South Dakota School of Mines Athletic Director Joel Lueken, in conjunction with Monument Health Orthopedics, has announced the hiring of Brock Behrndt as the new Hardrocker Director of Performance.
“Welcome to the family. We are really glad to have Brock on board,” Lueken said.
Behrndt comes to South Dakota Mines after serving as Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning at The Citadel (NCAA Division I), working mainly with baseball, cross country and volleyball for the past year.
"I want to thank the administration and coaches for allowing me to come across the country and build something special at South Dakota Mines,” Behrndt said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for myself and my assistant to build a program that will help our athletes succeed both in their sport, as well as in their everyday lives.”
Before joining the S&C staff at The Citadel, Behrndt spent two years as a graduate assistant at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. While with the Wildcats, he designed and implemented programs for the baseball, softball, track & field and women’s rugby programs.
Prior to joining the Wildcats staff, Behrndt interned at Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas), where he assisted with the football, baseball, men’s basketball, soccer and volleyball programs.
Prior to TCU, Behrndt interned at his alma mater, Northwest Missouri State (Maryville, Missouri), where he assisted with the football, baseball, soccer, track & field and volleyball programs.
Behrndt was a two-time football national champion at Northwest Missouri State (2013, 2015). He was a member of the 2013 football team that was inducted into the NWMSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Behrndt graduated from Northwest in the spring of 2017 with a B.S. in Corporate Recreation and Wellness, with an emphasis in Exercise Science. He added his M.S. in Athletic Administration from Central Washington in spring of 2019.
“We are very excited to have Brock join Hardrocker athletics,” said Cassie Kosiba, Hardrocker Associate Athletics Director of Internal Operations. “He comes to us with a broad range of experiences which will serve him well here at South Dakota Mines. Brock’s knowledge, thoroughness and passion for working with student-athletes was evident throughout the interview process. We have no doubt he will make a positive impact on each one of our programs.”
Behrndt is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, is a USA Level 1 Sports Performance Coach. He also holds the Pn-1 Certification through Precision Nutrition as well as being First Aid, CPR and AED certified through the American Red Cross.
“I can't wait to get to Rapid City and get started,” added Behrndt.
Vander Heyden named Mines varsity esports coordinator
Mike Vander Heyden has been tapped to serve as the South Dakota Mines varsity esports Coordinator for the 2020-2021 school year.
“I am extremely excited to be taking on the position, as it gives me an opportunity to continue to work with the student-athletes that I have already cultivated relationships with and can continue to push them to achieve more on their respective teams,” Vander Heyden said.
Named as the interim coordinator in February, the title has been removed starting with the fall semester, with Vander Heyden already seeing success on both the competitive side as the program enters its third year and takes a large contributing role on the club side.
“My goals for the program are to be more competitive by qualifying for each national championship, increase awareness about the esports program on campus and in the community, and grow the fundraising initiatives to provide the student-athletes with the best possible experiences," he said.
The varsity program will consist of five teams competing in: League of Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, Overwatch and DOTA 2.
“I am currently in the process of evaluating the rosters and number of games to be played this coming year and is looking forward to growing the program,” Vander Heyden added.
Teams will primarily compete in TESPA, Rocket League Championship Series, and the Collegiate Star League but also in smaller collegiate tournaments and leagues to help round out schedules and give teams plenty of opportunities to compete.
The South Dakota Mines esports program has the largest community on campus and in South Dakota; as well as one of the largest in the Midwest, which is focused on both competitive and casual gaming with opportunities to join teams that compete in collegiate tournaments or take part in Local Area Network (LAN) events that bring all varieties of gamers together.
Vander Heyden takes over a program that has plenty of history including being the first in the state to give esports scholarships. The program also finished the 2020 spring semester with a strong 3.52 GPA and a cumulative 3.244 GPA for the year. Vander Heyden also serves as the Director of the Wellness Center
The Hardrockers will be looking to add new talent going into the 2020-2021 school year and can be found at www.gorockers.com/sports/esports, and broadcasting live at https://www.twitch.tv/sdsmt_esports.
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