DELHI — Maquoketa Valley’s volleyball season this year has been one like no other.
Hard work, passion and determination are in the air during daily practices. The coaches feel the success and the fans are awed by the drive of the team. Many have opinions of why this program has transformed into something new and improved, but most would give credit to Coach Brandy Whittenbaugh.
This program has developed in a positive way thanks to her.
Whittenbaugh has always had a competitive drive. In high school, she participated in volleyball and basketball.
“My coaches were my role models,” she said proudly of Steve Niggemeyer and Gene Klinge, who played the role of her coaches. “Coach Niggemeyer was the reason I have such a passion for volleyball. He grew my passion and I use a lot of what he taught me today.”
Her competitive drive and passion made her crave her personal goals.
After high school, Whittenbaugh had a desire to continue volleyball in college, but those big plans changed. She had decided to follow her husband on his Marine Corps journey. Her volleyball passion didn’t stop, though. After she graduated from college, she participated in the Women’s Marine Corps team.
“I officiated at first to help the need to compete, but I ended up hating it,” she said. “I wanted to get into the coaching aspect of it.”
She knew when she returned to Iowa, she needed to fulfill her coaching desire.
And so she did.
She started at Oelwein High School where she coached volleyball and assisted basketball. One of her first memories coaching volleyball was defeating West Delaware, a ranked team. She also coached volleyball at Clarion-Goldfield, in western Iowa. Whittenbaugh had been fond of coaching basketball, but it was a long season.
“I enjoy the emotion that goes into the sport of volleyball and the time frame and length of this season,” she said.
In the end, volleyball was the sport Whittenbaugh wanted to continue with.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Some life changes steered her to the Delaware County area. Now Whittenbaugh holds the position of head volleyball coach at Maquoketa Valley. She chose this position because she knew of the talent here waiting to blossom.
Coming into this program, her goals consisted of building the program, having an expectation of winning and making volleyball a sport students want to play. She also felt a need for consistency in coaching.
“I think with any program consistency is key,” she said.
Whittenbaugh has established what to expect out of the volleyball program and makes her players better every day.
“I don’t expect talent, but I expect effort and also dedication and loyalty,” she said.
Whittenbaugh has put in countless hours into the program, wanting it to be successful. This year’s team takes a 14-14 record into its Class 2A regional quarterfinal Monday at Cascade (22-10).
Whittenbaugh wants her players to enjoy the game, learn respect and not fear anyone or anything.
An unexpected neck surgery has set her back from being the active coach she always has been and she’s unsure what coaching will look like for her in the future. Whittenbaugh’s main priority keeping herself healthy for her family.
“I do plan to continue coaching depending on my health,” she said. “That’s another reason why I brought Morgan Manternach in. She could take over if it doesn’t allow me to continue.”
For now, Whittenbaugh is doing her best and her dedication to her players and the program is appreciated by many.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
The Wildcats set the high goal this year of winning the Tri-Rivers Conference West Division, something they hadn’t done in 23 years. The went 6-1 in the conference to claim the title, then finished second in the conference tournament.
The ride included lots of tears, some guts and discipline and, of course, will power. But in the end, it was all worth it and now will be an annual goal for players in the future.
Whittenbaugh’s success will never be forgotten.