May 9, 2004
This mother’s day Cindy Fredrick gets to be with her mother in her native Waverly, Ia., and that’s just fine with her. On Monday, Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby named Fredrick Iowa’s seventh head volleyball coach, replacing Rita Buck-Crockett. On Friday, Fredrick, the current head coach at Washington State, concluded a long week of preparations and meetings with a sit-down with hawkeyesports.com. What follows is a transcript of that interview.
hawkeyesports.com: What are your first impressions of Iowa, and how has your first week gone?
Cindy Fredrick: Well, right now, everything’s a little overwhelming because I’m trying to get a lot of things done in just five days, before I have to go back to Washington and pack up and get the movers organized and sell my house and all those things. I have to find a place here. And then, I’ve been meeting with the players all week, but that’s been fun. There are just a lot of things to do.
hawkeyesports.com: How have you found the state of the state of the team?
Cindy Fredrick: Well, I think they have great attitudes right now. And they are really a great group of young women. Physically, they’ve endured a lot of injuries, and I think that that’s really had an effect on their playing, obviously, some of them didn’t play at all and some didn’t play spring ball. So I think those things have had a big effect on them. They haven’t lifted weights this year, and I think that’s been a real determent to their playing. But part of that is because of all the injuries they’ve had. So we’re looking to get things back on track in that regard. Lifting is a huge part of our program.
hawkeyesports.com: Have their been any other things like that that you’ve discovered?
Cindy Fredrick: Because they’re a very young team, I think that a lot of the young kids come in to a lot of our programs and they’ve been playing volleyball year-round with no breaks and no time for their bodies to heal, and no time for them really to do a lot of core work and strength training. So when they just play, play, play and don’t have the time to take care of little injuries then they become big injuries by the time they get to this level. So I think that’s what really has happened to the Iowa program, and it happens to a lot of us. I know my freshman at Washington State went through the same thing.
“If you’re going to live somewhere, you have to be involved in the community. I was a co-chair for the school-bond levy in Pullman, and I just think that’s a big part of doing things. I mean, I don’t really think about it. I just do what I think you should do, and try to teach my players that when you put your hand out, it isn’t always to take.”
Head Coach Cindy Fredrick on the value of public service
hawkeyesports.com: In your career, you’ve really gone school to school building or rebuilding programs. What is that like?
Cindy Fredrick: It’s a challenge. We did it when we left Weber State as well. This will be the third time we’ve done it, and really it’s the fourth team because when I left high school I left a high school team that was 33-0. So this is kind of the fourth time. It’s a challenge, most definitely. But I guess our attitude is: what better place to do it than Iowa? Because you have a tremendous amount of pride in your state, and the university, and to be able to think I just want to do this one more time. I want to build one more program. That’s the incentive. That’s the drive that you have. And it’s always fun to say that you can go home again.
hawkeyesports.com: How much did you want to come back to Iowa?
Cindy Fredrick: I had thought about it a couple of times. The president that hired me at Washington State, six or seven years ago, asked me where I would go if I wasn’t at Washington State. And I told him there was only one part of the country I would be interested in going, and that was the University of Iowa. And I told him, “Don’t worry, because I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.” And then when it opened, he’s the first person I called after I spoke to my husband. And he’s retired now from Washington State, but he’s the first person I talked to about it.
hawkeyesports.com: What is it that you particularly enjoy about Iowa and the university?
Cindy Fredrick: It’s what I grew up with. And I think when you’re in this part of the state and grow up in this part of the state; you can’t help but be a Hawkeye fan. That was probably the biggest part of it. I think there is that thing about being raised in the state of Iowa, it never leaves you. As much as some people may make fun of us for being from Iowa, people who are from Iowa take a lot of pride in it. I think Iowa people have a great sincerity and a great work ethic. There’s just a sense of pride about being from the state.
hawkeyesports.com: When you come into a program, how do you handle recruiting and other player issues?
Cindy Fredrick: That’s why I met first-thing with all the players individually. That gives me a chance to get to know them a little better, and it gives them a chance for them to get to know me. I think you first have to kind of help them get over their nervousness about a new coach coming in. What are they going to think? How are they going to do things? And that’s your job as a coach: to make them comfortable and make yourself comfortable with them as well. And then recruiting-wise, some of the recruiting is what you’re bringing with you and those you’ve already spoken to, and then the other part is finding out more about the kids in the area.
hawkeyesports.com: Do you hope to keep more high school players in the state?
Cindy Fredrick: I think that’s obviously the goal of all the programs at Iowa: to get the best kids and keep them in the state of Iowa and keep them at the University of Iowa. That has to be first and foremost your goal, and I think that’s something that the University of Iowa Athletic Department really stresses to you.
hawkeyesports.com: When you were named, Athletic Director Bowlsby said that your hire shows Iowa’s commitment to having a highly competitive volleyball team. How do you go about doing that?
Cindy Fredrick: It’s all in recruiting. It’s all in recruiting. Recruiting is the lifeblood of your program so the better you recruit the better your team is going to be. The more you recruit from your state, the more interest that brings into the arena. If you recruit a couple of the best kids from the state and you bring in a couple of kids from around the state, then you create a lot of interest within the state. I think the other thing is getting out into the community and getting people to know the coaches and players, which is a big part of it too. There has to be some community outreach to make your program successful.
“They’ve improved quite a bit this spring, and I think when they’re healthy the biggest thing will be turning around the attitude that they cannot win. I want to see that attitude change the most, because I was telling them today that one can lose but you don’t have to be a loser. That’s the biggest thing for me. They’ve lost a lot of games, but they’re not a bunch of losers. It’s around the corner. It’s there.”
Head Coach Cindy Fredrick on her new team
hawkeyesports.com: What are some of those programs you might want to see at Iowa?
Cindy Fredrick: We’ve done what we’ve called a “Little Spikers” program, where every home Saturday you bring in about 80 kids who’ve signed up and the players teach them volleyball. And at the last match of the year, they all perform for the crowd. We’ve done a lot of things like going out to the elementary schools and having the players talk to different classes. I’ve had my players involved with something called, “bring your clothes with a pair of hose,” which was a campus-wide effort to have women bring in professional type clothes that they no longer wore for a free ticket to the game. We donated those clothes to a women’s center in town for women who wanted to get back into the workforce. I would like to do some of those things here as well.
hawkeyesports.com: Does public service really mean a lot to you?
Cindy Fredrick: I think it has to. If you’re going to live somewhere, you have to be involved in the community. I was a co-chair for the school-bond levy in Pullman, and I just think that’s a big part of doing things.
hawkeyesports.com: Would you say you lead by example?
Cindy Fredrick: I suppose. I mean, I don’t really think about it. I just do what I think you should do, and try to teach my players that when you put your hand out, it isn’t always to take.
hawkeyesports.com: Are there any players on the team that you’re looking forward to working with, and how well do you know the team?
Cindy Fredrick: I think I’m looking forward to working with all them. After meeting with them, I wouldn’t want to single anyone out. I think it’s going to be fun working with all them, and it’s going to be fun to see them improve. They’ve improved quite a bit this spring, and I think when they’re healthy the biggest thing will be turning around the attitude that they cannot win. I want to see that attitude change the most, because I was telling them today that one can lose but you don’t have to be a loser. That’s the biggest thing for me. They’ve lost a lot of games, but they’re not a bunch of losers. It’s around the corner. It’s there.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com