Mitch McGuire has coached volleyball all over the state of Minnesota. After nearly a decade of being an assistant, he took his first head coaching job with the Osakis volleyball team this fall.

“I’ve shadowed varsity head coaches for years,” McGuire said. “I spent a lot of time learning the role, dealing with parents and finding out what drills and approaches are best for the team I have. I felt like I was ready for that next step.”

McGuire takes over for Kirsten Wessel, who stepped down from her longtime role as the head coach after last season. The Silverstreaks were 16-13 overall in 2018 and won two matches in the Section 5A Tournament.

McGuire has coached at the high school level in Little Falls, St. Michael-Albertville, Lac qui Parle Valley and Alexandria. He has also coached at the Kandi Elite Volleyball Club in Willmar.

“Working with those elite athletes has helped me broaden my skill set,” McGuire said. “It helped me know what I should be looking for from my team. In all of my years of coaching, I have been an assistant. Working with them has made this transition easier.”

Even though McGuire never had the opportunity to play in high school, he was still able to create opportunities for himself.

“I went to college at the U of M in Morris and I played on the men’s team. It was the first time I played competitively,” McGuire said. “I was the setter for four years there. I had really good hands when I first started, so I was able to set right away. In high school, I was really involved with the volleyball team and would play a lot in the summers.”

McGuire looks to build on a winning season from 2018. He knows the path to being a consistent contender is long, but he believes he’s taking the steps to get there.

“The goal is to have a winning record,” McGuire said. “In the past, Osakis has always lost in the (early) rounds of sections. We want to get past that first round. When I first came in this summer I posted a three-day camp and it’s helped them get that head start to understand my expectations and where I see the direction of this team heading.”

McGuire said his coaching style is about building relationships with the players, parents and fans.

“What I bring to this team are enthusiasm and positive communication,” McGuire said. “We are always connecting with student-athletes. We are getting down to their level and explaining why we do a drill and how it relates to a game situation. When that situation does happen in a game, we then tell the athlete, ‘This is why we do that drill.’”

As the days wind down to the first match of the season at the Albany Tournament on Aug. 23, McGuire is beginning to see what kind of team he will put on the floor.

“We have a large range of athletes,” McGuire said. “We have some young girls that we see a lot of leadership in. We have some really good players returning, and I believe that we have a really well-rounded group.”