Brooke Stahlberg returned to the dugout this season to take a place on the other side of the fence, where she coached the girls JV softball team. (Photos by Emily Burds)
Danylle Feuling tries a ball-handling trick on the same field she spent countless hours on throughout high school, showing that she hasn’t lost a step while coaching the JV girls soccer team this year.
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
Two of the newest additions to the Monticello High School coaching staff arent’t so new faces.
Danylle Feuling and Brooke Stahlberg, both 2012 MHS graduates, are now the youngest coaches on staff at the high school. Despite their age, they aren’t new to their respective sports programs in the least, where their talent and experience has been seen for years.
Feuling joined the MHS girl’s soccer coaching staff this year to work alongside her father as the new JV coach following former coach Anthony Weir’s leave. Weir, also an MHS alum, coached the girls soccer team for three years, also being one of Feuling’s coaches throughout her high school career and her senior year, where she was a captain.
Feuling said that after seeing both Weir and her father, Bruce Feuling coach, who were both big influences while she played, she knew that she wanted to continue her love of soccer with coaching, giving back to the program that took her in.
However the transition from player to coach has not been easy for either Feuling or her friend and former classmate Stahlberg Stahlberg, who stepped up to the plate to coach the JV softball team this season.
“It’s tough when you’ve played with these girls before and then they have to turn around and listen to you as a coach,” Stahlberg said. “That’s why I was really happy to be able to work with the younger girls, who are really just wanting to learn and improve. It’s not as intense and is a great learning environment.”
“It’s also tough to not want to be out there playing,” Feuling explained. “You’ve played with these girls before so you know what worked for you in the past but now you have a whole new roster and set up to try to make mesh and flow well.”
Stahlberg had been approached while playing her senior year by one of her coaches Andrea Janssen. Janssen, a Monticello alum herself who also came back to the softball program after participating in high school, thought Stahlberg would be perfect for the job and so she jumped at the chance to come back and work with a program that she has held so dear to her heart.
Both Feuling and Stahlberg had to attend a two-weekend certification course in order to obtain their coaching certificates to be legally able to coach. These certificates allow recipients to apply for coaching jobs anywhere in the state of Iowa. However both girls said they would not have even considered it if they couldn’t coach at Monticello.
“I don’t have a reason to coach anywhere else. It just wouldn’t feel right,” Feuling said.
“I’d feel like a traitor,” Stahlberg joked about the subject. All humor aside though, both young women agreed that they couldn’t see themselves anywhere else.
Their new journeys aren’t exactly unheard of around here. Feuling and Stahlberg are continuing a quite long-standing tradition of alumni coaching.
Looking at this past school year’s coaching staff alone, 15 besides Stahlberg and Feuling were alumni, including Donnie Kremer, Dan Sauser, Greg Williams, and Ryan Luensman and several of his staff; all who saw great success in their programs this year.
Looking at the numbers, it is safe to say that many of Monticello’s sports programs have been built on alumni, a trait that is not often found in many school systems today.
One other alumni coach says this is one of the things he loves about Monticello. Ryan Gullett, assistant boys baseball coach, moved with his family to Monticello for his sophomore year of high school. Despite not having grown up in the community, Gullett said he was eager to coach after his graduation with influence from his own coach, Mark Spensley.
“Monticello was a unique opportunity for me,” Gullett said. “I don’t think I would have turned down a coaching job somewhere else but I certainly wasn’t looking anywhere else.”
Gullett says that his connection and feel for the community and players and the size of the school was a big draw for him.
“Being a small town community, it’s been great to see people want to contribute,” Gullett explained, “Now adays we see so many small schools starting to consolidate but Monticello seems to continue to thrive and everyone always seems to find their way back.”
As for the future Gullett says he hopes to continue to coach for a long time to come and will have to wait and see what the future brings him. Although one thing is for certain to him, “I always say that if I ever win the lottery all I’m going to do is coach Monticello baseball.”