Throughout her high school career, former Rochelle student-athlete Katie Roush had several mentors who motivated her to push herself in sports and in the classroom. Since becoming a coach for the Lady Hubs in 2018, Roush has seen her role evolve from competitor to teacher, and she’s applying the lessons she learned to the athletic programs she once competed for.
After graduating from RTHS in 2015, Roush spent one season with the Kishwaukee College women’s volleyball program before transferring to Midway University, where she played volleyball and rode for the equestrian team. She began her coaching career in 2018, when RTHS hired her as a sophomore volleyball and freshman girls basketball coach.
“I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to give back to two wonderful programs I once played for,” Roush said. “What I enjoy most is seeing how far the student-athletes come from their first day of practice to their last. Being such a young coach, I love having such great mentors to learn from. They’ve helped me so much along the way.”
Roush took on more coaching responsibilities this year, moving up to head sophomore girls basketball coach and becoming an assistant coach for the girls track and field team. A former three-sport student-athlete at RTHS, Roush said her recent experience as a Lady Hub has helped her relate to the academic and athletic challenges her student-athletes face.
“There were many practices this year where my players talked about their teachers and the assignments they had due for each class,” said Roush, who also began substitute teaching at RTHS this year. “Having the ability to help the kids not only in practice, but in the classroom, was such a great feeling. It was also a great feeling when the athletes went out of their way to say hello to me in the morning, much like I used to do to my coaches.”
Roush said one goal as a coach is to pull student-athletes out of their comfort zones, whether it’s through using off-hand dribbling drills in basketball practice or implementing new drills. But her ultimate goal, she said, is to establish a family atmosphere and encourage her student-athletes to feel welcomed through practices, games and team bonding activities.
“I feel that from my first season of coaching to where I am now, I’ve brought more positive energy to our teams,” Roush said. “I always make sure I’m giving our girls positive feedback and that I’m creating practice routines that push the girls, but reward them at the same time. I enjoyed the short time I had to work with the track team. Working with the girls to accomplish their individual goals and find the events they’re passionate about was a great experience.”