OREM, Utah – Utah Valley University interim softball coach Rachel Hartgrove has announced the hiring of Tara Bendt and Josh Musselman to her coaching staff.
Bendt comes to UVU after coaching a year at Utah and UNLV, while Musselman comes from Southern California where he has coached at Loyola Marymount, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal Baptist, Sonoma State and Pasadena City College.
"Tara's going to be a great addition to our program, having played at many different levels she brings experience and a great perspective. She will connect well with the girls," Hartgrove said. "She was a great collegiate player, where her strengths were outfield and slapping. Her experience will help our young slappers and outfielders. She brings the knowledge of many different coaching philosophies to the staff, having played and coached at SLCC, UNLV, Utah and the pro tour.
"Josh is also a great addition to the program," Hartgrove said. "He brings an over the top approach to recruiting and scouting. He has coached at many different colleges and has coached many high caliber athletes. With Josh's connection in Southern California I will look for him to use that in recruiting and signing future student-athletes. I will also look to Josh to help with our hitters to develop more power and consistency throughout our lineup."
Bendt is originally from South Dakota but resides in South Jordan, Utah. She was a standout softball player at Kearns High School in Kearns, Utah, and then went on to play two years at Salt Lake Community College. Bendt was an All-American player in 2008 and was also named the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Year that year. She then transferred to UNLV where she had a stellar career which included being named a First Team All-Mountain West Conference Player and a two-time all-conference scholar athlete.
Bendt went on to coach at the University of Utah as the director of softball operations for the Utes in 2011. She also coached last season as a volunteer assistant at her alma mater, UNLV. Bendt too has coaching experience at the club and high school level.
Bendt received her bachelor's degree from UNLV in 2012.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the staff," Bendt said. "It's close to home and is a solid program. This is a good opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to it."
Musselman, who is originally from Long Beach, Calif., comes to UVU from the Los Angeles area where he was most recently the head coach at Edison High School in Huntington Beach. Musselman was also the head coach at Pasadena City College in 2011, a volunteer assistant at Loyola Marymount in 2010, an assistant at Sonoma State in 2008 and 2009, an assistant at Cal State San Bernardino in 2006 and 2007, and an assistant at Cal Baptist in 2003.
Musselman has had many different coaching responsibilities during his tenure. While coaching at LMU, he worked with 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team member Sam Fischer. He also has worked extensively with improving his teams' offensive production over the years, as well as helping his student-athletes improve their grades in the classroom.
Musselman graduated from Antioch University of Los Angeles with his bachelor's degree in 2007 and Concordia University of Irvine with his master's in 2011.
"I'm trilled to get back into coaching at the Division I level," Musselman said. "It's such a great opportunity to be here. This is going to be a tough conference this year but everything is in place for us to be very successful. "
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.