INDIANOLA, Iowa – Brent Matthias, the current head softball coach at Waverly-Shell Rock High School, has been hired as the next head softball coach at Simpson College, Director of Athletics Brian Niemuth announced Monday.
A veteran coach with experience at the Division III level, Matthias will honor his contract with Waverly-Shell Rock through the 2016 season and begin coaching the Storm during the 2017 campaign. Kyle Owens will serve as Simpson's interim head coach for the 2016 season, though Matthias will immediately become actively involved in recruiting.
"Brent is a perfect fit for Simpson," Niemuth said. "He has been a winner everywhere he's coached and he brings significant experience as a recruiter at the Division III level. He has a great passion for coaching and we are excited for him to begin his tenure."
Matthias most recently spent the 2015 season as the head coach at Waverly-Shell Rock, where he led the Go-Hawks to a Class 4A-best 34 wins in his first year at the helm. The Go-Hawks won the Northeast Iowa Conference title and advanced to the State Tournament.
"I'm excited to be at a place where the foundation has been built and student-athletes have won two national titles," Matthias said. "I'm excited to be a part of the Simpson family, knowing the importance that is placed on well-being of student-athletes. It's a place where winning is important – both on the diamond and in life."
Matthias began his coaching career as an assistant baseball coach at Wartburg College, where he also served in the admissions department. Matthias helped the Knights to four-straight Iowa Conference championships and four-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1999-2002, including the program's first appearance in the Division III College World Series in 2000. He also spent the 2010 season as an assistant at Wartburg.
Before taking his current post at Waverly-Shell Rock, Matthias coached Denver High School in Denver, Iowa from 2007-14. He won more than 130 games in his seven years with the Cyclones.
Matthias will take over a program that flourished under former head coach Henry Christowski. Christowski won more than 600 games during his Hall of Fame career that spanned 20 seasons, including Division III National Championships in 1997 and 1999. He retired following the 2015 season as one of the winningest coaches in Division III history.
"Coming into the toughest conference in Division III softball, it will take a lot of knowledge and talent to win," Matthias said. "I bring a lot of high energy and we'll play with fire and passion. We want to do the small things that make the scoreboard turn out in our favor.
"I've always been a coach that likes to play at a fast pace with lots of energy so the kids have fun. We will play every day like it's our last. Nothing is more important than the game ahead of us. Nothing is more important than the precious present, the day we have."
The Storm went 31-12 in 2015 and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Regional Championship game in Bloomington, Ill., before losing to Alma. The Storm return four starting position players and three pitchers from last year's team, including All-Iowa Conference picks Brianna Chaplin (of), Riley Fisher (p) and Tori Haag (c).