2016 Women's Soccer
Head Coach Rhonda Gottschalk
Contact information for Coach GOTTSCHALK
Office phone: 419-358-3020
Bluffton University has named Rhonda Gottschalk as its head women’s soccer coach.
Gottschalk, an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University the last two years, is the first full-time head coach in Bluffton women’s soccer history. Patrick (Rick) Nussbaum has been both the head men’s and women’s soccer coach since 2010 and, with the duties now split, has become the first full-time head coach of the men’s program.
At Bowling Green, Gottschalk worked with goalkeepers, including one who led the Mid-American Conference in 2014 both in saves—a school-record 146—and saves per game.
Gottschalk was previously an assistant women’s coach at Youngstown State University in 2012—the most successful season in the program’s history—and at Duquesne University from 2010-11. From 2007-10, she was an assistant women’s and men’s coach at Ashland University.
Gottschalk earned her bachelor’s degree in education, physical education and health in 2006 from Concord University in Athens, West Virginia. During her four-year playing career at the NCAA Division II school, she was a two-time captain who received all-conference honorable mention in 2002—when her team won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title—and second-team all-conference honors in 2003.
Also at Concord, she was a founding member and president of Student Athlete Mentors, vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and, in 2006, recipient of the Senior Scholar Athlete Award. In 2005-06, she was a student assistant coach as well.
Gottschalk, who completed a master’s degree in applied exercise science at Ashland in 2009, has directed soccer camps at Bowling Green and Youngstown State, has been an assistant camp director at Duquesne and has coached at other college-based camps. The Greencastle, Ind., native has also been a soccer club coach in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia, and holds several coaching certifications.
In addition to her coaching duties at Bluffton, she will have teaching responsibilities in the university’s academic department of health, fitness and sport science.
Assistant Coach Sara Savard
Contact info for Coach SAVARD
Office phone: 419-358-3488
Sara Savard is in her first year as a graduate assistant for the Bluffton University women's soccer team. She graduated from Cedarville University in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Bible. Savard played center midfield for Cedarville University (NCAA DII) before she joined staff as a coach her junior year. She coached the women's reserve team for three years, helping build and gain recognition for the women's program. “I am excited to have Sara on our staff as we look to build the culture this 2015 fall season” stated Coach Gottschalk, “Sara has experience in building teams and has overcome obstacles as a player that she can relate to our team. She adds passion, energy and work ethic that is needed to move our program forward.”
A native of Troy, Ohio, Sara graduated from Troy Christian High School in 2010. Previously, she had played at Troy High School her freshmen and junior year while being out her sophomore year due to injury. Sara has worked with the Centerville United Soccer Association, now CUSA Crew,, developing speed and conditioning programs for the club, coaching teams and guest training. Sara has coached soccer camps with the Ambassadors Football Club out of Cleveland, Ohio and with Athletes in Action in Brazil and Canada. She enjoys traveling and using sport as a tool to build relationships and break cultural barriers.
Savard is continuing her education at Bluffton University in the Masters of Business Administration Program.
Assistant Coach Mustaq Ahmed
Contact info for Coach Ahmed
Office phone: 419-358-3237
Mustaq Ahmed returns to the Bluffton University soccer program for his eighth year as a women's assistant coach in 2014. He is also the buildings and grounds supervisor at Bluffton University.
Ahmed played soccer for Bluffton from 1974 through 1977 after arriving in the United States as a foreign student through MCC from Dhaka, Bangladesh, so he is very familiar with the university and the community of Bluffton.
From 1983-93, Ahmed coached youth soccer for Bluffton Family Recreation in the Black Swamp Soccer League (BSSL) during both the spring and fall seasons, developing his love for teaching the game to young players. He started the Under-14 travel teams for boys and girls in Bluffton, directing squads in the Northwest Ohio Youth Soccer League. (NYOSL) His first girls' team took home the Spring Championship trophy in 1993.
In 1996, Ahmed started the girls' high school program at Bluffton and he led the team until 2002. While coaching at Bluffton High School, he was named the Division II Coach of the Year by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for District 4. Four times his squads competed in the district championship game and the Pirates were a regional finalist once during his tenure at Bluffton.
Recently, Ahmed led the Under-14 travel team for the West Central United based in Lima from 2004-07.
Ahmed resides near Bluffton with his wife of 36 years, Becki. They are the parents of Sarah, who lives in Columbus, and Sabrina, who was a two-time all-state selection from the Bluffton High School girl's soccer team and now lives in Findlay.