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Former UI field-hockey players back as coaches

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | AUGUST 21, 2009 7:07 AM

While neither woman will appear in the Hawkeyes’ stat sheet for the first time since the 2003 season, former field-hockey standouts Caroline Blaum and Lauren Pfeiffer aren’t done etching their mark on the Iowa program.

In July, head coach Tracey Griesbaum announced Blaum would return to the team as an assistant coach, and on Aug. 12, the coach announced Pfeiffer would do the same — rejoin the team as a volunteer assistant.

On Wednesday at Iowa’s media day, Griesbaum lauded the addition of both new coaches as “only a positive.”

“It helps a ton,” she said. “[Blaum and Pfeiffer] just got done with their playing careers in November. They know the ropes. They know the team. They know my expectations. They know how we play for the most part, although we’re putting in some new things.”

It’s hard to imagine that Griesbaum could have chosen two women more qualified than Pfeiffer and Blaum to join former three-time All-American goalkeeper Lisa Cellucci, who is now entering her 10th season as a Hawkeye assistant. Blaum and Pfeiffer aren’t lacking in credentials either.

Blaum, a four-time team captain, started all 83 career games while at Iowa. She dished out 15 assists on her way to earning National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association All-American status in her senior campaign last fall.

Pfeiffer capped her career by scoring 20 goals and earning her second straight coaches’ association All-American selection in ’08. Pfeiffer’s 53 career goals ranks her ninth among Iowa’s all-time scoring leaders.

Both new coaches agree with Griesbaum that their recent experience in the same program will help them make have an immediate effect.

“I feel like it’s a benefit that I’ve just come out of [program],” Blaum said. “I understand the values, and I understand what Tracey and Lisa are trying to do and how that makes you feel as a student-athlete, so I feel like I can definitely relate to them.”

Some athletes may talk about their coaches being able to relate to them, but with Blaum and Pfeiffer, it’s taken to another level. Not even a year ago, they were teammates with half of the current roster.

Now, it’s a unique dynamic.

“I thought it was going to be very difficult because I’m very close with the girls,” Pfeiffer said. “But so far, it seems like it’s been a smooth transition. I feel like I’m starting to figure that role out.”

It may be a new and challenging experience, but it’s one both coaches have embraced.

“There are moments where I have to stand and critique and see hockey in a different light,” Blaum said. “It’s definitely different. I don’t know how I’m going to keep myself on one side of the gold line, but I’ll do my best — it’s not something I’m used to.”


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