As her competitive volleyball career ended, Caitlin Staib-Lipinski began to consider coaching the sport.
Upon graduating from Bradley University in 2012, she sought a women’s assistant coach opening at Benedictine University with longtime head coach Jennifer Wildes.
“I grew up right down the street, so right out of college I went to [Wildes]. I felt lost without volleyball,” Staib-Lipinski said. “She hired me an hour later and 10 years later I’ve stuck with it. When you play for so long, you have a passion for it.”
Staib-Lipinski hopes to bring that wealth of playing and coaching experience as the new Riverside-Brookfield High School varsity girls volleyball head coach.
Hired in June, Staib-Lipinski held a Meet the Coach Night on June 15 at RBHS. She’s continued contact through RBHS’ two-week summer volleyball camp, which concluded late last month. The two sessions for rising seniors through freshmen and rising eighth through fourth graders drew about 160 players.
“I’m very excited. I grew up playing volleyball but at the technical level, so before I was even given the ball,” Staib-Lipinski said.
“I’m really excited to bring to the program the technical side of things. I developed a lot of knowledge from [Wildes] and just some things that I learned as a college player. I have a lot of background that I can’t wait to share with the girls.”
Recently, Staib-Lipinski again oversaw the Riverside Elementary School District 96 summer volleyball camp at Hauser Junior High in Riverside, where the eighth-grade special education teacher will begin her ninth school year. Besides being a Benedictine University assistant the past 10 seasons, she most recently has coached Hauser’s boys and Special Olympics volleyball teams.
“I’m really excited because between Hauser and RB, there’s going to be a really good connection,” Staib-Lipinski said.
Staib-Lipinski played four seasons for NCAA Division I Bradley University (2007-10) and was a three-year varsity player at Naperville Central, which included starting for the program’s first state championship team in 2005. She received extensive club volleyball training primarily with Sports Performance.
During her fifth year at Bradley, Staib-Lipinski completed her bachelor’s degree in special education. Done playing but still on scholarship, she was a volleyball practice player and worked at the Braves’ sports facilities.
“I had to know how to balance school and social life and volleyball and the recruiting process,” Staib-Lipinski said. “I said [at the RBHS camp] if you’re interested in the college recruiting process, come talk to me because I lived it.”
All three RBHS assistant coaches also are former players for the Bulldogs – new varsity assistant Amy Frey, Jennifer Lyon (junior varsity) and Kim Fitzgerald (freshmen).
Staib-Lipinski said her coaching philosophy has been shaped greatly by Wildes.
“She’s definitely a role model. Just the way she talks to the girls, she gains so much respect,” Staib-Lipinski said.
“My whole thing is taking one day at a time and one match at a time. Everyone’s on the team for some reason. My whole thing is to be ‘on the bus.’ If everyone’s on the bus and knows their role, there’s going to be success.”