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Drake bringing experience to Hawkeyes

BY DANNY PAYNE | OCTOBER 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Jess Barnett knew Sarah Drake would be a good coach based on the experience practicing with in their four years at Iowa.

“If you ask her, she would probably say the same thing — she and I hated each other at practice because we were always so competitive,” Barnett said.

Drake was a mainstay in the Hawkeye lineup in her four years while playing for the field-hockey team. This season, Drake moved into the role of undergraduate assistant with the team.

Head coach Tracey Griesbaum said the decision to bring her on the coaching staff was a no-brainer because of the way she was as a student-athlete.

“She’s just a worker,” the 14-year head coach said. “She’s all kinds of hustle and tries to make the most of every situation.”

As Barnett, a two-time All-American at Iowa, referred to, her former teammate’s competitive nature has allowed her to give the current Hawkeyes a boost whenever they may need one at practice.

Drake’s role as an undergraduate assistant doesn’t include making lineup decisions or as much of the “behind the scenes” aspect as the full-time coaches. Instead, she uses her experience to push the team and give advice to anyone who needs it.

As far as Drake’s attitudes toward coaching at Iowa go, she said it has been somewhat of a challenge to transition from the field to the sidelines because she is so close in age to the current players and played with the majority of them.

“If I had transitioned to coaching in different school, it would be a little bit easier, just because I’ve played with a lot of these girls,” Drake said.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., native said she enjoys coaching more than playing, and it can be a strange feeling to not be on the pitch with her former teammates.

“It’s kind of weird to warm up the goalkeepers before the game and then come up and sit up in the stands, because I’ve never done that,” she said. “I’ve never been in a position where I’ve done a lot of watching.”

As far as the future goes for Drake, she is unsure if she will pursue another opportunity to play or continue on coaching field hockey. The three-time All-Big Ten selection said she would enjoy coaching and would be a good coach.

However, she thinks she would need playing experience at a higher level to get a college coaching position. For Drake, that opportunity may come in the land Down Under.

“I’m considering going abroad and playing in Australia. The season starts in April, so I’m just trying to figure out if I can get a spot on a team over there,” Drake said. “That’s definintely an option; that’s something I want to do, but I also want to go to law school, so it’s kind of pick and choose.”

While Drake weighs her options, Barnett said it is no surprise that her former teammate is doing well in her new role with the Hawkeyes.

“She was just very consistent in terms of trying to make her teammates better,” Barnett said. “So I think that is definintely something that probably transfers over well — she’s there helping the girls trying to make them better every day.”


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