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BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College has announced the addition of women’s field hockey as its 22nd varsity sport beginning in the fall of 2012, according to Bethany Director of Athletics and Recreation Tim Weaver.

Weaver also announced the head coach of the program, which will use the 2011-12 season to recruit before beginning a full varsity schedule in 2012. Current Bison assistant softball coach Kristen McGaughey will be the field hockey head coach and also continue her role with the softball program. The addition of field hockey continues a period of growth for the Bethany athletic department, as men’s lacrosse just completed its first varsity season this past spring.

Bethany is very proud to bring Field Hockey back at this exciting time in our athletics program,” said Weaver.  “Coach McGaughey, through her work with our outstanding softball program, has proven to be a dynamic leader and very effective recruiter. These are qualities that will help her get a startup program on its feet and ultimately lead us to having a successful team.”

Women’s field hockey is actually returning to the Bison athletic department, as the sport was dropped following the 1989-90 school year. Bethany fielded a strong field hockey program from the late 1970’s through the mid-1980’s. The Bison won five consecutive Pennwood West Conference titles from 1977-81 and captured two more crowns in 1983 and 1984 before claiming the 1985 PAC championship with a record of 13-3-1 overall and 6-0 in the PAC.

The head coach of the last field hockey team in 1989 was Jan Forsty, who is still at Bethany as the head softball and women’s tennis coach and associate athletic director. She has worked with McGaughey for the last three years and sees her as an outstanding coach to start up the field hockey program again.

“Kristen is an excellent recruiter who knows the values of a Division III athletic experience and the importance of an outstanding education value at Bethany College,” said Forsty. “In addition to being a great recruiter, she is an outstanding coach with a tremendous knowledge of strength and conditioning, motivation and practice planning. I am confident that she will help launch an outstanding field hockey program at Bethany.”

McGaughey came to Bethany in 2008 after graduating from Ashland (Ohio) University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She finished her softball career at Ashland ranked third in career home runs (19) and fifth in career RBIs (99) and was a two-time All-GLIAC selection, as well as a First Team All-Great Lakes Region pick as a junior.

Since arriving at Bethany, McGaughey has helped lead the Bison softball program to 88 victories in three seasons, including a school-record 35 in 2010, as well as three consecutive postseason appearances. Bethany captured its PAC-record 13th conference championship in 2011 and earned its sixth trip to NCAA Regionals. The chance to start a new program at the school is an exciting opportunity for McGaughey.

“I am extremely honored to have this opportunity to re-instate this exciting sport at Bethany,” said McGaughey. “Field hockey is a tremendous team sport that will allow even more out-of-the-classroom learning experience for our female student-athletes. I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead of adding another competitive program to Bethany’s tradition-rich athletic department.”