March 9, 2010
Rinehart, Bearcats Ready For a New Start
by Maggie Corwin, '12
The upcoming fall season of volleyball brings Northwest Missouri State a new head coach and a new start. Jessica Rinehart arrives in Maryville from Augsburg College in Minneapolis where she was head coach for the past five years. Rinehart has a lot of work to do, including adjusting to her new team, and finding new recruits before her big debut in Bearcat Arena this fall.
It was pure coincidence that Rinehart discovered Northwest's opening. Her husband, Mark, a former football player at Northwest, followed the Bearcats online, but it wasn't until Jessica went to check up on fellow Red Oak, Iowa, natives Paige Spangenberg and Alex Hanna that she noticed the opening. After discussing the job with Mark, and following an interview, the two decided to make the move.
Rinehart played volleyball for Paige's mom, Angie Spangenberg, at Red Oak High School. She even spent time babysitting for Angie.
"It's funny," said Spangenberg, whose 1,948 career digs is a program record. "I was little when she babysat me, but I remember her playing for my mom. She was someone I always looked up to. It's neat and special to have her as a coach."
Though Rinehart and Spangenberg previously knew each other, neither has let it affect the player-coach relationship.
"It wouldn't have been too different if a total stranger had come in as coach," said Spangenberg. "You play as hard as you can for whomever. But it's probably been an easier transition."
With Rinehart at the helm, the Bearcats have started the spring season with a dedication to hard work. Three times a week the women are in the gym working with their trainer and twice a week they are working on plyometrics and agility training.
The team also meets twice a week in groups of four to do individual training. Soon, they will be able to begin team practices and eventually will compete in a few spring tournaments.
"Our workouts are a lot more sport specific this year," said Spangenberg. "We are maximizing our reps and every time we get into the weight room, we are getting a multitude of options. Everyone has a great attitude and we attack the drills with a lot of intensity."
Workouts and practices aren't the only thing the Bearcats have been focusing on. Motivation and mental focus have been key factors as the team has entered its spring slate. The team has even introduced a new philosophy.
"Get one-percent better every day," said Spangenberg. "That's our philosophy and I think everyone has been trying to do that."
Rinehart and the team set their 2010 ultimate goal, which is to have the program's first winning season since 2000. In addition, the team would like to be in position for a regional berth come November. These goals will serve as motivation throughout spring training.
While working out with her new team has certainly kept her busy, the recruiting phase that comes with the spring season is in full swing as well.
"We have been doing a lot of recruiting," said Rinehart. "We will graduate six seniors this next season, so it's important that we establish a strong junior database. We've also targeted a few unsigned seniors and transfers. There has been a lot of interest in Northwest, so now our job is to find the right fit for our program."
With little time to prepare, Coach Rinehart is off to a good start. Only the upcoming season will tell if the team's hard work will pay off.
"Our team is working hard," said Rinehart. "They have great attitudes and are dedicated to the idea of improving the program. I think we are going to be a fun team to watch in the fall and one which fans are going to want to come and support."
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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