Since 2002, Steve Chapin has been the head coach of the St. James Area volleyball team.
After an impressive 17 year run, Chapin has decided to resign from the position, and leave the sport he has been coaching since the mid-1990s.
“There was a lot of pieces to this,” said Chapin. “I’ve been at it for a long time, and I’ve run out of gas.”
The first thoughts of resignation crept up on Chapin during the final weeks of the season and he was on the fence at the volleyball banquet held after the season.
“After the banquet, I went home and talked it over with my kids, and my son, Tyler was very supportive.”
While Chapin still loves the in-season aspect of coaching, the off-season grind was prohibiting him from spending time with his family outside of volleyball, where his daughter, Danielle, and son, Tyler, have been involved in the program. Danielle will graduate in the spring, leading many people to believe that her leaving the program was a major factor in his resignation.
“The off-season commitment and expectation was probably the largest factor,” said Chapin. “However, going to parent weekend at college is something I wouldn’t be able to do if I was coaching.”
Chapin said there are still girls in the program who he’d love to coach but also admits that he’s lost his energy for the game and that his teams deserve someone who is more demanding of their players.
“Maybe a fresh face and a new mentality about what goes on will be beneficial to them.”
Chapin resigns with a quality resume under his belt. He first began coaching in 1995, at MLBO, leading them to a 65-27-4 record, including a 22-5 record in his final season. After two years at Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, Chapin made the move to St. James and immediately rattled off five straight winning seasons, with the highlight being a 25 win campaign in 2004. In the last three years, the Saints have gone just 20-69.
Chapin departs with a 246-228 record with the Saints and over 330 wins in his coaching career.
“There are wins that stick out in my mind over the years,” said Chapin, reflecting on his time roaming the sidelines. “One year we beat Windom three times and they were a really solid team. I still see some of those players from Windom and we talk about that year.”
Another moment that stands out for Chapin, beating New Ulm in the playoffs.
“I remember beating New Ulm on our old floor about five years ago in the playoffs,” recited Chapin. “It was the first home playoff game in 20 years here, and we sold that thing big. And we absolutely obliterated them that night. And they were a huge rivalry for us.”
Chapin will still remain with the school as an educator and has joined officiating crews for volleyball.
Taking the reigns of the program will be Jodi Geistfeld. Geistfeld coached volleyball for 15 years at GHEC-Martin Luther, as well as 14 years as the girl's basketball head coach.
“I think having a female voice in a female program is a great thing,” said Chapin. “The group coming in now is good. They’re going to have numbers. I wish the best for this upcoming group. It’s a very strong group of women that are going to come in and be the leaders of the program.”
Natalie Oldenburg will be added to the coaching staff as a co-assistant coach. Heather Spitzner will be returning to the staff, and Lauren Collier returns as a varsity assistant coach.