SEYMOUR — Faith Wilder-Newland is ready to take Trinity Lutheran High School’s volleyball team to the next level.
Wilder-Newland, who was hired as head coach in December, said she plans to capitalize on the tradition of success at Trinity and on the assets the program has with top-quality athletes.
“There’s so many good athletes that I would love to see us contending for state titles,” she said before a meeting week with current players and incoming students interested in joining the team. “I think they’re capable of that, and I think with enough hard work and smart scouting and really taking advantage of our strengths, I think we can do that.”
Trinity’s program has a history of success, with seven sectional titles between 2010 and 2017 and three consecutive regional championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The team also captured the semistate in 2011 before falling in the Class A state championship against Wes-Del.
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Wilder-Newland comes with a long list of experience.
She most recently coached at the high school level when she was head coach for 24 years at Columbus East from 1991-2014. She won 14 sectional titles, 10 regional championships and a semistate in 1992. She won each sectional in her last seven years as coach and compiled an overall record of 639-196, a 76 percent winning percentage.
Wilder-Newland started her own club team in Columbus in 1999 and has developed players through that club.
She thought her days of coaching at the high school level were over until the job at Trinity opened up, and she was approached by several parents to look into heading the program.
“I was originally not looking into coaching at the high school level anymore,” she said. “I was sort of talked into it after parents had approached me, but I’m really excited about it and especially because it’s such a good group.”
Aaron Rudzinski, Trinity athletics director, said Wilder-Newland was a good fit for the program because of the level of experience she has.
“She has a lot of experience working with the youth and developing club programs,” Rudzinski said. “She’s well respected with a lot of experience, and a lot of our girls have experience playing for her.”
Knowing the caliber of athletes Wilder-Newland would have and the familiarity with the parents, kids, other coaches and faculty made it a pretty easy choice, she said. She has even coached several of the players through club volleyball.
“I look forward to working with the kids that are here,” she said. “I know a lot of the kids because we coached them in clubs, and I know them and their parents, and they’re really just a quality group of athletes.”
She feels the team has a lot of potential in the years to come.
“I know they are motivated and hardworking,” she said.
With other schools in the area having quality volleyball programs, Wilder-Newland said her interest raised when offered the job at Trinity.
After the meeting with current players and incoming students, Wilder-Newland said she plans to lay off of an offseason regimen until summer time. She said many on the team are multi-sport athletes and already play club volleyball in the offseason.
“Most of them do basketball, track, softball in addition to club ball,” she said.
By not pushing a rigorous offseason schedule, Wilder-Newland said she also won’t run the risk of burnout.
“I like them being multi-sport athletes, and I want them to enjoy volleyball, and when we take the court, we want to go hard and get the work in but have time to do other things,” she said.
Wilder-Newland’s experience in volleyball goes much beyond coaching. She played high school volleyball at Jennings County and played in college at Franklin.
During her years at Franklin, she met her husband, Dave Newland, who was a coach at East. She ended up getting a job as a teacher in 1986 at East, where she still teaches English today.
Her mother was a soccer coach when Wilder-Newland was growing up, and she remembers always being around the coaching environment.
“I think the bug has always been in me,” she said, adding she had coached camps during her college years. “I just sort of knew that’s what I wanted to get into, and plus, I just love this game.”
New Trinity Lutheran volleyball coach Faith Wilder-Newland’s background:
– Played three years varsity at Jennings County High School
— Played four years varsity at Franklin College
— Assistant coach at Columbus East from 1986-1990
— Head coach at Columbus East from 1991-2014
— Record of 639-196 (76 percent winning percentage)
— 14 sectional titles, 10 regional championships, 1992 semi state champions as head coach. Won a sectional in each of her last seven seasons as head coach.
— South Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2010; District 4 Coach of the Year in 1995
— Hoosier Hills Conference Coach of the Year: 1993-2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012
— Started the East Columbus Volleyball Club in 1999
— 2002 Jack Cramer Ideals of Athletic Competition Award winner