Buena Vista University’s Many Coaching Changes in Recent Years Mark a Time Change


Allie Hartman

Tanner Frost, Co-Sports Editor

If you live in Storm Lake or have followed the Buena Vista Athletics teams throughout the years, you know Head Baseball Coach Steve Eddie. His 18 years in the role, in addition to his 412 careers wins, marks a historical head coach tenure at BVU. 

However, Coach Eddie’s story is far from average at the university. In fact, the second two longest tenured Head Coaches at BVU this season will be Head Softball Coach Mandie Berneking and Head Men’s Soccer Coach Ben McArthur in their fifth years. 

Though there’s a handful of coaches in their third and fourth years now behind Berneking and McArthur, there’s been a substantial change in the many coaching crews of Buena Vista. 

The Beaver Football team underwent a huge change during the winter of 2016. The Grant Mollring era began with five newly introduced coaches, while also retaining Chad Hustedt and Trevor Berneking. The staff also welcomed Kelsey Lewis, Jeremy Curry, and Joe McLain, who would replace the previous receivers coach, this fall. 

Meanwhile, both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams said goodbye to their pair of long-time head coaches Brian Van Haaften and Janet Berry last winter. Though Berry would remain on campus to take over the Women’s Golf coaching spot, her replacement turned out to be not too far away.  

Dana Christen, once Berry’s assistant, stepped up to fill the spot and is enjoying a successful start to her first outing as head coach. Todd Lorensen, the Beaver Men’s Basketball squad leader, made the switch from Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa to Storm Lake in the spring. Coming off of a historic tenure with their basketball team which included two conference championships and a Coach of the Year award, Lorensen has begun his season with a bang as well. 

With the Beaver Volleyball season now concluded, first-year Head Coach Aubrey Havlichek enjoyed a successful year with three All-Conference selections and a 13-12 record. 

Mark Rial, in his first year as the Wrestling coach for BVU, is enjoying a promising start to his time at the university. Looking to get the Beavers back into winning ways, they’ve already claimed multiple medals from various tournaments including the annual BVU Open this past weekend on Dec. 8. 

Just announced this week was Benton Frayne, the Women’s Soccer team’s newest head coach. Frayne, a former assistant coach at Gustavus Adolphus, is excited to begin his time here. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Buena Vista,” says Frayne.  “President Merchant and Athletic Director Jack Denholm have a vision for the future of Buena Vista University, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that vision.”  

After the departure of former Director of Athletic Performance Ryder Weischedel, Buena Vista looked to quickly fill the open position in the weight room. 

Now in his second week at BV, new Director of Athletic Performance Joshua Cue has been welcomed to the university with open arms. Already taking control of the athletic teams’ workouts, the experience he brings from a successful Chowan University football team will prove beneficial to improving the department. 

There’s also still an open position. The Women’s Tennis team has a recently vacant head coach spot and will look to fill it before their offseason kick into high gear. 

Leading them all is BVU’s Athletic Director Jack Denholm in his third year in the role. Denholm commented on the shifting of persons, and why there’s been changes made. 

“Some of it is that Van Haaften took a new job; Jeff Breese took a new position to be closer to home on the east coast. Some changes just perpetuated from that,” says Denholm. “It kind of goes with the territory just a little bit and this happens all over the place, not just BV.” 

Denholm is just one important member on a committee designed to bring in the best coaches to BVU, and their screening process for candidates requires qualities the committee desires in a coach. 

“We go through the whole process with them. It’s experience, what they bring to the table, what their vision is, goals, things like that. It’s just a huge, long process. They meet with a lot of people on campus. There’s so much that goes into it. A lot of it is recommendations, what past experiences they’ve had, what past successes they’ve had, so there’s tons of things that we look at.” says Denholm. 

With the changes made throughout the years, there’s also been attempts to give a glimpse into the lives of the Buena Vista coaches. 

Last year, former KBVU Sports Director Tanner Hoops held the “Monday Evening Sports Talk” from Storm Lake’s famous Smokin’ Hereford. With help from BVU’s Sports Information Director Steven Phelps, the duo interviewed the campus’ various coaches. 

There is a new show of a similar vein this year with The Friday Afternoon Club with current KBVU Sports Director Tanner Frost, and aforementioned Head Football Coach Grant Mollring. Live on KBVU at every Friday at 2:00, the duo discuss with one student-athlete, and one coach from the Beaver Athletic teams to give fans a more personal look at their lives, and why they compete. 

It’s been a time of change for not only BVU Athletics, but the school as a whole. With a recently inaugurated president and a new pep band to liven up sporting event atmospheres, 2018 finishes on a high note for Beaver sports.