LINDSBORG — Bethany College has announced that Laura Moreno will be the Swedes’ new head softball coach following the resignation of longtime coach Janice Esses. Esses reportedly has accepted a head coaching position at an NCAA Division II school. She had been the Swedes’ head coach since 2002.
Moreno, a former Swede player, had served as Esses’ assistant the past two years and worn a lot of hats with the school, including athletic communications specialist.
"I am extremely pleased that Laura Moreno has accepted the role of head softball coach," Bethany Dean of Athletics Dane Pavlovich said in a press release. "She has the experience, enthusiasm and leadership ability to continue the excellence of the Swedes’ softball program. As an alumnae, she has a lot of investment in the program and I am very confident that she will provide a high-level experience for our student-athletes."
"I am very honored, humbled and excited to be the new head softball coach at Bethany College," Moreno said in a statement. "I thank coach Esses for being a great coach, mentor and friend and wish her the best of luck in her new position. I also want to thank Dane Pavlovich and Bethany College for giving me this opportunity. Bethany College holds a special place in my heart and I am very proud to be a Swede. I look forward to working with our student-athletes, faculty, staff and administration."
Moreno assisted the squad to two consecutive 30-plus win seasons, the program's fourth straight 30-plus win season overall. In 2015, Bethany finished as the KCAC Tournament runner-up and was ranked in the NAIA Top 35 in 11 offensive categories. In 2014, the Swedes placed third in the KCAC regular season, broke 14 program offensive record and ranked in the NAIA Top 25 in 18 offensive categories. The softball program earned NAIA Scholar-Team honors in both 2014 and 2015, posting team grade point averages of 3.5 and 3.32, respectively.
Moreno spent 2010 to 2013 as head softball coach at Brown Mackie College-Salina. During that time, Moreno coached 10 NJCAA All-Region VI selections. The 2012 squad had a 3.0 team grade point average, earning NJCAA All-Academic Team honors. Two of Moreno's teams, 2012 and 2013, were ranked a NJCAA Top 25 offense.
Before Brown Mackie, Moreno served as assistant softball coach at Bethany College for one year and as a sports reporter and columnist for The Lindsborg News-Record.
Moreno (maiden name Christopher) was a softball player for the Swedes from 2007-2009, earning first-team and second-team All-KCAC honors as a second baseman and designated player. On the Bethany College all-time softball records (since 2006), Moreno is second in career batting average (.395). She was a two-time NAIA Academic Scholar Athlete, a member of Beta Tau Sigma Honorary Scholastic Society and on the Academic Dean's Honor Roll. Moreno also served as the Student Assistant Sports Information Director and the student assistant to the Director of Communications.
A native of Aurora, Colo., Moreno attended Lamar Community College, where she received her associate of arts degree before transferring to Bethany College. She graduated magna cum laude from Bethany in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. Moreno and her husband, Jose, reside in Lindsborg with their son, Mariano.