Fall of 2014 will see the beginning of the Malerie Hertzler era at the helm of the Pratt High School volleyball program.

Fall of 2014 will see the beginning of the Malerie Hertzler era at the helm of the Pratt High School volleyball program. Hertzler replaces Shelby Nesbit who moved on after one season as head coach of the Lady Greenbacks.

Hertzler grew up in Hesston and Halstead, graduating from Halstead High School in 2008. She then attended Hesston College for two years playing volleyball before finishing her Bachelors Degree at Bethel College where she played volleyball and was on the track and field squad as well.

Hertzler’s father taught for over a dozen years at Halstead before recently moving to northeast Kansas. It was he who encouraged her to go into education, according to Hertzler. “I wasn’t too sure what I was going to pursue after high school,” she said. “I fell in love with education while I was in college. I found I enjoy being around the kids.”

Her first coaching job was at Hesston College where she served for two years as an assistant under Jessica Cleveland. With that experience under her belt, Hertzler felt that it was time for her to start her own program, and when the opportunity at Pratt came open, she was ready for it.

“It feels right,” she said. “I already feel at home. I feel like the Lord sent me.”

Faith plays a big role in Hertzler’s life. She just recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. “The mission trip was already planned when the job at Pratt came through,” she mentioned. “It just happened to work out that it was scheduled for the weeks when KSHSAA says coaches can’t be with their kids— so it worked out great!”

Through the auspices of Kingdom Life Church in Hesston and Haiti LifeLine Ministries, Hertzler spent almost two weeks teaching Vacation Bible School to 967 Haitian youngsters. “I grew up in the church,” she explained. “Going on a mission trip was just something I always wanted to do.”

As far as coaching approach, Hertzler said she tries to be the same person every day so kids know what to expect. “I like to give them that stability,” she said. “They will work harder for you if they feel comfortable.”

“I like to have fun,” she continued. “We do little games in practice to keep the kids into it while still focusing on our skills.”

“Of course,” she added, “the kids are going to find out they do have to do some running in practice, too!”

Hertzler is excited to start the season. Although only a couple of starters return, Hertzler does not see that as a negative. “It’s good in a way,” she said, “because it’s almost like having a new team. I don’t have to worry about everyone saying ‘but this is how our other coach did it.’”

Hertzler has been pleased with what she has seen so far in Lady Green’s attitude and work ethic. She is looking forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that has been Pratt High volleyball.