Kaitlin Lundeen always enjoyed the spirit of Milton High School.
The pep rallies and home crowds were a few of the things Lundeen missed when she departed from the school in 2015.
But now she’s back and ready to re-embrace the school’s spirit.
Lundeen was announced as the new head volleyball coach at Milton. The hiring comes after Wayne Hansen — who coached the varsity team for 10 seasons — retired in November.
“I loved being a part of the program,” Lundeen said.
“One thing I missed about Milton was the homecoming parade. There is something about Milton where the school takes pride in all their sports, not just for homecoming or football. For volleyball we had great crowds. Milton has a community within the school and in the community itself people are just really proud and supportive. I missed that.”
Lundeen played high school volleyball in Clinton and then played collegiately at UW-Whitewater from 2005-2008. Lundeen coached club volleyball from 2009-2014 down in Rockford and coached a season at Beloit Memorial as a JV coach. From 2011-2014 Lundeen coached under Wayne Hansen as a varsity assistant at Milton. She most recently coached the freshman team at Dundee-Crown in Illinois in the fall of 2015.
Like lots of high school coaches, winning isn’t necessarily Lundeen’s top priority.
“I want the kids to grow as individuals and as players,” Lundeen said. “I want them to be proud to be part of the program. And I want them to have support and a sense of belonging. If those three things happen everything else is gravy.
“Winning is great and everyone playing is great, but those other things have to come first.”
Lundeen has had a few summer workouts with her new team. Milton is holding outdoor volleyball activities, taking every precaution they can, according to Lundeen, with concerns of COVID-19 swirling about.
“With COVID and everything, our main goal is to give the kids something to look forward to,” Lundeen said. “The kids were happy to hear that they got to do something.
“Right now we don’t know if we’re going to have a season, so we’re giving the girls some purpose and something to do while still social distancing and keeping safe.”
The team is keeping up with safety precautions, having a maximum of 10 players per court.
“It’s fun,” Lundeen said. “The first practice was let’s talk about expectations, here’s what we’re going for. We touched on if we all want a season, which we do, we have to do all the things to keep ourselves safe so we can have a season.”
Lundeen will also be teaching biology and earth science at Milton.