The Ichabod volleyball team is having one of the greatest seasons in program history this year under Head Coach Chris Herron. Like all coaches, Herron needs help to be able to succeed at the highest level. In her first year with the Ichabods, assistant coach Lauren Ramatowski has taken her role successfully while leading the Bods to a 29-4 record.
Ramatowski lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, JC, and her four-month-old son, Tommy. She is also surrounded by her family since her parents and her sister all live in Kansas City as well.
Ramatowski was raised in Kansas City, Missouri and attended Park Hill South High School where she played volleyball, basketball and track. From Park Hill, Ramatowski went to Kansas State on a volleyball scholarship. She then went to Truman State where she was a graduate assistant for a year. After Truman State, Ramatowski went to the University of Texas-Pan American, which is now called UT-Rio Grande Valley. Ramatowski then coached for St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City. Before coming to Washburn, she coached for Houston Baptist. All of her experiences along the way have helped her become a successful coach.
“My experiences were good. I love coaching. It is something that is my passion and is something that I feel that I am really good at. Every university or every program is a little bit different, and you just gotta be able to find your fit to be able to motivate the girls and to be able to work together as a staff. Each program is different in their own way, but it’s always fun,” Ramatowski said.
Every coach has a drive that pushes them to become better and to make their players better. For Ramatowski, her drive is the love of the game and, mainly, the love of her players.
Ramatowski said, “I just love working with the girls. I think it is just a unique time in their life during college to go through a bunch of different things. I enjoy being there for them, and kind of guiding them through some of their life decisions. I love motivating them and challenging them, but also loving them and making them know how special they are.”
Ramatowski loves the game of volleyball, but it takes more than just the love of the game to coach. For her, she loves to help young women.
“My passion for coaching stems from me loving to help young women. That’s why I coach, and I love being there for them,” she said.
Freshman outside hitter, Emma Palasak stated what she believes makes Ramatowski a great coach.
Palasak said, “Coach Ram has improved so much of my skill as a player. She notices things I can’t, and she brought back my jump serve. What makes her a great coach, however, is more than her expansive knowledge of the game. She cares about team chemistry and each individual player’s well-being.”
Coming to Washburn was an easy choice for Ramatowski at first due to the location of where she lives, but since then it has become more than just an easy place to work.
“To start, it just worked perfectly. I was back at home, and I had just had my son. The job came open, and since I’ve known Coach Herron pretty well, since I was a little girl. I was able to give him a call, and because we’ve previously known each other we’ve been able to establish a good working relationship pretty quickly,” she added.
As a coach, there are multiple challenges that the public does not when they see the volleyball team compete. For Ramatowski, it goes beyond the physical aspect of the game.
“Figuring out each of the girls, how they work, how they are motivated and how they play the game is a challenge. Every single girl is a little bit different, so I think that it’s a challenge, but it is a fun challenge. Everyday there is something different in the coaching world. Your day never looks the same, and you have to come in here with the right mind set that you have like four or five things to do, but then a player comes into my office wanting to talk about life, so those four or five things end up going out the window,” Ramatowski mentioned.
Ramatowski and the volleyball team recently competed in the MIAA tournament, where they placed second after falling in the championship match to Nebraska-Kearney. They have earned a berth into the NCAA Division II Regional Playoffs slated as the third seed. They will take on sixth seed Northern State this Thursday in Kearney, Nebraska.