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The Carletonian

Heidi Jaynes, Head Volleyball Coach, Steps Down to Fulfill New Role in Department

< 19 seasons as Carleton’s Head Volleyball Coach, Heidi Jaynes stepped down from her role to assume a full-time administrative role within Carleton’s athletic department. For the past eight years, Jaynes has held the additional roles of Carleton’s Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), while also serving as a Professor of physical education, athletics and recreation (PEAR).

In addition to her expanded role within the athletic department, she will continue to serve these roles as well. Jaynes’s transition coincides with a shift in duties by Carleton’s current athletic director, Gerald Young. Young will now serve as a Posse mentor to scholars attending Carleton starting in the Fall 2018 term, and Jaynes will assume more of the athletic director responsibilities.

Jaynes’s leave of absence came as a surprise to many student-athletes on campus. Faith Skinner ’19, a captain for the Knights volleyball team, explained that “the whole process kind of happened so quickly for her that she didn’t even know it was going to happen, so there was no way we could’ve known. I kind of guessed that it would happen within the next few years, whether that be because she got more responsibility as the athletic director or because of her daughters getting older, but I didn’t think it would happen right now.”

Elyse Wanzenried ’19, another captain, commented on how they found out that Jaynes was stepping down. “She texted the team and asked if we could meet before our next open gym without disclosing the topic ahead of time, then came to the meeting and broke the news,” Wanzenried said. “We were all pretty shocked and upset given the depth of the relationship each individual has built with her, dating back to our time before Carleton, given the recruiting process.”

Jaynes’s new position leaves a gap in the Carleton Volleyball program which many did not see coming, and this could be a problem. According to Wanzenried, “it would have been more ideal to know about this right at the end of the season in order to allow for more time to search for a coach replacement. Since we got this news at this point in the year, that only leaves about a month or two to find a coach before our non-traditional season and practices begin this spring term, which is a more challenging timeline in which to establish a sound staffing model for us to ensure the continuation of the volleyball program.”

Jaynes is handling the responsibilities for the hiring of a new coach, with player input being taken to account as well. According to Skinner, “GY [Gerald Young] and Heidi have allowed the voices of our team to be heard by them and the rest of the hiring committee, so kind of who we are looking for is who they are looking for. We gave them a list of things we would like to see in our new head coach and they are taking those into consideration throughout this hiring process. Right now they have about 20 applicants and starting [soon,] they’re moving into phone interviews and hopefully by mid-April will have three top choices on campus visiting for us to meet and have a meeting with.”

The student-athletes believe that the latest date by which they would have a new coach would be June 1, so that is the date they think the selection process will be concluded. In the meantime, Wanzenried added that for recruits looking to come to Carleton next year, Jaynes “has been maintaining recruiting relationships with incoming freshmen as well as continuing to do recruiting for future prospects and setting the schedule for the upcoming season.”

The reason for Jaynes’ resignation is clear, with Jaynes to assume more responsibilities in the athletic department. According to Wanzenried, these changes are “effectively a promotion for her. … There was no specific inciting issue for her, rather there was an administrative question of who would become the full-time administrator for the Carleton Athletic Administration; most other schools have three to four full time athletic administrators while Carleton only has one, which makes the presence of that one administrator even more crucial. … Heidi, as the Associate Athletic director, is the natural choice not only because of her skills and position, but because her own career trajectory goals tend towards increased administrative duties.”

What Carleton volleyball will miss is Jaynes’ presence on the court and her support off the court. Wanzenried explained, “we’ll all miss Heidi as a person, she was a source of steady support for her athletes both on and off the court. She was very invested in each of her players and wanted to see each person succeed in every facet of their life. We’ll miss her leadership and guidance in all areas of our lives; she showed a genuine interest in each player she recruited and coached. She was extremely kind and caring and I know we’ll miss her presence. She’s also been known to have some hilarious and fun moments in the gym, so we’ll miss that too.”

Skinner went on to say while that she cannot say how Jaynes will be missed from an overall team perspective, she can say what she will miss personally about Jaynes. “I can say personally that I will miss her encouragement and her excitement in watching me grow both on the court and off,” Skinner said. “She is always interested in how I’m doing in my classes and what plans I have for breaks and things like that, as well as how things are going in open gyms. Whether or not I’ve been working on my defense or improving my shots or whatever else. So I guess to say it in a more concise manner, what I will miss most about Heidi is her caring and loving personality.”

The three captains, Skinner, Wanzenried and Jona Plevin ’19, have assumed more responsibility in the absence of a head coach. Wanzenried believes it is her responsibility to “step in alongside the other captains to ensure that the rest of the team gets the reps and attention they need in open gyms to keep improving, as well as making an extra effort to meet any recruits that may visit campus.”

She said that the captains “have to spend some extra time organizing the team response to the coach selection process so that the legacy of Carleton volleyball does not get lost in translation while welcoming in the new coach. This means facing the future with optimism and openness to dialogue both with [their] teammates and the search committee, as well as bringing energy and a hardworking attitude to any opportunity to improve that [she] may be presented with as a way to lead by example and maintain the level of the team [she] knows [them] to be.”

Skinner added that the captains have to assume the lead when they can “tell something is off or wrong or they’re missing lifts or open gyms. Being encouraging and uplifting at lifting and open gyms because the team needs positive energy right now and leaders they can rely on, which we have been doing successfully and well.”

Stay tuned for updates on the volleyball coaching position. Unfortunately, Jaynes has declined to comment to the Carletonian on the reasons for her resignation.

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