By: Jordan Stiede
Over the summer, the Ripon College athletic department welcomed two new members into its Red Hawk family. First, in July, Brooke Kalman was hired as the head softball coach, making her just the third person to hold that position at the school in the last 19 years. In 2014, Kalman, a native of Edgemont, Pa., earned a B.A. in psychology from a private liberal arts college in Gettysburg, Pa., called Gettysburg College. In addition, at Gettysburg, Kalman played softball for four years and was a second team all-conference selection as a senior. For the past two years, Kalman has been an assistant coach at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. She coached at Ursinus College as she completed her master’s degree at Villanova University.
“When I completed my graduate degree this past spring, I finally felt like I could start applying for some head coaching jobs,” Kalman said. “I loved my experience as a Division III student-athlete at a small, high academic, liberal arts college, so when applying for head coaching jobs that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Kalman has many goals for her team this year, and she hopes that this off-season will be a time not only for her to get to know the girls, but also for the girls to get to know her. Moreover, she wants to make sure her girls are mentally and physically prepared for the spring season.
“Championships are won in the off-season, and I want to make sure that the members of the team truly understand that,” said Kalman.
Last month, John Grosz was hired as the new Ripon College head cycling coach. Grosz graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 1991 and majored in product design. Then, he went on to UW-Stout where he earned his B.F.A. in industrial design. Although Grosz is a lifelong bike rider, he only became really passionate about cycling in 2007.
“I got into mountain bike racing in the WORS and WEMS series and did some road races as well,” Grosz said. “In 2009 I found cyclocross racing and have been really loving that ever since.”
Cyclocross racing is a specific type of bike racing that mostly occurs on courses off-road, and throughout the course, a biker can expect to encounter grass, dirt, mud, gravel, and sand.
Grosz has never coached a sport before, but he sees this opportunity as a challenge and a great way to contribute more to the cycling community as well as become a part of the Ripon College community. His goal is to learn about the athletes as cyclists and as people. As the season progresses, his focus will shift to what is needed build the program and have a stable roster.