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Showing Love Through Coaching

November 21, 2017
By Deb Daley

“Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.” - Eddy Robinson

Those words summarize why six Mercy alumnae are using their skills to help coach sports teams at the school. They want to show their love to a community that gave them so much and helped them be the women they are today. Their backgrounds are different as night and day but their commitment to Mercy brings them together.

Becky Slater ’08 had two older sisters attend Mercy and their stories made her want to attend the school. She was a class representative, in National Honor Society and also played basketball and soccer while she went to school there. She played soccer at Nebraska Wesleyan but eventually got her degree in International Studies/Business and Spanish from University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has been a volunteer Assistant Coach for Junior Varsity/Varsity Soccer for the past four years.

“I decided to come back to Mercy to coach because I wanted to give back to the school that taught me so much and helped me become the woman that I am today,” she said.

She feels the warm and welcoming environment makes Mercy unique.

“The young women who attend Mercy are able to be themselves, try new things and think outside the box without worrying what others might think,” she added.

Also providing coaching talents to soccer is Katy Butts ’03, who also serves as the school’s Alumnae Relations Director and Events Manager. While at Mercy she was a member of Student Council, Student Ambassadors, and National Honor Society (NHS). She played basketball her freshman year and soccer for four years.

“My best memories of high school are of soccer. I love this game and I love being able to share the tradition of Mercy soccer with new Mercy girls,” she added.

Katy feels that the people who work here, the students who go to Mercy and that the Sisters of Mercy who keep the mission of Catherine McAuley alive in the school, make it special.

Amy Slater Friesner ’10 wanted to give back to the community that made such a large impact on her life. She became the Junior Varsity Soccer Coach.

“I am very passionate about the importance of athletics, particularly for young women, because of my experience at Mercy,” she said.

As a young girl she spent a lot of time around Mercy girls; her three older sisters went to Mercy. She always looked forward to becoming a Mercy girl.

While at the school, she was involved in soccer, NHS, Pro-Life Club, played a year of basketball and was a member of MESS (Monarchs Encouraging School Spirit) Club.

She graduated from UNO with a degree in Political Science in 2014 and played intramural soccer and flag football while there.

“Mercy feels like home because the community is so loving and caring. The many traditions and small class sizes help you to really get to know your teachers and classmates,” she added.

Sarah Clapp ’08 has volunteered for four seasons on the Varsity Soccer Team. The oncology nurse at Nebraska Medicine’s Buffett Cancer Center finds the time to help others experience the love of the game.

“My sister Emma was a senior on the team the first year I volunteered. Initially it was more about sharing those memories with her. After she graduated, I realized it was more about the love of the game, the team and the Mercy spirit that helped me continue coaching for the Monarchs,” she said.

She went to Holy Cross Grade School and decided to go across the street for high school. She played soccer all four years and went on to St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She played Division 2 Soccer while there and earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology. She moved back to Omaha and eventually received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Clarkson College.

When asked what makes Mercy so special she said, “There isn’t a way to describe it—I think that’s where the beauty is.”

Lending her talents this year as Varsity Volleyball Coach is Molly Dougherty Rose ’07. She coached high school volleyball in Michigan for two years and has been coaching youth camps and clinics for the last three years.

While here she was active in volleyball, basketball, Student Council, choir and participated in one year of track.

“Playing sports at Mercy was a big part of my growth and maturing process and I wanted to help other Mercy students grow in the same way. Learning to take risks, compete and accept and embrace your role on a team are some of the best lessons sports can teach us,” she said.

She attended William of the Woods University, Fulton, Missouri and studied English. She also played in college from 2007-2010. Although she is a stay-at-home mom with two kids, she is pursing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from UNO.

When asked about why Mercy is so special she said, “Mercy has an atmosphere of kindness, acceptance and genuine concern for others. Students are free to be true to themselves and that is extremely valuable,” she added.

Although she is a Project Environmental Engineer at Union Pacific Railroad, Nicole Lenczowksi ’06 also has a passion for basketball. She has coached in various capacities since 2006. She has been the Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach for four seasons.

She decided to attend Mercy because of her sister Kristin’03. She enjoyed going to her sibling’s volleyball and basketball games while she was in middle school.

While at Mercy she participated in Cross Country, Basketball and Track-and-Field all four years. She also was a class officer, Student Ambassador, a student athletic trainer and a member of Pastoral Council.

“High school sports are so much more than just the game; they provide a unique opportunity for the girls to learn life lessons and develop character skills, including responsibility, respect, leadership, communication, positive attitude, and hard work ethic. I enjoy being a part of teaching those skills, as well as sharing my love of basketball with the girls in the basketball program, “she added.

Nicole attended UNO and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

She got involved in coaching at Mercy because the head coach asked if she would volunteer to help.

“I have continued to coach over the past 11 years because I love the sport of basketball and coaching has become a passion for me. My day job is a lot different than coaching, and I have had to adapt and learn from the challenges that coaching presents. I have learned a lot about myself and how to be a positive influence, as well as a teacher. As a professional woman, I have always strived to be a role model for the players,” she said.

When asked what is special about Mercy, she said, “I have always loved the spirit of Mercy, and I love seeing the girls’ enthusiasm to compete and be successful,” she said.