Western New England enjoyed a
14-8-1 performance in 1999 and claimed
the conference title with wins over
Emerson (5-0), Southern Vermont (1-0)
and Simmons ( 2-1). The Golden Bears
then made school history by becoming
the first women’s team to compete in
the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Dias’ squads claimed additional
GNAC titles and NCAA appearances
in 2001, 2002, and 2006.
Dias guided the Golden Bears to a
13-6-3 record in their first season in
the Commonwealth Coast Conference
(CCC) in 2007 and a second-place finish in the CCC Championship in 2009.
Known for his dedication and superior game strategy, Dias was named
the Coach of the Year by the GNAC in
2001 and 2002 and the CCC in 2007. He
was elected to the Western New England Downes Hall of Fame in 2008.
“The Western New England athletics
family would not be where it is today
without Ron’s tireless efforts in his
coaching and his commitment to the
University,” said athletics director
Dr. Michael Theulen. “The very start
of this current era of excellence can
be directly traced to the 1998 ECAC
Championship team. They gave us
legitimacy and inspired other teams to
achieve greatness as well.”
PLAYERS GAINED SEVERAL AWARDS FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
One of Dias’ greatest thrills was watching his student-athletes perform well on the pitch and in the
classroom. Dozens of his student-athletes received awards for athletic and academic excellence.
Seven of his players are enshrined in the Downes Hall of Fame, Joy Clark Sieklucki ’95
(2002), Kate Brunelle Roman ’99 (2004), Eileen Monaghan Brooks ’97 (2006), Kristen Ogulewicz
Falcone ’02 (2012), Kristin Thornton Hensinger ’07 (2015), and Nicole Poli ’ 11 (2016).
The 1998 team, captain by Roman, Jennifer Bonafede ’99, and Carrie Hoffman ’99, was inducted
in 2003. “I can tell you that every day that I stepped onto the field at Western New England College
with my team and Coach, I was happy!” said Roman.
“Stepping into the program in 1995, Coach had a few seasons under his belt and had a clear
vision of how he anticipated the program would grow. He gained the respect we needed in the
soccer community to become recognized as a competitive program. When the final whistle
blew as a senior I had no regrets and lots of memories. I was able to walk off the field proud to
have played for Coach and Western New England.”
According to Hensinger who succeeded Dias as head coach, “Coach Dias always expected the
best from you and would hold you accountable when he felt there was more to give.
“Coach Dias has developed a tradition of excellence both on and off the field. He has molded
countless female athletes into exceptional soccer players and at the same time instilled many
great values in them, preparing his athletes to be successful in whatever they pursue after
graduation,” says Hensinger. n
Mortell ’ 11 was an
All-New England selection
for Western New England.
All-New England goalkeeper Jessica Covino ’ 10
now works for the United
States Soccer Federation.
Ron’s final team that he coached. He had 15 winning seasons
out of 22 years coaching.
201 4 The Golden Bears made their first-ever foreign trip visiting Italy for a series of exhibition matches, cultural
exchanges, team building,
and personal growth.
Two former Golden Bear standouts joined the Western New England coaching staff last fall with
Kristin Thornton Hensinger ’07 taking over the women’s soccer team and Samantha Shomo ’ 11 the
women’s volleyball program. Brian Kabel joined the staff as the new director of recreational sports.