Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Seniors bid farewell to team, Duerst

For the women’s soccer team Dean Duerst is more than just a head coach.

As six seniors — Shelby Johnson, Kelly Kundert, Wynter Pero, Natalie Roedler, Allie Rogosheske and Jodi Zilinksi — prepare themselves for graduation and life away from the sport they fell in love with years ago, they will never forget the lessons learned from their head coach.

Duerst does not fall into the category of being merely an athletic coach. He is also a teacher and a friend. And although his team ended the season at the bottom of the Big Ten heap, he can rest assured that his wisdom has prevailed with the departing seniors.

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“He’s been a great person,” said senior goalkeeper Zilinski. “He’s more than just a coach; he’s our friend. His door is always open, especially in a tough season like this. We’ve all been very lucky to have him as a coach.”

Even in the face of adversity Duerst has somehow managed to make the season experience special for every senior player. On Senior Day, versus then-18th-ranked Marquette, Duerst started all six seniors, including Zilinski, who had previously seen action in only one game, and Johnson, whose senior campaign has been quiet. The Marquette game on Oct. 28 only added to the illustrious memories of the seniors’ careers.

“They’ve had some great experiences here,” Duerst said. “There’s a lot to it besides the games and the results.”

Duerst is also wise enough to know that there is more to life than sports. He makes it a point to single out the moments that can teach the team a lesson outside the realm of athletic competition.

“[This season we’ve had] situations that you will face in life: adversity,” said Duerst. “It’s something in which you just have to grow from and use it as experience. One of the great things about this university is that on and off the field [the team] becomes friends.”

Rogosheske echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“[I’ll miss] playing with a group of people who are not only your teammates but also your friends,” Rogosheske said.

Over Rogosheske’s four years with the team she has seen Duerst in moments of victory and defeat, highs and lows and has gained only more respect for her coach.

“Dean is not only a great coach but a great person,” Rogosheske said. “He’s just a really good representation of our whole program and [UW] in general.”

Duerst has kept his squad from getting down on itself throughout the season, trying always to find the silver lining in what was an utmost torturous year.

“He’s been really supportive,” Roedler said. “He’s always looking out for the best.”

In practice Duerst doesn’t play your typical coaching role. Depending on the day, a passerby could spot the coach running around in scrimmages or drills. And as the weeks of the season dwindled down, Duerst changed the format of his practices to make for an atmosphere that was more team-oriented.

“[Duerst] presents a fun aspect; he’s lighthearted, but he gets serious as well,” Johnson said. “[Dean] has been a good leader for the team.”

Keeping with his leadership role, Duerst made sure that his seniors could say their farewells. During their last weekend of play, Duerst elected to bring the entire team for one last bonding experience. The move was atypical from every other road trip of the season, which brought only the necessary starters and substitutes.

Not only did the Badgers bring the entire team on the trip, they had one final dinner at their teammate’s home before their departure for Illinois and Missouri.

“It just makes it a little more special,” said Duerst.

Echoes of praise follow Duerst with every senior holding him in high regard.

“He’s been a good coach,” Pero said.

But perhaps Kundert puts it best for the departing seniors.

“I’ll miss [him] a lot.

It will not be only the six departing seniors who will have a newfound absence in their lives. Duerst will also feel the void left by the seniors.

“They’re pretty unique people,” Duerst said. “They’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of effort in our program. They are special people. They’ll be special people as alumni now.”

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