Bethke takes over women’s volleyball

Coach Bethke gives the team some pointers during a time out in their game against Benedictine
Bethke gives the team pointers after the game against Benedictine, Aug. 30. Augustana went 4-0, only dropping a single game.
Photo by Ian Magnuson.

The Augustana women’s volleyball program welcomes new head coach Kelly Bethke as they look to compete in the 2014-15 season. Bethke will be a full-time coach for the first time in seven years and is enjoying it already.
“I love it,” Bethke said. “Coaching volleyball full time has been extremely enjoyable. I started last winter and did a lot of office work, but all I could look forward to was getting on the court. I know the players felt the same as I did.”
The Augustana tradition of athletics being as important as academics has made an impact on Bethke as well.
“I am proud to be part of Augustana College because of the emphasis on athletics and the emphasis on academics,” Bethke said. “We have students that are top in academics and athletics. Education of athletics and academics is great, and people top to bottom in the Augustana family recognize it.”
Junior captain Jordan Hampel cites Bethke’s constant optimism as one of her best qualities as a coach.
“She is always positive, even when we are losing and down points,” said Hampel. “She doesn’t stress us out but stays calm and has us focus on what is important in the game.”
Hampel also thinks that this is a quality that is rare in coaches, as well as her focus on helping her players grow as people.
“She brings a different personality; she is cautious as to how she talks to us and is very focused on our personal growth as an athlete and not our record at the end of the season,” Hampel said.
Bethke does assert that the Augustana team is better than the Edgewood College team was when she started her job there.
“I believe the players have high goals for themselves already,” Bethke said. “We changed the attitude and the mentality of players at Edgewood. But this team is not at the bottom; so, the steps have already started, and we are already moving in the right direction.”
Bethke was part of a coaching staff at Edgewood that turned a team that placed last in conference to a team that won the conference championship three years in a row.
She wants that same turnaround at Augustana.
“My goal at Augustana is to become one of the top teams in this conference,” Bethke said. “I believe there is enough support. The school attracts top athletes, and I believe it is a reachable goal.”
Bethke has only been with the team since the spring season after being hired to replace Jamie Eickman.
At the Viking Classic, the team went 4-0 against UW-River Falls, Benedictine, Cornell, and Principia. The Vikings only lost one game during those four matches to UW-River Falls with a close score of 25-23.
The Vikings look to travel to California this weekend to find fresh competition and test their skills.