Cottey College is pleased to announce the addition of three new coaches to its staff. Matt Harder was hired as the head coach for flag football and sports information director; Even Belk was hired as the assistant basketball coach, assistant sports information director, and operations manager; Dominic Habjan was hired as the head coach for the esports program.
Matt Harder accepted the head flag football coach/head sports information director position and will officially begin August 1. Harder has an extensive background in collegiate athletics, namely serving as a consultant for numerous NCAA programs and most recently working with the Big 12 and the University of Kansas athletics department. Harder earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in athletic administration and sports management from Liberty University in Virginia.
A Nevada, Missouri, resident, Harder assisted with the Cottey flag football program in its inaugural season in 2021.
“I love sports and spending the last five months with this group of young women has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life,” said Harder. “It was about showing these student athletes how to take pride in the jersey they wear, to have respect for themselves and to understand that they not only represent themselves, but every woman around the world who has ties to Cottey College.”
Evan Belk earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri Southern State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in bi-vocational ministry from Ozark Christian College. Prior to Cottey, Evan was the physical education teacher at Steadley Elementary and assistant girls’ basketball coach at Carthage, Missouri, High School.
Along with his numerous responsibilities at Cottey, Belk is the regional director of the Rain Makers Christian Sports Ministry where he is responsible for recruiting, coaching, fundraising, and camp organization.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have this opportunity, “Belk stated. “The game of basketball is better with Dr. Mitts in it as she possesses a passion for and a knowledge of the game that is only outdone by the love for her student athletes. I am thankful for the belief that Dr. Mitts has in me.”
Coach Belk believes that Cottey College is a special place that truly cares about the student as a whole and he is looking forward to building a program that will bring an exciting brand of basketball to Nevada.
Dominic Habjan has worked at Cottey since 2019 and transitioned to athletics from his job as the library assistant for acquisitions.
“It was very evident in the interview process that Dominic is passionate about building and developing the Cottey esports program,” said Dr. Maryann Mitts, Cottey College athletic director and head basketball coach. “Our committee viewed him as a perfect fit for our student-athletes and the future of the esports program at Cottey.”
Habjan earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economic-public policy from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He brings a wealth of gaming experience and a competitive spirit to the position.