Tracy Rietzke has served as a pillar of success and consistency for nearly three decades in the Rockhurst University athletic department.
It started in 1988 with the women’s basketball team, which went on to win 206 of its 251 games with Rietzke at the reins and advance to five NAIA Tournaments.
It has continued with the volleyball team, which he now gets to coach in its first NCAA quarterfinals appearance at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The Hawks will face Western Washington University in Tampa, Fla.
And to make the ride even more exciting, he gets to bring his daughters, Morgan and Kylie.
The junior and senior serve as an outside hitter and a setter for the Hawks, respectively.
“This is pretty exciting,” the coach said. “We’re making history.”
Riezke said the coaches have tried to keep the attention off the record books, but the team is still aware.
The Hawks are now 34-3 with a three-game winning streak in the NCAA Midwest Regional. Two of the last three victories have come in five sets, which Rietzke said is a benefit. Their last opponent, Ferris State University, was ranked second in the country and had beaten the Hawks 3-0 earlier in the season. The Hawks are currently seventh.
“We beat them on their court, which is quite a task,” Rietzke said. “You try to use that as a springboard into the Elite Eight and try to connect the dots.”
Rockhurst is led by a trio of All-Americans in Preecy Seever, Whitney Kostal and Morgan Rietzke. Seever was a first-team selection, ranking first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with a .386 hitting percentage, and 1.44 blocks per set. Kostal and Rietzke were honorable mentions.