NEW ULM - New Ulm High School has filled two of its vacant head coaching varsity fall sports positions, one a new name to the New Ulm coaching scene, and the other is a familiar face that was brought back.
New Ulm Athletic Director Chad Eischens said that Lauren Hoffmann is the new volleyball coach and Jack Gronholz will again lead the boys soccer program this fall.
Hoffmann will take over the volleyball program coaching position vacated by Chris Otto last year. Hoffmann takes over a team that went 3-23-1 a year ago and 2-8 in the South Central Conference. She is the Dance Team head coach at Sleepy Eye High School during the winter sports season and she's been a Junior Olympic volleyball coach in Sleepy Eye.
Hoffmann's experience in both sports helped her become a solid candidate for New Ulm High School.
"I think she had some balance of some previous head coaching experience, at least in dance," New Ulm Athletic Director Chad Eischens said. "That's helpful, knowing how difficult a high school athletic program looks like and then her experience coaching kids at the high school-age over in Sleepy Eye [in Junior Olympic Volleyball].
"She knows the history of our program and knows its been relatively successful," Eischens said. "I don't know if she's looking to make vast changes, it definitely doesn't sound that way, but she has a few ideas of her own that she wants to interject on her own."
Kayla Altmann is the B-squad and assistant varsity coach and Ruth Notling is also going to be an assistant coach in the program for NUHS and she will be coaching at the C-squad level.
Meanwhile, on the boys soccer front, Gronholz returns to the sidelines to help a younger Eagles boys squad. New Ulm finished the 2012 season 4-11, but the future looks bright for Gronholz and new assistant Caleb Kosek this year.
Gronholz has a career record of 53-55 in his seven years at the helm.
It was announced this past January in The Journal that Gronholz was stepping down. At the time, he wasn't sure that the time commitment to his full-time job at KEYC would allow him to continue coaching soccer in New Ulm.
But he became a late candidate for the job and it was the perfect fit for Eischens and the New Ulm boys program.
"They got a new General Manager over at KEYC, and at the conclusion of last season, he didn't know if it was going to work out with some of the additional responsibilities that was placed on him," Eischens said. "He said he wanted to stick with it [coaching soccer] if he could make it work out, and it turns out that this is going to work out for him so it's nice to have him back."
The girls basketball and girls hockey programs are both still looking for a head coach and Eischens anticipates that those jobs will be filled in August sometime.
Both the soccer and volleyball teams start practice on Monday, August 12 and the Eagles boys soccer team opens the season on Friday, August 23 with a 1 p.m. game against Waseca and a 3 p.m. game against Southwest Christian at the Martin Luther College Soccer Complex.