UC Merced this week named coaches for its women’s basketball programs and new men’s and women’s water polo programs.
On Friday afternoon, Executive Director of Recreation and Athletics David Dunham named Kellie Bernard the women’s basketball coach.
Johnny Bega, NCAA national champion while on Cal staff and longtime San Jose State coach, has been named the first men’s and women’s water polo head coach at UC Merced earlier this week.
Bernard was the senior assistant at Menlo College last year when she helped the Oaks to 16 wins and a berth in the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.
“I am thrilled and honored to be named the new head coach of UC Merced women’s basketball,” said Bernard. “This program has a history of success and excellence that I am delighted to build on. With this strong foundation, an exceptional school and a group of capable players, I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this program. to new heights.
Bernard succeeds former Bobcats coach Sarah Hopkins-Cherry, who stepped down to take charge of Cal State Monterey Bay’s women’s basketball program in June. UC Merced went 103-66 during his tenure.
Bernard has also been an assistant at Ohio Christian University and Ohio Wesleyan University. Bernard, a native of Swayzee, Indiana, has a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Clarks Summit University and a master’s degree in adapted physical education from Western Michigan University.
“We are thrilled to have Kellie join our staff to lead our women’s basketball program,” Dunham said. “I look forward to working with her to continue building on our tradition of success within our women’s basketball program.”
Former Atwater takes over water polo program
Bega, a graduate of Atwater High, comes to UC Merced with more than 25 years of coaching experience at various levels, including as Cal’s assistant and 10 years at San Jose State, including three as a coach. female water polo coach.
“I’m thrilled to have Johnny lead the startup of our men’s and women’s water polo teams,” Dunham said. “He brings a wealth of experience at all levels of water polo and his experience of water polo in the valley will allow us to build a successful program.”
Bega led San Jose State to a pair of final top-10 finishes and 20 winning seasons during his three years as head coach.
Bega worked as a volunteer assistant in Santa Clara and Long Beach State before San Jose State. At the international level, Bega served as the head coach of the junior girls and junior boys in the United States National Zone 11. From 1997 to 2001, he coached in Japan, Hungary, Brazil, Greece and the Netherlands. Down.
“I am truly excited to join the University of California, Merced Athletics and look forward to mentoring student athletes at the highest level,” Bega said. “I come with ‘Anything is possible.’ Anything is possible for student-athletes and I look forward to guiding their journey.
The 1999 Long Beach State graduate majored in vocational education. Bega will move to Colorado’s Central Valley with his wife Alexandra, daughter Keira and two English bulldogs.
“I’m super excited to be back in the Valley and the rich history of water polo,” Bega said.