Women’s tennis boasts new coach
Katie Dougherty has always wanted to be a head coach in the Big Ten.
She got her wish at Iowa. Now, she’s hoping to make the most of it.
Her résumé is filled with experience from Big Ten schools — she served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Wisconsin — where, years before, she was also a nationally ranked doubles player — and assistant coach at Penn State. She’s also coached at American University.
“Being in the Big Ten for so long, I always liked coming here,” said Dougherty, an Ellicott City, Md., native. “I liked playing here. I always liked the feel of the town. I think it’s a great Big Ten school; the academics are fantastic. Now with a brand new facility, I think it has the pieces in place to build a fantastic tennis program.”
Serving as recruiting coordinator the past two seasons, Dougherty received national recognition and votes for a top 25 recruiting class.
“This has been my plan since I got into coaching. I feel very fortunate that I got this job when I did,” she said. “Getting a job in the Big Ten is like a dream come true for me.”
Recruiting is an integral part of a successful college tennis program, and Dougherty knows this firsthand.
The new coach said a lot of the Big Ten schools recruit the same prospective players. Therefore, a school must be substantially more selective.
“It’s finding the right fit,” she said. “The kid who’s going to be OK in this climate, who’s going to do well academically in a high-level school such as this, and someone who’s going to help the team.
“I’m hoping to put us back in the top 25. It’s going to be a process, but competing for Big Ten championships and being ranked in the top 25 in the nation is always going to be the goal.”
Dougherty has only had a few days with the team, but she lauded the players’ attitude and work ethic thus far.
“The young women are doing everything I’m asking and more right now,” she said. “It’s tough when you have a new coach. They hadn’t had a female coach before. They’re doing a great job of holding up their end of the bargain, and hopefully, they’re enjoying themselves.”
Junior Lynne Poggensee-Wei said she’s relieved the search for a new head coach is over.
The junior said it’s only been a few days, but she can already notice a difference.
“I think so far everything is going well,” she said. “She’s really positive and high energy. I think it’s a great change for our team, and change is whatever you make of it.”
The Hawkeyes will also continue to see a familiar face on the staff in assistant coach Mira Radu, who Dougherty praised for keeping the team focused.
Radu is excited to have Dougherty on board.
“We are thrilled to have her here,” she said. “The girls are excited, and I’m excited. She’s bringing a positive energy to the team and to the program. I think it’s going to be great for years to come.
“Now, I think things are starting to fall into place, and we’re going to be able to focus on the goal of playing good tennis and winning matches.”
Dougherty said she enjoys Iowa City.
“I don’t think I’ve met nicer people,” she said. “Honestly. The way I’ve been embraced by the athletics department and around town has been unbelievable. The people are fantastic.”
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