A native of North Mankato, Ashley Hanley is entering her third season as an Assistant Softball Coach under Dan Nessler in 2018-19. She got her start in softball right here in Mankato, playing for the Mankato Peppers and then for Mankato West High School. As a Scarlet, she helped her team to two state tournament appearances, including a second place finish in 2008. She then went on to play college softball at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
During her time at River Falls, Hanley received NFCA All-Great Lakes Region second team honors in 2010 and 2012, along with third team recognition in 2011. She earned All-WIAC first team status in 2011 and 2012, and claimed honorable mention laurels in 2010 and 2013. In 2011 and 2012, Hanley helped the Falcons earn a NCAA Division III Championship bid by winning the WIAC tournament title. The 2011 squad also won the conference regular-season crown. She finished her career second on the program's all-time list with 34 home runs, 49 doubles and 140 RBI, while placing third with a .384 batting average.
Hanley triple-majored in journalism, political science and communication studies. She earned the UW-River Falls Chancellor's Award for Students during the 2012-13 academic year - this award is the highest non-academic honor a student can receive at UW-River Falls. Hanley was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America® NCAA Division III Softball Third Team, after securing first team honors in 2012. She is the first two-time Academic All-America® selection in program history.
A four-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar-Athlete recipient, she claimed the WIAC Judy Kruckman Softball Scholar-Athlete Award in 2013. Hanley remains the only Falcon to receive the WIAC's nomination for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Outside of softball, Hanley is employed by KEYC News 12 in Mankato as a news-anchor.
Brent Meshke enters his third season as an assistant coach for the Bethany Softball program in 2018-19.
A recent graduate of South Dakota State University, Meshke served as the women's softball student manager during much of his collegiate career. He brought an extensive fastpitch softball background to the Jackrabbit’s team, playing at national and international levels.
Meshke was named the Most Valuable Pitcher and a member of the All-World Team at the 2015 North American Fastpitch Assoc. (NAFA) Men's Class A World Series Championship. From the circle, he led the West Fargo Bombers, West Fargo, N.D., that went undefeated to win the 46-team tournament. This was the third time he has been named to a NAFA All-World Team.
In 2015 he also led the Hennager fastpitch softball team of Lake Crystal, Minn. to the Minnesota Men's Fastpitch Class B State Championship.
Meshke is a member of the 2012 USA Softball Junior Men's National Team that captured fifth place in the World Championship in Paraná, Argentina. As a team member, Meshke gained experience at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
As a youth, he earned ASA National Boy’s Fastpitch Softball Team Runners-Up medals in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, with the national title in 2011.
At South Dakota State University he majored in Agricultural Sciences with minors in Ag Business and Animal Science
Meshke is currently a Sales Agronomist at Crystal Valley Cooperative in Lake Crystal, MN.
Gary Lunz will join the Bethany coaching staff after a long and eventful career in fastpitch softball.
Gary's playing days extended over 30 years with the last 15 in Mankato for a nationally ranked team named The Happy Chef. As a player, Gary earned many All-State and Regional honors.
His coaching career included many years as Head Coach at Mankato West High School. This included four trips to the Minnesota State Tournament with a 1990 State Championship. After retiring from West High School he helped coach at both MSU Mankato and Gustavus Adolphus College. Gary was also a founder of the Mankato Peppers Softball summer program. He coached the Peppers to many State and Regional wins.
As a player and coach, Lunz has been inducted into five Softball Hall of Fames. The list includes City of Mankato, State of Minnesota, Minnesota State High School League, Mankato Peppers, and Mankato West High School.
Coach Lunz's many years of softball experience will help the goal of Bethany becoming a force in area softball.
Mark Wiest begins his first year on the Bethany Softball Coaching staff in 2018-19. Wiest will serve as the pitching coach for the Vikings.
Coach Wiest was previously the pitching coach at Gustavus Adolphus College for 18 years. During that time, the Gusties pitching staff consistently led the MIAC in earned run average and strike outs. In 2003 and 2009, Wiest was part of the NCAA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the year. Wiest was also the pitching coach at Le Sueur-Henderson High School for 10 years. While at LSH, he coached numerous All-State Pitchers and Catchers.
Wiest has taught pitching on both a group and individual basis across southern Minnesota. In 2014, Mark conducted a coaching clinic sponsored by the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. He has instructed many successful collegiate level pitchers.
A native of North Mankato, Megan Svir is entering her first season as an Assistant Softball Coach at Bethany Lutheran College.
She began her softball career playing with the Mankato Peppers and then later played for Mankato West High School. During her time with West, she was a captain and helped bring her team to three conference titles. After graduation, she attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she played one year of collegiate softball.
Svir returned to the Mankato area in 2015 to pursue a double major at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science as well as Psychology. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Masters in Sports Psychology.
Since returning to the Mankato area, Svir has taken an active role as a coach in Mankato. She has coached for the Mankato Peppers for three years and she has joined the softball coaching staff at Mankato West High School. With her time as a coach at Mankato West, she helped the varsity teams to two conference titles, two section titles, one fourth place state performance in 2017, and one state championship in 2016. In addition, she coaches volleyball at Mankato West and for the Minnesota Attack Volleyball Club.
John Oothoudt joins Bethany Softball as an assistant in 2018-2019. Oothoudt played with men’s fastpitch teams for more than a dozen years, helping his teams to a State Championship and several National Tournament Appearances.
Oothoudt has previously been a travel ball and high school assistant coach along with a fastpitch clinic promoter. As a promoter, he has brought world class fastpitch coach clinicians and athletes to Southern Minnesota for pitching, hitting and fielding clinics, serving players and coaches throughout the Midwest and Canada.