BEN SCHMIDT/Herald photoThis past year shed a spotlight on head coaches at the University of Wisconsin.Just as 2006 began, football coaching legend Barry Alvarez said his good-byes after the Badgers’ Capital One Bowl victory over Auburn, as Bret Bielema then took over the reins.Being the second-youngest coach in NCAA Division I football at age 36, Bielema had a great amount of weight on his shoulders. Making matters more difficult, Wisconsin was a team that was predicted to finish in the middle of the Big Ten after losing several key members from a year ago.Nevertheless, Bielema guided the UW football team to an 11-1 record and a return trip to the Capital One Bowl, becoming just the sixth rookie head coach in NCAA history to win 11 games. Along the way, Bielema earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, becoming only the second coach in Wisconsin history to win the award — the other being his predecessor, Alvarez.”It’s a tremendous honor,” Bielema said his award in a Nov. 21 press conference. “It’s something that I’ll carry with me for a long time, but really it’s a reflection of what our team has been able to do, and our staff.”I’m very proud of what our guys have been able to accomplish here.”But Bielema wasn’t the only head coach on campus to enjoy success this past year.Wisconsin’s softball program hired its first new head coach — the second in its 10-year history — in Chandelle Schulte.Despite inheriting a team that lost six starters on the diamond, Schulte led the softball team to a 22-win season, the Badgers’ eighth season with a .500 record or better. She also recorded her 300th career victory as a head coach after several successful seasons at both Southern Charleston and the College of Charleston before arriving in Madison.While it may have been no surprise, Ed Nuttycombe led the UW men’s track and field team to yet another dominating season. For the third straight year, Nuttycombe was named the Big Ten’s outdoor and indoor track and field Coach of the Year. But Nuttycombe let his team do the talking for him as, also for the third straight year, the Badgers won the Big Ten Triple Crown — cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field championships in the same academic year.Several other UW head coaches hit some personal milestones as well.Women’s soccer head coach Dean Duerst — already the program’s winningest coach in his 13 seasons at the helm — earned his 150th career victory and volleyball head coach Pete Waite marked his 450th career win.But the one Wisconsin head coach who earned the highest honors was Mark Johnson of the women’s hockey team.After leading the Badgers to the national championship, Johnson was named the 2006 American Hockey Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year.The title and award are just the latest of Johnson’s achievements, though, as every year since Johnson has taken over as head coach, the Badgers have set a new school record for wins.It’s easy to see, with all these accomplished head coaches, how Wisconsin is quickly establishing itself as a school of winning tradition on many college athletic fronts.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm Contact Connor: email@example.com | @connorgrossman Evan Molloy has seen Syracuse’s defense start to click, and it’s “beautiful” from his view. The defensive midfielders. The long poles. The close defenders. Molloy rattled off a laundry list of outstanding remarks about a unit that put Syracuse on the fringe of NCAA tournament contention for two months.The junior goalkeeper’s only notable omission was himself. Since entering a blowout loss to Notre Dame with 11 minutes left and allowing three goals to whizz past him in that timeframe, he’s been the best thing to happen to the Orange defense.“It’s better than what I expected,” head coach John Desko of Molloy’s play. “… I made the decision to go with (Molloy) and I’m glad I did. It’s worked out really well. He’s playing well and playing better.”He was rock solid again from the crease, allowing one goal in two and a half quarters before Warren Hill relieved him in No. 5 Syracuse’s (11-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) 18-3 explosion against Colgate (4-10, 2-6 Patriot) on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. Molloy’s teammates and coaches have lauded the first-time starter for his communication and athleticism outside the crease.The skill set was on full display against the Raiders, as Molloy scooped up a loose ball on Colgate’s first possession of the game after defender Nick Mellen had it knocked out of his stick in a brief moment of panic. The 6-foot-1 goalie emerged from his safe zone and deftly slung a pass to Brandon Mullins, rescuing the possession.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA savior role is the one that’s best fit Molloy. He’s revived plenty of possessions, but the ultimate topper for SU is the amount of opposing possessions that haven’t reached the back of the net. He hasn’t allowed a goal in one third of his quarters (8-of-24) since becoming a starter.“I think that I’ve become more patient,” Molloy said. “I think I kind of more attacked the ball when I first got here. I think I kind of took a step back and let the game come to me more.”He’s welcomed it with open arms, and added a new dimension to Syracuse’s defense. Molloy’s willingness to vacate the crease has lent itself seamlessly to clearing situations, which he’s now prominently a part of.Raiders head coach Mike Murphy knew what his team was up against with Molloy, and the problems he’d cause them on the ride. To counter, Murphy wanted his players to get in Molloy’s face, forcing an errant pass or turnover. But it didn’t stop Molloy from either dishing off to a defender, or even launching a 20-plus yard pass up field to create transition offense with Tom Grimm.Murphy wanted his team to work Molloy side-to-side, preventing the home run pass. But the Syracuse goalkeeper kept swinging. And in the few swings the Raiders put on goal, Molloy performed well as a catcher.“He seems to be seeing the ball really well down the stretch,” Murphy said, “which is always great when you’re moving into tournament play.“You’re going to need your goalie to be the guy that erases mistakes.”That’s all he’s done since entering the UND game on April 2 that was lost many minutes before he stepped in the crease. Since then, his team has one loss and is bound for the NCAA tournament with a conference championship under it’s belt.Molloy’s fortified the Syracuse’s greatest weakness, and in its eyes, it’s a beautiful thing. Comments
His side are in Denmark to face Midtjylland in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.Whoever wins the trophy also qualifies for next season’s Champions League.Van Gaal says it may be their best route to get there.