Austin grad returns to coach in the Big Nine

Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

After nearly a decade away from the Big Nine Conference, Austin grad Nichelle Guillaume made her return to the conference she once played in.

Guillaume recently completed her first season as the head varsity volleyball coach at Rochester Century, where she led the Panthers to a record of 24-7 overall. Century’s season came to an end when it lost to Lakeville North in three games Oct. 31.

Guillaume, who graduated from AHS in 2009, was a standout setter for the Packers and she went on to play college volleyball Minnesota Morris before she got in to coaching.

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Guillaume has been hooked on volleyball ever since her days in Austin and she was thrilled when she was hired as Century head coach just two weeks before this season began.

“I couldn’t really imagine a fall without volleyball. I would be completely lost if I wasn’t coaching volleyball,” Guillaume she said. “It’s fun that we get to give back to a sport that I fell in love with so long ago.”

Guillaume coached some high level talent at Century as middle hitter Nicole Lauren has committed to play Division I volleyball at Illinois State. Guillaume had coached at Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau in Wisconsin, Caledonia and Mabel-Canton in past years.

“I learned a lot from Lonnie Morken at Mabel-Canton. He taught me a lot about the importance of defense,” Guillaume said.

While Century didn’t make the trip to Austin this year, the Panthers did beat the Packers in three games in their regular season finale in Rochester. Guillaume said it was a strange feeling coaching against the team she used to play for.

“It’s been kind of bittersweet. I’m excited to be back coaching in a bigger school, but coaching against Austin was kind of surreal since I used to play there,” she said. “When you see them in those Austin jerseys on the other side, it still feels like family a little bit. There’s always going to be a little bit of Packer in my heart. This is the place where I fell in love with volleyball.”