Baranek: Keeping an eye on the next crop of coaches
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org September 29, 2013 10:52PM
Homewood-Flossmoor's Kaitlyn Shereyk (center) goes up for a kill against Lincoln-Way North's Ashley Pickert (left) and Valen Manns during their volleyball game in Frankfort Square Thursday, August 29, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 1, 2013 10:04AM
One of the nicest things that a coach can say about a former player is that he or she gave 100 percent all the time and was a good example to his or her teammates.
One of the greatest things that a coach can say about a former player is that he or she would be a good candidate to follow in his or her footsteps.
I’ve had the chance to witness a handful of area volleyball players go to become head coaches, including Rory Harrison (Lockport grad) at Lincoln-Way West, Kathy Sulkowski (Sandburg) at Lincoln-Way Central, Michelle McDonough (Andrew) at Reavis, Deanna Storino (Stagg) at Stagg, Courtney Hinsberger (Oak Forest) at Hillcrest and Erika Lange (Sandburg) at Lockport.
During the preseason, I asked our area girls volleyball coaches who they could see among the recent vintage of players the next to become ... well, one of them.
Shepard coach Dan Grunauer sees coaching options for 2013 graduate Franchesca Graffeo, who was a frontliner at libero on the volleyball court and at shortstop on the softball diamond, and will play softball at St. Xavier.
“Regardless of what sport was in season, she was a student of that game with a hard hat and a lunch pail work ethic,” Grunauer said. “She would get up at 5:30 a.m. for extra reps during volleyball season, then go to a two to three-hour team practice after school, followed by individual hitting lessons. She still maintained a 3.991 GPA and was a National Honor Society member.
“Add to that her ability as a team motivator and her excellent communication skills, and I think we’ll be reading about her teams as soon as she’s able to take over a varsity program.”
Kathy Sulkowski has already hired 2012 graduate Amy Bernhard as the freshman ‘B’ coach at Lincoln-Way Central. Bernhard was an outside hitter, and was all-conference her senior year.
“She played for me all four years at Central, so she understands my system and the progression training we use,” Sulkowski said. “She was a huge part of the success this program had in 2011.
“She is so dedicated and great with kids and she will be going into the field of education. Eventually she could do well as a varsity coach.”
Sandburg coach David Vales pegged 2009 graduate Lanie Muys as a potential head coach of the future.
“Coaching runs in the family and she has probably seen everything over her last 10 years,” Vales said.
Evergreen Park grad Casey Christopher was recently hired at Evergreen Park as a sophomore coach. Rachel Mayer, class of 2011 at Lockport, has worked camps for Lange.
“Her energy is endless,” Lange said. “She cares so much about making sure her players have a valuable experience.”
H-F coach Anthony Kruse sees (and I agree) 2012 graduate Kaitlyn Shereyk as an excellent coach of the future.
“She also has the demeanor to be an excellent coach. I remember her freshman year on varsity and the amount of respect she received from her teammates,” he said. “This only continued to grow through her four years.”
Then there is Mother McAuley coach Jen DeJarld, herself a “McAuley girl” from the 1980s, who is one of several ex-Macs who are coaches. Some are in the college ranks, including Katie Schumacher, Ellen Hayes, Therese Boyle and Anne Eastman.
DeJarld’s staff consists of Meg Griffin, Kristyn Corley, Caitlin Balsam and Emily McGinnis — all McAuley grads.
“If I were to pick some up and coming alum coaches,” DeJarld said, “I would say Des Aramburu, Carli Weiler, Colleen and Allie Gardner — to name a few.”
They don’t grow ’em on trees at McAuley, but they sure do nurture.