New Coaches Bring Wealth of Experience to Prairie Fire Teams

August 17, 2012

From England to Australia and California to right here in Galesburg, new coaches are bringing a wealth of experience -- as seasoned coaches and athletes -- to the Prairie Fire men's soccer, volleyball, men's tennis  and women's tennis, track and field, and cross country teams.

Matt Edwards
Matt EdwardsA native of Southampton, England, Edwards says that recruiting is one of the strengths he hopes to bring to the Prairie Fire men's soccer program, an aspect of coaching that he was heavily involved with as a coach at Springfield and Amherst Colleges in Massachusetts. As an assistant coach at Amherst last season, he helped guide the team to a 16-2-2 record, a conference title, and a trip to the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen in one of the strongest NCAA Division III men's soccer programs in the country. "One thing that became very clear to me throughout the search process was how much people care about Knox's soccer program," said Edwards. "If we can direct this energy, together we can achieve great things." Learn more about Edwards.

Shayla Chalker
Shayla ChalkerA former standout volleyball player who made the transition to coaching the game will be leading Knox College on the court this fall. Chalker played on the Australian National Team, was a member of the Australian Championship Team, and was a four-time recipient of the Australian All-Star Six Award before coming to the U.S. At Coe College, she was also a two-time All-American, a first-team all-conference performer all four years, and was twice named NCAA Division III All-Central Region. Before coming to Knox, she was an assistant coach at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, and prior to that, Quincy University. "There is strong potential for the volleyball program to become one of the top programs in the Midwest," says Chalker of the Knox program. Learn more about Chalker.

Rob Rye
Rob RyeRye was hired in July as the head women's and men's tennis coach. Originally from Long Beach, California, Rye helped coach the Coe College tennis teams to Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) titles and first-round victories in the NCAA Division III Tournament last season. A tennis player for four years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, the team went 35-1 in conference matches, won one league title, and qualified for NCAA Division III tournaments during his junior and senior years. "Practically growing up on the court with tennis players and coaches in my family, playing high-level tennis in high school and college, and serving as an assistant coach for the past four years has prepared me well for this wonderful opportunity." Learn more about Rye.

Jason Haynes
Jason HaynesHaynes, who led the track and field teams on an interim basis last season, is the new full-time head coach. Haynes began his career at Knox in fall 2009 as the assistant cross country coach. He later became an assistant for the track and field teams as the sprints and high jump coach and was promoted to the main assistant coach in summer 2010. He continues to serve as an assistant cross country coach. "My goal in college was to score points for my team and contribute to its success at the conference level," says Haynes. "I want to instill that desire into my current athletes, as well as recruit athletes with the same mentality." Learn more about Haynes.

Alex Moreno
Alex Moreno '93Like Haynes, Moreno also shed the interim tag from his title when he was named the full-time head coach for the cross country team. Moreno '93 is a former captain and cross country MVP at Knox and was a member of the indoor and outdoor track and field teams, setting several all-time marks during his career and helping the outdoor squad win the 1987 Midwest Conference championship. Moreno said it's very special for him to lead the cross country program at Knox. "I am the first in my family to graduate from college, and Knox was the school that gave me the opportunity," says Moreno. "Now is my opportunity to give back, to serve, to show that I believe in what the College stands for." Moreno is also an assistant coach for the Prairie Fire track and field teams. Learn more about Moreno.

Knox has also hired two former golfers to serve as interim coaches. A.J. Shule '12 will serve as the interim head men's golf coach. Rielly Parungao, a graduate of Monmouth College, is the interim head women's golf coach and the assistant men's golf coach. A permanent coach for the Knox golf teams will be named in the near future.

The College has one more vacancy to fill. A national search began last month to find a new head men's basketball coach, with plans to have that person in place at the beginning of fall classes.