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Stephanie Schmidt: Volleyball Head Coach

August 31, 2017
How long have you been coaching?
I began coaching for the first time in 2006, so it’s been 11 years overall, but I started in my first full-time college role a little more than five years ago. This will be my fifth season as a Division III head coach.
What is the most important part of your job?
I love coaching at this level so much because of the opportunity to mentor young women. College (and being a collegiate athlete) shaped much of who I am, so I relish the chance to speak into the lives of the athletes I coach. On a more practical level, the most important part of the collegiate coaching profession is probably recruiting – finding the right student-athletes to add to our culture and help push our team to the next level.
Why were you interested in working at Wheaton?
This institution is so committed to helping students pursue the Lord’s call on their lives. I love that we can call students to excel spiritually, academically, athletically, socially, etc. without compromising our mission to further the Kingdom. I love working in Division III volleyball at a Christian institution. So as far as athletics goes, this is a dream job.
When did you decide to become a coach?
I’m not sure that I “decided” as much as I just followed the doors God was opening and felt like this was what I was supposed to do. I really loved coaching when I first started but didn’t know it could or would become a full-time career. Once I started coaching at the college level I realized that this was a “calling” – something I loved AND that allowed me to utilize the strengths God has given me.
Who is a different (professional, college, high school or childhood) coach you look(ed) up to?
My dad was a coach when I was young, which is how I got into volleyball in the first place, and he coached me through much of middle school and junior high. I have always admired his coaching style – very athlete-centered and selfless, and always patient and joyful. I also have enjoyed watching and learning from Hugh McCutcheon, who was an Olympic coach and now coaches at the University of Minnesota. I borrow a lot of what I do (and why I do it) from him.
Why do you thinking coaching is important to the body of Christ?
The young women I coach are wired the same way – they love to play this sport, and they want to excel at it, and they’re trying to figure out what it looks like to want to crush their opponents and love the Lord at the same time. I get to teach them about volleyball, and life, and following Christ. So I think coaching is important to the body of Christ because student-athletes are learning to use their gifts to honor the Lord, and coaches at a place like Wheaton have the chance to have a pastoral role in students’ lives.
What is one word that you would use to describe yourself? Passionate

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