IOWA CITY — Bond Shymansky hopes to use his background to his advantage as the new University of Iowa volleyball coach.
“Always have been, always will be a Hawkeye,” Shymansky said Monday after being introduced as Iowa’s ninth coach. “That’s just the way it is. You know, you grow up here, and it just becomes a part of who you are. It’s a part of your fabric.”
An Iowa City native and Iowa alum, Shymansky spent seven seasons as the head coach at Georgia Tech (2002-09) and then, most recently, five seasons (2009-13) as head coach at Marquette.
A two-time Big East Conference and Regional Coach of the Year, Shymansky led Marquette to its first NCAA appearance and NCAA victory in 2011, and to its first Big East regular season and tournament championship in 2013.
“When we were looking in Bond’s case, we found something that I often look for,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said. “I appreciate if I can find it, and that’s someone who started this business at the high school level, because then I know they are passionate about the game more so than the fame that comes with getting to this level.”
Shymansky started coaching volleyball at Iowa City West for the ninth grade B team and later coached at Iowa City High and Regina before moving to the collegiate level.
Shymansky’s name had been mentioned in previous coaching searches at Iowa.
“Timing is everything,” Shymansky said, “and there was a point where Gary and I talked a little bit the last go around, and it just didn’t seem like exactly right timing. I still had some things to grow and learn and do as a coach, and I now feel like I’m ready for that.”
Shymansky said the volleyball talent in Iowa is superb and he plans to build his program around those athletes.
“We are going to find the talent that’s here,” Shymansky said. “It’s not a warning, it’s a promise, that we’re going to go after those kids, and we’re going to show them the best that Iowa volleyball is and can be, and we’re going to ask them to buy into that vision.”
He acknowledges beating in-state rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa for those recruits will be difficult, but he’s ready for that challenge.
“I have a ton of respect for those coaches at those institutions, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to lay down and just kind of let them roll over us,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to get the same kids that they are after, and we’re going to find a way to get it done.”
While recruiting is a big part of Shymansky’s plan, the talent and work ethic he will be inheriting on Iowa’s roster has impressed him.
“I’ve had a chance to meet face to face with several of them and talk to all of them on the phone, and you can just hear the excitement,” Shymansky said. “You feel the energy that they have and the desire that they have to be great.”
“He is going to have something that we can all buy into and believe in,” said junior Alessandra Dietz, the Hawkeyes’ lead blocker last season. “He has that attitude where he is ready to make something happen and I’m really excited about it.”