’s soccer head coach Chris Brown and assistant coach Darren Moore on June 20. Brown began his tenure in 2005, and Moore joined his staff eight years later. In the 18 years since Brown’s arrival, the Owls compiled an astounding overall record of 238-72-36. Together, the coaches won eight NCAC regular-season championships, five NCAC Tournament titles and three NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year awards while also making 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 12 seasons. 

Coach Travis Wall was chosen to replace Brown one month after Brown’s departure. Wall, a Columbus, Ohio, native who played for and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) in 2012, joins Kenyon from St. Olaf College (Minn.) after serving as head coach for four years. Overall, St. Olaf went 43-18-3 across the previous four seasons. Wall is no stranger to the NCAC, as he is an inductee in OWU’s Athletics Hall of Fame and was named to the NCAC’s 2004-2013 All-Decade Team. During his time as a collegiate athlete, Wall was a two-time first team All-American and a captain of OWU’s 2011 national championship team as well as the 2011 NSCAA National Player of the Year. “I accepted the Kenyon job because it’s a top program in the country, with some of the best soccer facilities in the country, at one of the best academic institutions in the country,” Wall wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Kenyon is the only job I would have left my previous position for.”

Newly hired Assistant Coach Nick Taljan, a graduate of Cleveland State University, arrives from Baldwin Wallace University, where he served for three seasons as the assistant coach and video coordinator. 

Staying on Mavec Field, Women’s Soccer Head Coach Kelly Bryan announced the appointment of Maddy Ireton as an assistant coach for the Owls. Ireton, who served as the assistant coach at Lake Erie College (Pa.) for the past two years, played for Wooster College as a goalkeeper. As a captain during her 2018 senior season, Ireton helped lead the Fighting Scots to their first ever NCAC Tournament title and was named to the NCAC All-Tournament team. 

After six seasons at Kenyon, women’s lacrosse head coach Jess Good announced that she would be stepping away from coaching. On Aug. 21, Angelica Gero was appointed as the new head coach, as announced by Director of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation Jill McCartney. Gero joins the Owls from Aquinas College (Mich.), where she coached for the past five years. Gero, who is the 11th head coach in program history, will be looking to improve on women’s lacrosse’s stellar 2023 season, in which they went 18-2 and ended with a No. 21 ranking in the national poll. “I hope and plan to bring a lot of passion for our sport, as well as a lot of positivity and appreciation for being on a great team and having the opportunity to compete alongside fellow elite student-athletes,” Gero wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I am looking … forward to working in a great, collaborative work place with high standards and an exceptional support system.”

On the gridiron, Head Football Coach Ian Good announced four new coaching changes, including new hires for the offensive and defensive coordinator positions. Blake Cattrell was promoted to offensive coordinator after serving as the offensive line coach for the past two seasons. Cattrell also served as the team’s director of football operations last season. Then on Aug. 4, Good announced that Nate Wilson would join the Owls as an assistant coach. Wilson comes from Capital University, where he coached running backs and tight ends. On the defensive side of the ball, Brett McMurray earned a promotion to defensive coordinator back in January after serving as the defensive line coach the previous season. He will be joined by Dylan Hyatt, the new defensive backs coach and video coordinator. A graduate of DePauw University, Hyatt arrives in Gambier from Anderson University (Ind.). 

On the hardwood, recently hired Men’s Basketball Head Coach Steve Phillips appointed Justin Sosinsky as assistant coach of the Owls men’s basketball team. Sosinsky worked alongside Phillips at Williams College (Ma.) where they both served as assistant coaches. During their tenure, the Ephs went 55-22 and qualified for two NCAA Division III Tournaments.

Then on Aug. 18, the Department of Athletics announced that Brittany Stawovy joined the women’s basketball team as an assistant coach. Stawovy joins the Owls from Seton Hall University (Pa.), where she served as a graduate assistant coach. Stawovy graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2021, where she was a two-time team captain. 

Kirk Shellhouse, who was appointed the head coach of men’s and women’s cross country back in December 2022, will finally begin to coach as the fall season begins. Shellhouse arrives from Oglethorpe University (Ga.), where he served as the head coach for both the track and field and cross country programs for seven years. Additionally, Shellhouse will serve as an assistant coach for Kenyon’s track and field teams.

After volleyball head coach Emma Olson stepped away in mid-July, Sharon Adams was named the interim head coach of the team a few weeks later. Adams has over 30 years of coaching experience at the club, high school and college level. Joining Adams is Lauren O’Flaherty, the new volleyball assistant coach, who has experience mostly at the club level in and around Toledo, Ohio. 

 In late May, the Department of Athletics announced that Danielle Korman ’06 joined the Kenyon swimming and diving program as an associate head coach. Korman, a seven time All-American, returns to Gambier after successful coaching stints at Yale University (Conn.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley. 

On the diamond, head softball coach Emily Miller announced the hiring of Emily Engel as assistant coach. Engel is making her coaching debut with Kenyon after playing first base for NCAA Division I University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

Elsewhere, Taylor Geaglone joined the field hockey coaching staff as an assistant coach for the upcoming season. A recent graduate of University of New Haven (Ct.), Geaglone played under current Owls head coach Morgan Brozena for the first two years of her collegiate career and was voted the Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. 

Despite the unusually large amount of hires leading up to this academic year, McCartney is as eager and optimistic about the upcoming Athletic school year as ever. “We are very excited to have a number of new coaches join our department over the summer.  They bring experience and enthusiasm as well as an eagerness about being part of Kenyon,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Their energy in the department is contagious and I am very grateful to have them with us.”

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