NKU gains new coach, loses another

Tim Downer

The NKU administration made an important move Thursday: it named Dave Bezold the new head men’s basketball coach.

Bezold, 38, an assistant to former head coach Ken Shields for 14 years, was chosen from four finalists.

“Everything he touches, he touches with class,” said Athletic Director Jane Meier. “He wasn’t hired because of his loyalty, he was hired because he can do the job.”

Bezold began his coaching career at NKU after playing at Holy Cross High School and Viterbo (Wis.) College. He began as a volunteer coach before being hired for the full-time assistant position.

NKU President James Votruba called Bezold the “best candidate to lead athletics and the university.”

Votruba also announced that the university is preparing to move up a level to NCAA Division I.

“We are looking to continue to build on the tradition that has been established,” Votruba said. “We are going to prepare to move to Division I in several years. It is going to be a lengthy process. We will do it when we are fully prepared to do it and do it competitively.”

Bezold thanked the administration for the “trust and confidence that they have put in me.”

He also announced that the university would begin a nationwide search to find a full-time assistant coach.

“This is awesome,” Bezold said. “In our profession, not too many people are able to follow a hall of fame guy. I look at it as an honor.”

For five games during the 2001-2002 season Bezold filled in as head coach for Shields, who was sidelined with back injuries. Bezold went 3-2 in those five games.

He also served as NKU’s women’s tennis coach during the 1996 through 2000 seasons. During that time, he led the Norse to two conference championships and was named conference coach of the year in 1999 and 2000.

“It’s unbelievable to be able to stay at home and get my dream job,” Bezold said. “I have always known deep down this is where I want to be.”

Women’s assistant basketball coach Brian Neal announced he was leaving his post to take over as head coach at Thomas More College.

Neal has been at NKU for six seasons. He will be taking over a Saints team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen last season.