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New Year, New Coaches- A look at new faces in BGSU athletics

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BGSU Coaches- Who’s In? Who’s Out?

BOWLING GREEN, OHIO- Ah yes, the sights, sounds and excitement of a new school year. Students back in classrooms, the restart of programs across campus, and the kickoff of athletic seasons across the country. 

Here at BGSU, with fall seasons either nearing their start or already underway, some fans might be wondering: who is that new coach over there on the sideline? 

Various teams across the BGSU athletic landscape have either undergone a new regime change, so let’s take a deep dive into the recent activity within the Falcon coaching world.

Gymnastics

On June 24, BGSU Gymnastics Head Coach Kerrie Turner announced the hiring of Rebekah Hill as a graduate assistant to the program.

Hill joins the Falcons after spending the last four years at Oregon State with the Beavers. A native of Albany, Oregon,  Bekah graduated from Oregon State in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, focusing in sports psychology and overall mental health

Having coached gymnastics for two years at Oregon State Gymnastics Academy, Hill has coached various gymnasts to qualify for Region II Championships, while being responsible for leading the choreography of their floor routines. 

Softball

On July 14, in the wake of former head coach Sarah Willis’ departure to Bradley University, the BGSU Softball program announced the hiring of former alum Candace Fenton-Bockbrader as new head coach of the Falcons. 

A face familiar to all Falcon Softball fans, Fenton-Bockbrader receives the nod after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the program. She is now the ninth head coach in program history. 

A native of Ortonville, Mich., Fenton-Bockbrader earned four letters during her playing career on the Falcon softball team, starting 24 games at first base in the 2003 season. She was in the lineup for all but four of the first 28 games that spring, before missing the final month of the season due to injury. She hit .232 over those three years and had a .995 fielding percentage in that ’03 campaign, making just one error in 186 total chances. 

In her coaching tenure with the Falcons so far, Fenton-Bockbrader has helped the Orange and Brown achieve two of the most successful seasons in the last decade. The Falcons have gone 61-48 overall (.560) and 35-31 (.530) in the MAC in that time.

Men’s Soccer

On August 3, men’s soccer coach Eric Nichols announced the addition of Martin Melchor as an assistant coach to his staff, after the departure of Sean Teppen, who left for another coaching position at the University of Louisville. 

A former standout player at Coastal Carolina, Melchor joins the Falcons after a stint at UT Tyler. Prior to his time there, Melchor spent three seasons as head coach of both the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Texas. During this time, Melchor led the programs to their deepest postseason runs in school history, while leading the women’s program to their first ever national ranking in 2020. 

In his playing days, Melchor was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference second-team selection at Coastal, playing in 82 career matches while making 41 starts. He had 49 career points on 19 goals and 11 assists with the Chanticleers.

Melchor graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Sport Management from Coastal Carolina University in 2017 and earned a Master of Science degree in Athletic Administration from Texas A&M-Commerce University in 2020. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. of Sport Management from Troy University.

Golf

On August 12, the BGSU men’s and women’s golf programs announced the hiring of Assistant Coach Isaiah Jackson to the coaching staff. 

Jackson, prior to his arrival here at BGSU, served as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Memphis University. As a collegiate student-athlete, Jackson set the Memphis single-season stroke average mark during the 2019-20 season with an average of 70. He was also the 2020 Mississippi Amateur Champion and the 2018 Patriot All-America Champion in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jackson spent last fall playing professional golf, becoming the winner of the Swing Thought Tour Event in Lansing, Michigan in September while playing on the Swing Thought Tour and the All-Pro Tour. 

Swim & Dive

Back on August 19, BGSU Swim & Dive Head Coach Rickey Perkins announced the additions of assistant coaches Michael Retcher and Ryan Collins to the staff. 

Retcher joins the program after spending 13 seasons as the Head Diving Coach at Napoleon High School and the Napoleon Diving Club. In his time with the Wildcats, Retcher oversaw 43 student-athletes qualify for the OHSAA State Diving Championships, with 17 placing in the top 10 and eight competing for NCAA Division I programs. His most successful season was last year, as the Wildcats saw divers place second, third, seventh, 14th, 21st, and 24th at the state meet. 

A native of Northeast Ohio, Collins comes to BGSU after spending the 2021-22 season with Youngstown State. He was responsible for leading the Penguins sprint group, and during his time, he guided athletes to nine school records, 60 lifetime PR’s, and 106 school top-10 times.

Tennis

The last of the hirings made by former Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger, the BGSU Tennis program announced the hiring of head coach Mike Bonnell on August 22. 

Bonnell comes to Bowling Green after spending the last six years at Ohio Northern University as the head coach of the men’s program, and the women’s program last season. He is the ninth head coach in program history, and replaces Stephanie Dalmacio, who left the program. 

In his six years at ONU, Bonnell guided the men’s team to a 73-41 overall record and Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) regular season and tournament titles in 2022. Throughout his tenure, Bonnell also coached 22 All-OAC honorees, 19 Academic All-OAC selections, and the 2018-19 OAC Player of the Year, Vinh Thai. 

Bonnell looks to rejuvenate a program that despite its individual successes, went 4-17 last season, including a nine-game losing streak to end the year.

 

For more stories about BGSU Athletics, make sure to visit www.bgfalconmedia.com, or go to www.bgsufalcons.com. 

 

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