CHURCHILL -- High school volleyball season is months away from starting in Montana, but defending Class C state champion Manhattan Christian is wasting no time as it has hired Hanna VanDyk as its new head coach. And it's a job she's always dreamed of having.
“I’ve always wanted to be a coach. When I was in high school I wanted to be a coach, when I was in college I wanted to be a coach. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I had no idea what I wanted to do for work, but I knew I wanted to be a coach,” VanDyk said.
VanDyk has spent 10 years with the Eagles' volleyball program, four as a player and six as an assistant coach. And now she takes over for her mentor, Jill Ayers, who retired this past season, ending her coaching career with 302 wins and two state championships.
“It is a little bit of pressure," said VanDyk about filling Ayers' shoes. "She’s quite good and these girls are really good. So, I’m coming in pretty confident this season, but we are going to have to work really hard and put in a bunch of time and adjust to the new program, adjust to new coaches.”
But for VanDyk, being able to represent the place she grew up means everything.
“To be able to come back here and continue to pay it forward -- Mrs. Ayers was my coach, so taking what she taught me and being able to continue to share that with these girls is really big,” said VanDyk.
The Manhattan Christian volleyball team is currently out of season, but VanDyk says she will be working virtually with her team to design workouts and drills they can do at home in the future to stay sharp heading into the season.