MLC announces 3 new head coaches this fall

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College coaching staff underwent a shake-up in the summer of 2019 that led to changes at the helm of three fall sports.

Larry Lotito, who served as head coach of the men’s golf program from 2006-18, retired as a coach and professor at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Former head cross-country coach Matt Pearson will take Lotito’s place as the new head coach of the men’s golf program.

Replacing Pearson in cross-country will be Greg Diersen and Breanna Olson. Diersen will take over the men’s program, while Olson will coach the women.

During Lotito’s 13-year coaching career at MLC, he was named UMAC Coach of the Year following the team’s conference championship in 2008. He coached a total of seven All-UMAC performers during those 13 seasons, as well as 30 Academic All-UMAC honorees. In 2018, Lotito’s team finished with the highest grade point average in the conference.

“We would like to thank Larry Lotito for his years as a golf coach,” MLC Director of Athletics Jim Unke said. “He is a technician and a true teacher of the game. He led the program to be very competitive in the UMAC, and was also at the conference level because of his knowledge of the sport. His expertise will be missed.”

Pearson takes the reigns of the golf program after five seasons coaching cross-country. Pearson has an extensive playing history that includes one season at MLC, as well as three top 20 finishes in the I-Tour (Houston, Texas division) in 2009. He also worked as junior golf coordinator for Koshkonong Mounds Country Club in Fort Atkinson, Wis., from 1997-2005.

Diersen brings a successful coaching history in cross-country and track and field over his career as a teacher. He was head coach of the track and field (1997-2012) and cross country (1999-2011) programs at Great Plains Lutheran High School (GPLHS), and won Area Coach of the Year honors in both sports. Diersen has also been an assistant track and field coach at MLC since 2013, working mainly with distance runners during that time.

Olson joined the MLC faculty this summer after taking a call join the physical education department. She takes over the women’s cross-country program from Pearson and brings five years of experience coaching track and field at New Ulm High School, including two seasons as head coach of that program.

“We’re excited about our new fall coaches for the great mix of experience and passion they bring to their respective sports,” Unke said. “We believe they will provide a great environment for our student-athletes to compete and grow.”

Pearson will continue in his role as head softball coach in the spring, while Diersen and Olson will both serve as assistant coaches for the track and field program.