GFU news — The Bruins also hire a womens lacrosse coach, while womens golf coach MaryJo McCloskey is new director of golf operations

August was a busy month at Wheeler Sports Center, as the George Fox University athletic department hired three new head coaches and created a new position for head women’s golf coach MaryJo McCloskey.

The Bruins announced Aug. 1 that former high school all-American and Fresno State University standout Natalie Harrington will be the first coach to lead the school’s new women’s lacrosse team in 2014, then hired former Union High School head coach Maco Hamilton a week later to be the men’s basketball head coach.

Like clock­work, the university made it public Aug. 15 that former Newberg High School boys coach and Chehalem Glenn Golf Course pro Branden Thompson would succeed Matt Beck as head coach of the men’s golf team. At the same time, the school handed director of golf duties to McCloskey.

“Over the past four years, as our women’s team participated in the national championship tournament, I noticed that several of the top programs have both men’s and women’s teams competing at the nationals,” McCloskey said. “Our goal is make Bruin golf, both our women’s and men’s teams, one of those top programs. With Branden on board, I know we can get it done.”

Thompson, who has been at Chehalem Glenn since 2005 and coached Newberg since 2006, believes he is leaving the NHS program in a healthy place after being named Pacific Conference coach of the year and the Tigers placed third at the district tournament last year.

“I think they’re going to have their best year ever next year, so I feel comfortable with what’s there and the timing,” Thompson said. “This is a good opportunity. It’s exciting to move on to the college level.”

The Bruins originally tabbed Oregon City head coach Dara Kramer to lead the women’s lacrosse program, but she had a change of heart and chose to return to the Pioneers.

Harrington played for Kramer for four years at Oregon City and was named all-state and state championship game MVP after leading the Pioneers to the title in 2009.

At Fresno State, Harrington was a two-time team captain while playing at various times as an attacker, midfielder, and defender. She was named the Bulldogs’ player of the year as a junior and attacker of the year as a senior.

“Natalie’s energy, enthusiasm and lacrosse mentality make her a perfect fit for a startup program like ours,” GFU Athletic Director Craig Taylor said. “Her lacrosse credentials are impeccable, having come from one of the best high school programs in the state and then going on to a stellar career at a major college.”

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