By DUSTIN MAIN
GREELEY -- Northern Colorado softball coach Mark Montgomery, announced Tuesday a several changes to his coaching staff for the upcoming season.
Former pitcher and member of last year's staff Jamie Juelfs has been promoted to volunteer assistant coach, while former Bears' catcher Erin Wilkinson will take on the graduate manager position.
"Any time you can keep such talented players around your program, you have to be excited," Montgomery said. "Both Jamie and Erin have meant so much to this program over the past five years and the fact that they want to stay on here says a lot about the atmosphere at Northern Colorado.
"Both players had outstanding careers here and I know they will bring the same passion they played with to the coaching staff."
Montgomery also announced Aryn Henneke will be leaving the staff to take on a position of full-time mom, as she prepares for her third child. Henneke, from Greeley, spent two seasons with Montgomery and was the head coach at Northridge High School for three years before coming to the Bears.
"It's always sad to see such a great person and coach, like Aryn, leave your staff," Montgomery said. "But we're also excited for her and wish her nothing but the best."
While pitching for the Bears from 2008-11, Juelfs was a mainstay in the Northern Colorado's starting rotation. She logged a pair of All-PCSC Second Team honors and was also selected as PCSC Pitcher of the Week. As a senior, she ranked second on the team with 25 appearances while tossing 34 strikeouts.
Last season she stayed on with the team as a graduate manager – hoping to pass along her pitching expertise to the younger arms on the Bears' staff.
A four-year letter winner at Northern Colorado from 2009-12, Wilkinson will stay with the Bears as a graduate assistant manager as she also tackles a full graduate school class-load. Undoubtedly, she will bring plenty of experience to the coaching staff.
As a catcher for the Bears, Wilkinson started a combined 205 games -- not missing a single start in her four-year career. She also notched three PCSC Player of the Week awards and was named to the 2011 PCSC All-Mountain Division Honorable Mention team. In her senior season she managed a .244 hitting clip, while chipping in 18 RBI's and three homeruns.
The Bears start their fall exhibition season on Sunday, Sept. 23 in Fort Collins with the Triple Crown tournament. They will take on Dodge City Community College and Trinidad State Junior College in a double-header.