March 9, 2009
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sharon Dingman’s eyes get wide and her face beams whenever she talks about it.
“I love being at the University of Iowa,” says the newest member of the University of Iowa coaching staff with a wide and genuine smile. Dingman is preparing for her second season as the person in charge of the UI’s volleyball program. Her first season was successful by any measure: The Hawkeyes’ win totals of 14 overall and six against Big Ten Conference opponents was Iowa’s best in eight seasons.
Included among those totals were two matches of significance: Iowa opened the 2008 Big Ten season on Sept. 26 with a three-set sweep of Wisconsin, a nationally ranked team that had won the previous 26 matches with the Hawkeyes. About a month later, Iowa snapped an 18-match losing streak in road matches and a 39-match losing streak to Ohio State when the Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes in four sets.
Dingman also points fondly to a five-game victory over Northwestern but not because it pushed her career win total to 350.
“It was a five-set comeback win. Our team’s toughness showed in that fifth set. That was a true sign that we were growing as a team, growing as a program,” she said.
There is little question that the program will continue to prosper under Dingman’s direction. With 25 years of coaching experience in collegiate volleyball, Iowa’s head coach knows what it takes to be a champion. And, a significant part of the plan is the facilities her student-athletes train, practice and compete in.
And that’s why the planned revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the iconic 26-year-old home of the UI’s volleyball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball programs, is so important to Dingman, her staff, and student-athletes – both current and future.
“One of the things that is so wonderful about working at the University of Iowa is number of unbelievably talented student-athletes we have in our programs. I can’t imagine how successful and how inspiring we can be when we have a facility that allows more than one team to practice at a time,” Dingman said.
Dingman also notes that the addition of a practice facility is just one important piece of the renovation plan. Another is a state-of-the-art strength training and condition area.
“To have a space large enough to accommodate more than one team at a time is exciting. Imagine what can happen when world-class athletes in one sport, field hockey or wrestling or men’s basketball or women’s basketball, for example, have the opportunity to work out with athletes from another. It can’t help but be incredibly motivating, incredibly powerful.”
“One of the things that is so wonderful about working at the University of Iowa is number of unbelievably talented student-athletes we have in our programs. I can’t imagine how successful and how inspiring we can be when we have a facility that allows more than one team to practice at a time.”
The creation of new space and larger space also offers flexibility that doesn’t exist currently for many of the UI’s sports programs including Dingman’s.
“Imagine the positive impact on the academic side of our responsibility to our student-athletes if we are able to schedule our practices at times that are a better fit for them,” she said.
“The most important people in my life are wearing the Hawkeye uniform,” Dingman continued. “The next most are those who we want to have in a Hawkeye uniform.”
Recruiting. It’s the life-blood of every intercollegiate athletics program. The revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena will also have a significant impact on Dingman’s ability to successfully compete for student-athletes who have the skill and desire to be successful athletes and students at the UI.
“The challenges are great. However, another of the many reasons I love the University of Iowa is the people I work with and the people who love the institution as much as I do. Together, we’ll make this important project happen.”
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the plans to revitalize Carver-Hawkeye Arena, or to make a gift or a pledge to this important effort, click HERE or call Darryl Borcherding, Director of Development -Intercollegiate Athletics, at the UI Foundation, (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6943. You can also reach Darryl by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.