Girls volleyball: Geneva turns to one of its best to lead program
Some in the Kane County volleyball community might remember the volleyball star Lauren Kosecki -- formally Wicinski, her maiden name -- became as a former student at Geneva High School and later at Northern Illinois and Michigan State.
She now gets her chance to put her own stamp on the varsity program as head coach of the Vikings.
Kosecki was announced as the Vikings' new coach last week. Kosecki, a Geneva graduate, succeeds Annie Seitelman after Seitelman stepped aside following this past season, her seventh as head coach, for family reasons. Kosecki is the daughter of Rob Wicinski, who retired as Geneva football coach after this season.
The Vikings' volleyball team won the DuKane Conference during the shortened season this spring.
"Never in a million years did I think that I would be the next head coach at my alma mater that I love so much," said Kosecki, who is a special education teacher in the district. "I mean, I grew up here with my dad coaching. I was always in the building and I was always around."
"So, it's an absolute honor," Kosecki continued. "I'm almost speechless. I'm just so thrilled. Annie has done such a great job with this program, and there's still stuff in place that the girls do that I did when I was here before, which is so crazy. I'm so excited to continue the success of the program."
Kosecki, a four-time All-American in college, finished with 2,424 kills, which was 13th all-time among Division I players in the NCAA history, in a career between Northern Illinois and Michigan State. In her two seasons in East Lansing, the Spartans made consecutive Sweet 16 appearances.
As a senior at Geneva, Kosecki was named an Under Armour All-American, Illinois' Gatorade Player of the Year and first team All-State.
"From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher," said Kosecki, who previously coached the girls junior varsity level at Geneva. "I never strayed away from that. Going into college, I knew I wanted to coach and be a teacher. I saw my dad do it; I saw he much he loved it. I was just around it all the time. My mom coached me in volleyball, so I just grew up in that environment."
Kosecki served as a student assistant coach at Michigan State following graduation and later moved to Texas to continue teaching and coach club volleyball for four years.
"When I moved back [to Geneva within the past year], I just missed home and jumped at the chance to have an opportunity to coach at Geneva," Kosecki said. "I've always had that in me; I love to have an impact on kids and make sure that they have the best experience possible. It's [coaching] always been something I wanted to do.
"I want to continue the tradition that's here; I think that's so big. That's what makes Geneva, Geneva. We have a lot of tradition that I definitely want to continue. And, then continue to build on the unity and the chemistry of the program. We're one community; we're one unit."
"And then, just have fun things that I loved and enjoyed," Kosecki said. "I look back at my playing career here and people always ask me: 'Do you remember winning? What was your favorite game?' I can't remember a specific match or something. I remember all the fun things we did as a program and team. Those are the kind of experiences that I want to bring to these girls as well."
"I mean, they've been here. But, it's now my turn to kind of put ... my own twist on everything."