Making the switch: Former Hayfield volleyball coach takes over Austin’s program

Published 7:43 pm Thursday, August 19, 2021

When he was the head volleyball coach at Hayfield, Jeremy Struck made a habit out of beating the Austin Packers.

After eight years with the Vikings, Struck is ready to help the Pack. Struck is the new head coach for Austin, making him the third coach in three seasons as he takes over for interim coach Jamie Mauseth, who replaced former coach Lauren Cost in 2020.

“Austin is a very familiar place and I told the (Austin) girls how we felt about them coming from Hayfield. That stigma needs to change and we need to be a force in the Big Nine,” Struck said. “We can’t be an easy out and we’re going to challenge you. We may not win all of the time, but we’re going to challenge you.”

Struck led Hayfield to a winning record in every season he coached them and the Vikings were one win away from the state tournament when they lost to Caledonia in four games in the Section 1A title match in 2016.

So far, he’s shown that he is committed to building a program in Austin.

“You can tell he wants to be here for a long time, and you can tell he wants to build a program,” Austin senior Mallory Brown said. “We just have to work as a team and we have to get used to Jeremy’s coaching techniques, because they are different from Lauren and Jamie’s.”

Austin has 60 girls out for volleyball this fall, which is double the number that Hayfield would have in a given season. Struck is hoping to keep those numbers growing and he’d like to see the program score some big victories.

“It’s a new opportunity at a bigger school with a lot of athletes. We’re looking to put some excitement into the volleyball community of Austin. It’s kind of been a roller coaster for a few years. We want to build a program here,” Struck said. “We have athletes, we just need to access their potential with a little encouragement and guidance. Some of these kids have had three coaches in three years and they need some consistency.”

Austin senior Kennedy Bell said the whole team is adjusting to Struck’s style and the Packers are ready to compete in a season where they’re hoping they won’t have to worry about masks or social distancing.

“It’s been pretty smooth so far,” Bell said. “It’s exciting knowing that we might have more fans and more energy than we had last year.”

Austin will open its season when it hosts Mankato East at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 27.