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Baranek: Ringing endorsement for new Andrew coach Emily McGinnis

New Andrew coach Emily McGinnis brings with her six years coaching experience Mother McAuley. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

New Andrew coach Emily McGinnis brings with her six years of coaching experience at Mother McAuley. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 12, 2014 6:20AM



If endorsements mean anything, Andrew is getting a real gem in new girls volleyball coach Emily McGinnis.

Former Andrew coach Courtney Stoub loves her potential.

“I’m excited for the kids,” said Stoub, who resigned to devote time to her new baby boy. “We’ve kind of talked a little bit and I know she has a good volleyball background.

“I’m excited and happy for the program and for Andrew and I think she’s going to do a good job.”

Jen DeJarld, who had McGinnis as a player and hired her as a freshman coach at Mother McAuley, has seen her work with kids first-hand.

“I think she’ll do great,” DeJarld said. “Emily is the type of coach that players are just drawn to. I don’t think she’s ever had a team (at McAuley) where she hasn’t said, “I love this team. I love these kids.’

“The feeling is mutual. The kids know she cares more about them than just being athletes. That’s a very important attribute.”

I’ll throw my two cents in by saying that McGinnis always has impressed me with her passion as both a player and a coach.

The record speaks for itself.

In her first season as the freshman “B” coach at McAuley in 2009, McGinnis’ team went 15-0. She had a string of lower-level successes over the next five years, all the while coaching during club season at Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy.

The leadership quality, though, was there before all of that.

During her junior and senior seasons at Mother McAuley, McGinnis was a defensive specialist and backup setter on teams that made back-to-back state appearances. In 2004 under Nancy Pedersen, the Mighty Macs went 41-2 and captured the Class AA title. In 2005, with McGinnis as the team captain and DeJarld as the new head coach they were 36-7 and finished third.

“That was one of my favorite memories for a lifetime,” McGinnis said. “Being able to play out on the court and win a state championship is a feeling that not a lot of people get to experience.

“Now, being able to coach and try to get that experience for my players, it’s a feeling that really can’t be described.”

McGinnis got into coaching a little sooner than she expected — or wanted.

After one year at DePaul University, McGinnis transferred to UIC, where she played during her sophomore season for Katie Schumacher. As a junior she had her career ended when doctors found two degenerating discs in her back.

The news was crushing, but McGinnis found some consolation in DeJarld, who offered her a freshman coaching position at McAuley.

“Stopping my volleyball career was very difficult, but if I wasn’t able to play I thought the next best thing would be coaching,” McGinnis said. “As soon as I got the first feel for it, I fell in love with it.”

McGinnis still was coaching at McAuley and was about to start her third season as a boys volleyball varsity assistant at St. Rita when she heard about the coaching opening at Andrew.

It led to an amazing April day in which she managed to impress not one, but two future bosses at Andrew (for coaching) and at Southwest Cooperative for Special Education, where she was hired as an occupational therapist.

Her main duties, coincidentally, will be at Andrew and Arbor Park Middle School.

She’s inheriting a program that has had a lot of success through the years, the highest of highs a second-place finish at state under Barb Walaszek in 1989. Stoub had a few good seasons before hitting a rough patch the last two, but even then I had many a coach tell me that they dreaded playing Andrew because Stoub always had hard-working kids who were well-prepared.

McGinnis comes from a program that lives and breathes preparedness. The transition should be fun to watch.



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