By Kristian Gecaj, Staff Writer
Shaeli Munroe has been named the new assistant coach for the Newman volleyball team.
Most recently, Munroe coached as a graduate assistant at Southwestern Christian University (SCU) in Oklahoma.
Munroe is currently in her first year coaching at the collegiate level. However, she has experience coaching volleyball elsewhere.
“I coach club teams on a regular basis, and during the summer there are camps everywhere in America that I attend and coach at. I learn a lot from the other volleyball coaches,” she said.
Munroe thinks her experience playing in college is vital for her role as assistant coach.
“I can relate to the girls more and that’s why I was selected. I have been in their position not too long ago. Being a female coach helps because it’s someone that they can identify with and that was a big reason for getting me here.”
Munroe says that volleyball has been a very important part of her life for a long time.
“I always wanted to go to college, but volleyball made it so much easier for me to be successful. I wanted to go to class because if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t play.”
Originally from Douglas, Munroe started her college career at Cowley Community College in Arkansas City. Munroe then transferred to SCU and was awarded All American honors.
With professional options in volleyball limited, head coach Jose Lugo and assistant coach Munroe are placing a lot of importance on academics for their players.
“Girls don’t have many professional teams where they can play volleyball, so we think it’s really important that they get good grades while in college,” she said.
The volleyball team is in a rebuilding phase after losing nearly all its upperclassmen.
“We want to do a lot of recruiting and get more girls here.” Munroe said. “ When Coach Lugo came in he didn’t have the chance to recruit players. He likes all the girls here already and my job is to bring in more local girls.”
Rebuilding a team involves creating a new team culture. When senior players leave, this can leave a gap in terms of role models for players. Munroe said she wants the players to look up the coaches.
“We need them to buy into the system and the coach. Especially with a new team it’s important that we achieve that.” Munroe said. “We need the girls to trust us that we know how far to push them. Stryder knows exactly what the girls can and can’t do in the weight room.”
Munroe is pleased to be working with head coach Lugo.
“I think I will learn a lot being at Newman.” Munroe said, “ I want to be a head coach eventually, so I want to learn what I can.”
Munroe is optimistic about the future of athletics at Newman.
“It’s good that Jo Pryor is the new athletic director.” Munroe said. “She knows Newman and she knows sports. It’s like a rebuilding year for the whole Newman athletics. We need to figure out what athletic facilities need to be improved and hope they can get the funding.”
PHOTO: SHAELI MUNROE came from a graduate position at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma. Courtesy photo, Newman Advancement