University of Illinois Springfield hires interim head coach from within
The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) women's soccer team has promoted from within, naming assistant coach Erin Egolf its interim head coach.
Egolf replaces Molly Grisham, who resigned after three seasons at the helm to pursue a career in career development at the high school level. Egolf played at UIS in her college career and immediately upon graduation in 2012 became an assistant coach for the Prairie Stars.
"It was a little bit surprising, seeing as how late in the summer, the resignation (of Coach Grisham) came, but it was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up, and I wish her all of the best," Egolf told the Sangamon Sun. "I am fortunate to be able to step into the head coaching role thanks to the support of new Athletic Director Jim Sarra and Hayley Treadway. I am especially happy for the girls, as this provides some continuity for them heading into the fall season."
The Prairie Stars had unprecedented success last year, winning a program record five games, four of them in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which was also a school record. Egolf has a limited amount of time to put her stamp on the program, with the Prairie Stars' first match Aug. 21, a scrimmage at Southeast Missouri State University. However, Egolf said she feels she'll be adjusted to the role and ready when the players return to school.
"These first three weeks have been a little bit of a learning process, but I am happy for the opportunity to learn," Egolf said. "There is a lot to be done before the girls arrive, but I am confident that everything will be in place by the time they get on campus. Much of the tactical decisions and soccer-specific changes will happen during preseason as we see the girls play more."
Egolf takes over a team primed to be a mixture of experience and talented youth. The Prairie Stars lost only three seniors, but are now led by four current seniors. The program also features seven new freshmen, as well as Macy Martin, a sophomore transfer from Illinois Central College.
"It always helps any coach when you have quality players entering your program," Egolf said. "I was lucky enough to be involved in their recruiting processes, and I know they will make a lasting impact on our program."
Egolf said she plans to build on the team's successes with a mixture of Grisham's methods from the past and some new things she will introduce.
"We will look to build on the things that have worked in the past, and revamp the things that haven’t," Egolf said. "We are bringing in an excellent class that will complement the quality players we already have very well. I am extremely confident in our players, coaching staff and athletic department. It’s going to be a great season for UIS women’s soccer."