Hartman, Hawks volleyball team adjusting to coaching changeAt this time last year, Jennifer Hartman was the captain of the Dickinson State volleyball team. Today, she’s the Blue Hawks’ interim head coach.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
At this time last year, Jennifer Hartman was the captain of the Dickinson State volleyball team.
Today, she’s the Blue Hawks’ interim head coach.
On Thursday afternoon, just two days after Maura Bronte inexplicably resigned her position as DSU’s head volleyball coach 12 matches into the season, Hartman sat at the desk in Bronte’s former office poring over papers before the team’s schedule practice.
“It’s been a lot, but I have a great support system,” Hartman said. “Everybody is helping out a lot.”
It’s not an easy change for anyone to make, let alone a 22-year-old student who came into the fall expecting to gain experience in a coaches’ chair.
Hartman, a former standout volleyball player and track and field athlete at DSU, made her debut as interim head coach on Tuesday night — just hours after Bronte resigned — in a 3-0 loss at Jamestown College.
Another tough opponent awaits when the Blue Hawks host No. 25-ranked Carroll College at 2 p.m. Saturday at Scott Gymnasium in a Frontier Conference match.
Though the week has been strange, Hartman said there haven’t been any radical changes to the way the team goes about its day-to-day business.
“Everything is still on its regular schedule,” Hartman said. “We’re keeping everything the same and working forward from here.”
DSU senior captain Shaunda Dvorak, who was in the same 2007 recruiting class as Hartman, is confident about how her former teammate and coach is handling the change.
“It’s been a tough step,” Dvorak said. “… She’s had so much support with everyone in the athletic department, everyone on campus. She has support from every which way coming. We’re trying to step up and help her with a lot of things too. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to be in the position that she is.”
Hartman, who is from Miles City, Mont., originally, won’t be all alone on the bench.
She said DSU head softball coach Kristen Fleury will be an assistant coach alongside of her during matches and make most road trips with the team.
DSU athletic director Tim Daniel said Tuesday that at least one full-time coaching staff member will be on the bench for every DSU volleyball match.
Regardless of who is on the bench though, matches still boil down to the players.
Hartman said she has the utmost confidence in them.
“The biggest focus right now is playing as a team and working as a team,” she said. “I think everyone is on board with that. We’re just working hard. We’re doing what we’ve got to do to succeed.”