The North Central College athletic department over the summer hired several new head coaches, including three alumni and two coaches for inaugural programs.
Jenny Garrison is the first head coach of the new women’s triathlon program, one of the first of its kind in collegiate athletics. Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women at the NCAA Convention in January 2014, and North Central announced its addition as a varsity program in April.
A lifelong Naperville resident who has earned several victories in local triathlons and running races, Garrison frequently serves as a keynote speaker for running and triathlon clubs and is a two-time finisher of the infamous Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.
Jay Farrell is the first head coach of the men’s lacrosse program, which will begin varsity play in spring 2017. Farrell will be a part of a start-up program for the third time in his coaching career; most recently he built a program as a head coach at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, where he guided the Eagles into varsity competition for the first time in spring 2013. He compiled an overall record of 28-20 in three seasons.
The women’s lacrosse team will have new leadership under head coach Danielle Fiala ’13. A four-year starter for North Central from 2010-2013 and the program’s current career scoring leader, Fiala spent two years at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, where she started the Knights’ lacrosse program. Wartburg finished with a record of 4-12 in its first season of varsity play in 2015.
North Central’s most recent national champion in swimming, Mark Schmitt ’06, returns for the coming academic year as head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach. The 2006 NCAA Division III national champion in the 200-yard backstroke and a five-time Division III All-American, Schmitt most recently served as the lead senior coach at the Maverick Swim Club in Naperville and spent four years (2009-2013) as an assistant coach at North Central.
Trustee Steve Sellers ’76 begins his first season as head coach of North Central’s men’s golf program after three seasons as an assistant coach. The Cardinals placed fourth in the CCIW Championships last spring, their highest finish in the event since 1998.
Lydia Pond takes over as head women’s tennis coach, replacing the retiring Don Moravec ’69, who won a school-record 102 matches in 10 seasons. Pond has served as North Central’s coordinator of recreation and assistant athletics facilities and events manager since 2010.