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July 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. –Christopher Newport University assistant Stephanie Bernthal has been named the new head field hockey coach at Bethany College, as announced by director of athletics and recreation Tim Weaver.

Bernthal will lead the Bison into their first varsity season since 1989-90. According to Weaver, the department is thrilled to have someone with Bernthal’s coaching and playing experience to guide the program into its first season back on campus.

“Stephanie is a great fit as our first Field Hockey coach,” said Weaver. “She has experience as a Division I player, as a coach at a very successful Division III program and ties to the region, which will help a great deal in our recruiting efforts. Her communication skills and attention to detail are keys to being successful with a new program. Stephanie has a clear vision of how she wants to implement her plan, and we will support her and the program in those efforts. She impressed everyone involved in the interview process and we are very happy to welcome her to the Bethany College community.”

A member of the United States Field Hockey Association with Level I Coaching Accreditation, Bernthal was a full time assistant at Christopher Newport for one season and helped the Captains finish 12-6 last year. The program, which was ranked as high as 17th in the country and had five one-goal losses during the year, earned its sixth consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament where CNU fell by a narrow 3-1 margin at Ursinus (Pa.) College. As part of the Captains’ staff, Bernthal was the recruiting coordinator, as well as the fundraising coordinator for foreign tours, and aided in planning practices and individual sessions and breaking down game tape.

In addition to her work at Christopher Newport, Bernthal was the Director of Club Events for the StickPower Field Hockey Club in Newport News, Va. She has also served as a coach with the United States Field Hockey Association Futures Program, including the Futures Elite Level I Site in Virginia Beach, the Regional Futures Tournament and National Training Center Red Site in 2012. Prior to her appointment at Christopher Newport, she was the junior varsity coach at Stow-Monroe Falls High School in Stow, Ohio.

Bernthal began coaching after a decorated playing career at Kent State University, where she was a four-year starter on defense. During her career, she helped lead the Golden Flashes to two MAC regular season championships and the MAC Tournament Championship and an NCAA Play-in game appearance in 2008. Bernthal was a two-time All-MAC selection, including First Team honors in 2008 when she posted six assists and one defensive save while also heading up a defense that allowed just 1.18 goals per game. She was selected to the All-West Region Second Team for her performance in ’08.

Bernthal was just as accomplished in the classroom at Kent State as she was on the field. She was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association All-Academic Team all four years of her career and was voted to the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team in 2008. Bernthal earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Kent State, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2008 and earning a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2011.

From having the chance to take over a first-year program to the overall tradition of the school and beauty of the campus, Bernthal is looking forward to leading the first-year program at Bethany.

“I am really thankful for this opportunity that Tim Weaver and (Bethany President) Dr. (Scott) Miller have provided me,” said Bernthal. “I am looking forward to building a program from the ground up and start a tradition that fits with the profile of a small school of national distinction like Bethany.

“Geographically, Bethany is in a good place, being close to hot beds for field hockey in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and northern Virginia,” said Bernthal. “The school has a strong academic profile and the campus is obviously very beautiful. All the things are in place to create a successful program and I’m really excited to get started.”

Bernthal’s early goals include building the roster size with players who embrace what Bethany has to offer and then bring the program along to become a contender nationally.

“My short-term goals include establishing a tone for the program, which means bringing in people who are excited to meet the mission we set,” said Bernthal. “We need to build the roster size and move forward at a more competitive level. Once we reach those, then we can look to be competitive on the national level.”