With an avalanche of new coaches and players in ISU sports this year, it’s important to know who you’re rooting for.
Bo Durkac: Head Baseball Coach
Durkac will serve his first season as ISU’s head baseball coach after five previous seasons with the Redbirds, including two as an associate head coach.
Durkac spent 1996 and 1997 affiliated with the Minor Leagues and followed that with an appearance at the XIV International Cup in Sydney, Australia, three seasons in the Western Baseball League for the Chico Heat and was named a Western League All-Star in 1999.
After that, Durkac went on to play for the Taiwan Major Leagues, Sonoma County and the Long Island Ducks in 2001.
In his professional career, Durkac served as the infield/outfield defensive instructor, hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at Charlotte before coming to Illinois State University.
“It is not about what Illinois State has done for me; rather, it is what I expect to do for Illinois State,” Durkac said. “The standard has been set. The expectations are clear. I will work tirelessly to make Illinois State University proud of its student-athletes both on and off the field. Simply put, I love this school, I love this town and I am honored to be the next head coach of the Redbirds.”
Jeff Bovee: Director of Track and Field/Cross Country
Jeff Bovee will serve his first season as the head director of track and field/cross country for the Redbirds after serving his past eight seasons as the head cross country coach.
Bovee’s resumé also includes four seasons as head coach at Parkland College, three seasons as head coach at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and one year at Eastern Illinois as a graduate assistant.
“I am thrilled for this incredible opportunity to lead the Redbird track and field/cross country programs into the future,” Bovee said. “I would like to thank the Illinois State administration, especially Director of Athletics Larry Lyons, for entrusting me to lead and coach the Redbird track and field and cross country programs. In my eight years here as an assistant coach, I have come to love this university and believe that it has many inherent attributes that make winning in the Valley in track and field and cross country more readily attainable.”
Maja Kovacek: Women’s Tennis Head Coach
Maja Kovacek will serve her first season as ISU women’s tennis head coach, bringing a variety of both playing and coaching experience.
Kovacek spent seven years as the assistant coach for the Oregon Duck’s women’s tennis team and spent time as an undergrad assistant coach at New Mexico.
Kovacek also played tennis at New Mexico where she was a two-time All American in 2004 and 2006, ranking second in doubles and 21 in singles nationally.
“I want to thank Larry Lyons and [ISU Deputy Director of Athletics] Leanna Bordner for giving me this incredible opportunity,” Kovacek said. “I am excited and honored to be a part of this athletics department, and I am ready to lead the women’s tennis team toward success on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”
Katie Baumgardner: Assistant Soccer Coach
Kate Baumgardner is coming into her first season as ISU’s assistant soccer coach where she will be working primarily with goalkeepers. She accepted the position this past May.
Baumgardner spent her last four years as the goalkeeper for Ohio State Univeristy where she was named Captial One Academic All-District as well as academic All-Big Ten. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sports psychology.
“Drew and Jim have done such a great job with the program, bringing Illinois State to the national stage each of the last three years, and the second round last year,” Baumgardner said. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue towards our goals as a team and making it even further in the NCAA Tournament with a huge target on our backs next season. I truly care for this program and this group of girls and can’t wait to get started.”
Niece Curry: Women’s Volleyball Assistant Coach
Illinois State picked up Curry as an assistant coach in late July due to her deep volleyball past.
Curry is a former University of South Carolina standout volleyball player. She brings coaching experience with her to Bloomington-Normal, having previously served as the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Bucknell.
“I am excited to be a part of the Redbird community. I would like to thank [Deputy Director of Athletics/Senior Women’s Administrator] Leanna Border and Coach Myers for this opportunity,” Curry said. “It is clear that the ISU athletic administration supports and encourages success on and off the court. With preseason just a few weeks away, I am eager to get started.”
Oshay Dunmore: Linebacker
Dunmore played ten games for the Oregon Ducks completing nine tackles and four solo stops before transferring to ISU in June.
Tre Roberson: Quarterback
A recent transfer from Indiana, Roberson will have two years of eligibility to showcase his dual threat abilities as an offensive and defensive player.
Blake Winkler Quarterback
Winkler earned himself a spot on the College Football Performance Awards watch list last season.
Jillena Everest: Swimmer
Everest was a four-year high school state qualifier in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard medley relay.
Ryan Rutherford: Runner
Rutherford, a Bloomington-Normal native, is a senior and top runner and finisher for ISU men’s cross country in 2012 and 2013. He also earned All-Valley runner honors for his 2012-13 season.