New coach in a familiar setting
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:54AM
A flurry of thoughts flooded through the mind of Maine South girls volleyball coach Peter King prior to the start of the Hawks’ season-opening match at Prospect.
Not only was it King’s debut as a varsity coach, but it also was a showdown against his alma mater. King played volleyball at Prospect for Mike Riedy, who just happened to be the coach he would be matching wits with that night.
“Walking into that gym brought back so many good memories,” King said. “Mike Riedy knows so much about the game and for him to be on the other side of the court meant a lot to me.”
The moment was not lost on Riedy either.
“You work with these kids in a volleyball setting in high school three hours a day and it’s pretty cool to see what they end up doing,” Riedy said. “There was definitely a sense of pride and happiness that he’s gotten himself to that position.”
To top it off, the Hawks won an exciting match 25-20, 19-25, 25-23 on Aug. 22.
Through its first eight matches, Maine South has compiled a 4-4 record. King’s captains are Kirsten Lee and Jane Acker, and he said he likes the way the varsity players are mentoring the younger girls at the lower levels. In fact, creating a family atmosphere throughout the program is one of his stated goals.
King learned he was hired as Maine South’s varsity coach on May 1, which happened to be his 31st birthday. Fortunately for King, he already knew many of the Maine South players.
Over the last six years, King coached both freshman teams and was a varsity assistant. He also spent four years as an assistant coach with the Maine South boys team; in two of those years, the Hawks placed in the top four at the state tournament. Last year, he was hired to coach the New Trier boys junior varsity team.
“I’ve been able to gain experience at different schools and see the way that they ran their programs,” King said. “I’ll take a piece from each of the programs and put my own spin on it.”
King also can draw on his playing career. He played in the front row as a 5-foot-11 freshman at Prospect, but he never grew another inch. So he transitioned to the back row at the varsity level and played there on the club team at Eastern Illinois University.
“I played all over so I’m comfortable coaching all the positions,” he said.
King said one of the biggest differences as a varsity coach is that he’s responsible for the direction of the entire program.
“I’m focused on my team but you have to see the program as a whole,” he said. “I want to make sure all the teams are doing everything they can to be successful.” ~.