Feb. 4, 2014
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By JIL PRICE
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa head volleyball coach Bond Shymansky knows the value of a well-rounded experience for a student-athlete and believes whole-heartedly in the Hawkeye way of life. He should know, since he lived it.
Shymansky -- an Iowa City native -- remembers yelling "Lou" when the Banach brothers took to the Iowa wrestling mat, watching legendary coaches Hayden Fry and Dan Gable build championship programs, tossing rocks into the hole that was dug for Carver-Hawkeye Arena, attending a women's basketball game when C. Vivian Stringer was at the helm of the program that drew more than 20,000 fans, and rushing the field when Rob Houghtlin kicked the game-winning field goal against Michigan in 1985.
Growing up Hawkeye and understanding the culture influenced his decision to attend the UI as a student. He earned his bachelor of arts in communications in 1995 and his master's degree in English education in 1997.
After coaching stints at Iowa City West, City High and Regina high schools, Shymansky followed his coaching career elsewhere to Iowa State, Georgia Tech and Marquette before coming full circle to become the ninth head coach in Iowa history.
"It feels great to be back here," Shymansky said. "There's just something magical about coming back to your hometown, coming to your alma mater, and getting the chance to put that Tigerhawk on my chest is really going to be a neat experience. My family is excited. All the friends and family that I have here still are super excited. I'm hoping to energize our volleyball fan base and the Hawkeye nation to get this program going.
"The most exciting thing to me about taking over this program is the opportunity. You have all these great people here, all these great players that are inside the program, a great conference to compete in, and then you have a great department and university to support it. I'm confident that it's going to get going, and it's going to get going fast."
Shymansky is confident he has the foundation and support he needs to take the program to the next level. He is excited to inherit a team with a strong work ethic and knows combining the present talent with the top recruits the state is a recipe for success.
"We want the best instate talent to come to Iowa... period," said Shymansky. "They're out there, I know they're out there, and they're in places all over the state. They're in some little towns and some big cities. We want them here, and they're going to know that. They need to know that starting today.
"They're going to know that when we get out on the road and recruit that we can build a championship-caliber team right here with instate talent. Certainly, we'll look to other regions around the country to try and draw different skills sets, but we want the Hawkeye people, Hawkeye nation to rise up and help the Hawkeye volleyball program be its best.
"Any recruit out there is going to want to come here because they're going to see the vision, see all of the things that Iowa volleyball can be. I'm part of that vision, but I'm only the head coach. There are going to be other coaches, players inside the program, support staff, fans and booster clubs and all those things will deliver the same vision and message.
"That message is that Iowa volleyball is going to be the best, so if you are the best player, you need to come and be a part of the best program."