Dietz returns to the coaching ranks, takes NUHS job
NEW ULM — After a brief break from head coaching to focus on her family and work commitments, Stef Dietz will return to coaching volleyball next year.
Dietz is taking over at New Ulm High School after Zach Hansen stepped down from the head coaching job after this past fall. Dietz was the C-squad coach this past year at NUHS.
New Ulm’s varsity team finished 2-20 this past season and 2-18-1 in 2016. While there wasn’t a lot of success as far as wins go, Dietz said that she and Hansen worked well together in building a foundation for the program.
“I think he’s done a great job and started some really good things within the program,” Dietz said. “He started the J.O. [Junior Olympic] program and he’s started camps and leagues and got open gyms going. Our philosophies were pretty much on the same page so the coaching staff got along really well.”
A graduate of New Ulm Cathedral High School, she’s helped make the Cathedral and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s volleyball programs a success and she knows that it’s possible at New Ulm High School. She coached at St. Mary’s beginning in 2001 for seven seasons and moved to Cathedral after that for five more seasons. She currently works as the Kids Connection Coordinator for New Ulm Public Schools.
Her goal now is to make New Ulm High School competitive in the tough Big South Conference, where programs such as Marshall and Jackson County Central have been dominant. She said that most of the coaching staff from last year is returning so that’s also a huge plus.
“This program has been up and down since Chris Otto left and I think what we need to do is focus on moving forward,” she said. “After being a C-squad coach and seeing the girls that we have and that are returning, I believe that we can be competitive and go more than just three sets, we can take teams to five sets and get the win. As a head coach, I’d like to take this program and it all starts with offseason work and it starts with practices and utilizing your time.
“It’s a very competitive conference with all the teams,” Dietz said. “We also have to take a look at getting the love for the game and coming out for every match. To compete with Jackson and Marshall, that’s going to take time. They’re very well-rounded and they’ve been successful for many, many years.”
While she manages to stay busy at home, her love for the sport came back as soon as she began coaching again this fall.
“I’m very busy, when I resigned at Cathedral three years ago, I really had no intention on coming back because I was having my second kid and had a job change,” she said. “But once I got back in the gym and was coaching female athletes, I think it just sparked my passion all over again for volleyball.”
For Dietz, taking the NUHS job was a pretty easy decision.
“It feels right, I’m excited,” she said.