New coaches hired, athletic director position remains vacant

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Brock Sports announced the hiring of several new coaches over the summer. While many positions have since been filled, they are still looking for an Athletic Director. Former Director of Brock Sports Neil Lumsden suddenly retired in January after three years with the university. Lumsden oversaw the hiring of successful coaches and many teams reached new milestones during his tenure.

Men’s basketball and men’s hockey qualified for U Sports Nationals for the first time in over a decade. Wrestling continued to dominate, maintaining their status as a bona-fide dynasty, winning national championships in both men’s and women’s competition all three years that Lumsden was with Brock. Bryan Boles took over as interim director in January. A permanent director is yet to be announced, but Associate Director Emily Allan expects to make it official in the next few weeks.

The men’s basketball team added former Carleton Ravens assistant coach, Willy Manigat while the women’s team signed last year’s interim coach, Mike Rao, to a three-year contract. Rao led the women to their first playoff win since 2012 and will look to bring the team to new heights over the next few years.

Women’s rugby will look to find success in the Shiels division after a spectacular season that led to their promotion in 2018. New coach Mark Smerdon recognizes that there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes along with joining the team at this stage in their journey. Smerdon’s long rugby resume includes a position as the head coach of Rugby Ontario’s U18 girls squad, the Director of Rugby for the Mississauga Blues and the Director of Women’s Rugby Upright Rugby Rogues Sevens. The women finished fourth in the OUA last season, and Smerdon is looking to remain in the Shiels division.

Matt Ragogna remains an interim coach for men’s volleyball after the departure of Doug Hanes, who was with the program for three years. Ragogna served as an assistant for the past two seasons while also working with Niagara Rapids Volleyball for the past seven years, he has been their technical director for two years. The men finished last season with a 6-12 record as losing streaks in October and January left them unable to contend. Ragogna graduated from Brock with a Sport Management degree in 2015, while also captaining the volleyball team.

Curling is still looking for a new coach after long time head of the program, Murray Etherington, retired this past season.

“We’re definitely sad to see Murray go — he was a force to be reckoned with during his tenure as the Brock Badgers curling coach,” said Allan.

His final season saw him lead both men’s and women’s teams to the U Sports Nationals in New Brunswick where the women walked away with a bronze medal and two athletes were named first team All-Canadians. Etherington spent 10 years with the university. When he took over, he was given a program that hadn’t seen much success since the seventies. As he leaves, the program is one of the best in the country. The women’s team qualified for seven national championships, earning three silver medals and a bronze, the men qualified for six and came away with a bronze in 2012. Etherington himself is helping to find his replacement. “We are confident we’ll find a strong group of coaches to move forward with,” said Allan.

“[They] all come with a vast array of experience at various levels, and I am more than confident in the teams they will grow, and the culture they will foster,” said Allan of the new hires.

The recent coaching changes have given Brock Sports a new look, but the biggest change of all is still yet to be announced.

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