Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Coaches share their journey to Washburn

Coaches+have+various+backgrounds+before+they+start+to+coach+at+Washburn.+Chris+Herron+knew+he+wanted+to+coach+since+he+was+young%2C+Taylor+Horak+stepped+into+an+assistant+coach+position+before+she+finished+her+undergraduate+degree+and+Lora+Westling+was+a+student+athlete+that+returned+to+Washburn+after+obtaining+a+master%E2%80%99s+degree.+
Headshots courtesy of wusports.com
Coaches have various backgrounds before they start to coach at Washburn. Chris Herron knew he wanted to coach since he was young, Taylor Horak stepped into an assistant coach position before she finished her undergraduate degree and Lora Westling was a student athlete that returned to Washburn after obtaining a master’s degree.

At Washburn there are numerous opportunities for coaches and people interested in this career. The university has positions as a head coach, assistant coach and student assistants.

“Back when I first started coaching, it was about winning and losing. Now it’s about the relationships you build with your players,” said Chris Herron, head volleyball coach.

People interested in coaching do not need a specific level of education. No college degree is necessary to become a coach. However, there is an expectation of experience needed for coaching at a collegiate level.

The experience needed to coach can start anywhere, including here at Washburn. There are graduate level students who are now assistant coaches. There are also former student athletes who are now coaching high school students or here at the university level.

“I think I got super lucky here and made a great connection with not only coach Holaday, but just some other people around the athletic department from being an athlete,” said Taylor Horak, assistant softball coach.

Every coach has a different path that led them to Washburn. Herron had a long coaching career before coming here. He coached for three years at Benedictine College as well as 13 years at Tonganoxie High School. However, Horak had a different approach. She was a student athlete who began as an assistant coach before she had completed her undergraduate degree.

“My coaches were my role models. I saw what they did for me, and I wanted to do that for somebody else,” Herron said.

There isn’t a right way to become a coach. People don’t even need to have experience playing that particular sport in order to coach it later. Although Herron coaches volleyball, he used to play baseball and basketball.

“Sometimes things are thrust upon you that you didn’t expect and volleyball was one of those. So, when I started doing it I just loved it,” Herron said. “It just fostered into something bigger throughout the years.”

Some student athletes even return to Washburn after some time has passed. Lora Westling, head coach women’s basketball, returned back to the Washburn campus after obtaining her master’s degree and coaching at other colleges.

“The spot opened up and it was definitely great to try to get back to where I started,” said Westling.

Being a student athlete allows students to build relationships with their coaches but also network for their future endeavors in that career. Coaches can also provide students with advice for how to advance themselves in their careers.

“Get involved in any level you can; be willing to work your way up,” Westling said. “Just get your foot in the door and then be great at what you do, be a sponge, learn a lot and it’ll pay off.”

Washburn has three coaches that tie for the longest active coaching career here. Herron, David Trupp, strength and conditioning coach and Craig Schurig, head football coach have all been at Washburn for 22 years.

For more information on Washburn athletics and coaching, go to wusports.com.

Edited by Aja Carter and LeSha’ Davis

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Jayme Thompson
Jayme Thompson, Editor
Hey everyone, I'm Jayme! I am a senior pursuing a double major of psychology and forensic investigations. Even though it's not tied to either of my majors, I joined Student Media because of my appreciation for journalism and the people in the field. I work as a content creator and copy editor. After graduating, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in forensic science and a job within that career field.
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