CEDAR RAPIDS — Most parents officially give up the title of “coach” when their child heads off to college.
Willie Guy is just getting started.
This summer, Guy is coaching his daughter, Avery, for Emil’s Hideaway in the Iowa Women’s Softball League. The league has an eight-week season with games at Mount Mercy’s Busse Field on Sundays. It gives collegiate athletes a chance to maintain and elevate their skills in the offseason.
Avery, a junior transferring from DMACC to Iowa this year, gets her dad on the sidelines for the first time.
“I’ve never coached her before,” Guy said. “She played for the Blue Devils program, but I didn’t coach on any staff other than the early years as dads do.”
Not only is Guy spending time with Avery, he gets to reconnect with girls she grew up playing with.
“I get to coach her with some of her teammates from high school that I cheered for but now get to hang out with,” Guy said.
Some might wonder how a dad who’s never called the shots before became the coach of a group of NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA athletes from every division.
“This is the third year of the league, and Avery went to college two years ago,” Guy said. “(Director) Jim Ecker reached out to me by email to help out with coaching. Mike Kuba was the coach, but he’s now the head coach at Jefferson.”
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While Avery will experience Division I training at Iowa, this summer is an opportunity to play softball without the high stakes.
“It’s to get better, but it’s also just playing with some of your friends that you’ve grown up playing with,” Avery said. “Having him as a coach is cool. It’s a laid back atmosphere.”
Guy, a former Iowa football standout, contributes to the “chill” environment from the dugout. He connects with the players with a fun, outgoing personality that can be heard clearly from the stands.
“I just took this as an opportunity to see her again because once they’re in college and gone all the time, you don’t see them as much,” Guy said. “It’s a great opportunity to come hang out with her and just watch her play the game she loves.”