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Lourdes grad is interim volleyball coach at Iowa

By Pat Ruff

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Katie McGuine went to bed Tuesday night with butterflies zinging around in her stomach.

She was also feeling the affects of pinching herself.

The Rochester Lourdes 1997 graduate would never have predicted what’s transpired for her at the relatively tender age of 28. McGuine is the head volleyball coach at the University of Iowa, and has been since Cindy Fredrick handed in her resignation on Dec. 18. At least she is for the time being.

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Iowa is in the midst of searching for a full-time head coach. But until it finds one, McGuine is in charge, on an interim basis.

This morning, McGuine put her team through its first full-fledged spring practice. Division I coaches are allowed 20 hours per week with their volleyball teams from now until April 25. McGuine carried all kinds of emotions into this first practice, including some anxiety.

"I am a little bit nervous about it," McGuine said by phone from Iowa City on Tuesday night. "I want to make sure all of my bases are covered for it. But I love the challenge of having this practice time."

To call what McGuine has inherited challenging is understating it. The Minnesota State, Mankato graduate spent the past two seasons as Iowa’s director of volleyball operations. That mostly entailed securing travel plans for road games, coordinating Iowa’s team managers all season, as well as keeping statistics from practices and games.

McGuine actually did no coaching during that time. Her only real coaching experience has come at the high school and club levels, including a two-year stint as Pine Island’s high school coach.

Now, here she is, putting a Big Ten Conference volleyball team through its paces. But that’s still not all. McGuine is essentially doing it by herself, as not only did Fredrick resign, but her assistants left as well.

The only help she’s getting is from a lone student manager.

McGuine had been leading eight hours a week of practice and conditioning following Fredrick’s resignation. That allowed her a taste of directing this team. But now, and until Fredrick is permanently replaced, it’s time to take this coaching thing up a notch.

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"This has been a tumultuous time (in the Iowa volleyball program)," said McGuine, whose Hawkeyes are coming off a one-win season in the Big Ten. "It’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster, with lots of ups and downs. But it helps tremendously to have watched practices here under coach Fredrick the way I did.

"I hope to get some experience here, and get some confidence with being a head coach at this level. I want it to be a learning experience."

Ultimately, McGuine wants it to lead to an assistants coaching position for her at Iowa. After all, it’s being a part of the actual game that she clearly savors most.

That’s what’s going to make these next few weeks a whole lot more exciting than nerve-wracking.

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