Speech team looking for coach
Despite having six seniors graduate last year, Minneota Speech Coach Kim Gades refuses to use the word "rebuild" when referring to the upcoming season.
Taking a line that many professional coaches use when describing a season with a lot of young faces, Gades said "Others rebuild, we reload".
With only one senior on the team for now, the speech team will face challenges of maturing quickly. But there is also another stabilizing force that won't be with the team this year. Amanda Engels, who has been a coach with Gades since they began nine years ago, has decided to step down because of a busy schedule.
Engels assists her husband, John, in his law office in Minneota and a new office that recently opened in Hendricks.
"The kids deserve a coaching team that can dedicate a couple hours daily and that was getting difficult," said Engels. "Now, if I drive back from Hendricks to Minneota, I would be missing even more office time. Winter driving is not one of my favorite things but when I was in Minneota full time I could walk to school if necessary."
Engels still tries to stay involved with the speech team.
"I still love the kids and occasionally send Kim an e-mail regarding something that I think would be a good speech," Engels said. "I still read the coaching e-mails and have tried to stay current on the changes facing the kids and coaches this year with COVID safety precautions, but competition will be drastically different this year. I have very fond memories of the team and will cherish the successes we achieved in practice and in competition."
Gades said the team has benefitted greatly by having Engels as one of the coaches.
"She is a good friend and the speech program wouldn't be where it is now without Amanda," said Gades. "It's a huge loss for the program."
The school is seeking an assistant speech coach to help Gades, a two-time Section 3A Coach of the Year, this season.
"We need someone who is detail-oriented, dedicated, willing to put in some time, and have some type of speech background," said Gades. "Amanda had all those qualities."
The speech team will begin practice in a couple of weeks and will begin the season in early February.