Peschong named new MHS volleyball coach
The footsteps laid out in front of Kaylee (Smith) Peschong represent a path her mother has already traversed and one she never envisioned for herself.
Yet on Tuesday, Marshalltown High School announced that Peschong had been hired as the Bobcats’ new head volleyball coach, taking yet another step in the same direction her mother once ventured.
Peschong is a 2017 graduate of Texas Christian University, where she was a three-year starter at setter after transferring from the University of Iowa. She is also the wife of 2008 Marshalltown High School graduate Tyler Peschong, who played collegiate football and basketball at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn.
“We’re extremely excited about Kaylee taking over the helm of our volleyball program,” said MHS athletic director Ryan Isgrig. “Her past playing and coaching experiences as well as her vision of team culture and leadership will fit perfectly at MHS.”
Kaylee, Tyler and their young son Leon, who currently reside in Omaha, Neb., have begun the process of a move back home for Tyler and a move up the volleyball coaching ranks for Kaylee.
“We’re so excited to be heading back to Marshalltown,” she said. “I’ve been coaching club volleyball the last three years, my mom coached for the last 30 years, and volleyball has always been in my blood so it’s just kind of crazy the timing of everything and how it all worked out.”
Kaylee was a four-time all-conference setter at Indianola, where her mom Lana (Kuiper) Smith coached for nine seasons (1990-1998) before taking the reins at Simpson College for the last 21 years. She was the winningest coach in Simpson history, with 343 wins, before her tenure ended this spring.
Kaylee’s playing career continued at Iowa, where her mother still ranks among the Hawkeyes’ all-time leaders in blocks, aces and kills. After one season as Iowa’s starting setter, Kaylee transferred to TCU and started all three seasons in Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice during her career.
“Every position carries a different role and the setter is the extension of the coach on the court, kind of like the quarterback, and I think as a setter you kind of have that coaching instinct just from that,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy, all of my coaches as a player always thought I would be a coach and I was always like ‘no way I’m going to follow in my mom’s footsteps.’ But I helped with camps through college and I loved it, so here I am following in my mom’s footsteps.”
And though she seems to be on the same career path as her mother, Kaylee said her competitive drive and desire to establish a high cultural standard will win out over the need to live up to her mother’s career achievements as a volleyball coach.
“I feel like I’ve just always wanted to be great at whatever I’m doing, it’s something that has been that natural athlete’s instinct and that competitive edge,” Kaylee said. “I definitely have that competitive side that she gave me, and I’m super excited to be coaching in the CIML (Central Iowa Metropolitan League). It’s the conference I’m most comfortable with and it’s also probably the best conference in the state.”
Kaylee will fill the coaching void left by Bobcat alum Chris Brees, who returned to the head coaching position at Marshalltown Community College after five years at his alma mater.
“The volleyball community in Iowa is very small, I knew Chris Brees just from playing in the state and when he resigned I saw that job come open and I double-checked and said ‘is this really going on? I’d really love to go for this [position].”
While in high school, Kaylee played in Marshalltown’s Pat Apgar Invitational all four years, and as a golfer for the Indianola Indians she remembers annual visits to the American Legion Memorial Golf Course for various CIML meets as well as regional tournaments. She also played club volleyball alongside Lauren (Mazour) Kluver.
“I can’t wait to give back to Marshalltown,” Kaylee said. “It’s crazy how the timing works.”
She has already met MHS assistant coaches Scott Ranck and Adam Edgington and has collaborated with them to establish a plan to proceed with offseason workouts, which were allowed to begin on Wednesday.
“I’m hoping to be as involved as I can, I’ve talked with our assistants on expectations and what we want to accomplish in these next couple weeks while we’re in the process of the move,” Kaylee said. “I’m really excited to get the girls in the gym and get a lot of touches. There’s a lot of policies in place so that we can stay safe, so we’ll have to navigate what all that looks like.
“We’re being flexible and taking it in stride. I think Marshalltown has done a good job of keeping the athletes safe this summer. Our athletes wear masks in the dugouts and buses and that’s not mandatory in the CIML, that’s Marshalltown taking those precautions.”