Apr 28, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorFor more than a decade, Tiffany Stauffenberg has patrolled the sidelines as the Central Wyoming College head volleyball coach.
Stauffenberg has chosen to leave the program, stepping down after 11 seasons as either assistant, associate or head coach of the Lady Rustlers.
According to Stauffenberg, a Riverton native, it was primarily a family-driven decision, albeit not an easy one.
"This was really a tough decision, and there were a couple different factors that came in to play, but most importantly, I'm ready to watch my own kids in sports," said Stauffenberg. "I have waited since the day they were born for this, and I don't want to miss out on anything."
Stauffenberg may be leaving the Orange and Black behind, but with her she will take myriad memories from her professional family, with the hopes of many new ones on the horizon with her real one, she said.
"It's too hard to say what my favorite memories were because there are so many," said Stauffenberg. "I was so fortunate to coach so many great players, but more importantly, great people. I'm still in contact with almost everybody I have coached at Central, and I truly cherish every one of those relationships."
Following a 15-year hiatus for roundball sports at Central, the volleyball program was resurrected in 2007, with Stauffenberg an assistant alongside husband Serol Stauffenberg, who was head coach. The following year, the duo were co-head coaches before Tiffany took over as head coach the following fall. He also was women's basketball coach and athletic director.
The fact she and her husband who breathed life back into the program again made the decision to leave that much more heart-wrenching, said Stauffenberg.
"This was definitely the hardest decision I have made in my career," she said. "I'm leaving my dream job.I truly have so much passion for this game and coaching, and I've been very blessed to do it at CWC."
For Stauffenberg, it came down to choosing the right time to move on, but when coaching is in one's blood and a particular program is your passion, there really is no right time. The thought of her own children competing in sports without her being there was a prospect she simply couldn't bear, she said.
"You always think you can do just one more year, one more year, but it was time for me," said Stauffenberg. "I remember being on the bus heading to a preseason tournament, and my daughter had a volleyball game. I was in tears knowing that I was missing it. I won't miss any more. My son will be in football, and my daughter in volleyball at the same time, so I'll have fun chasing those two around."
So, does that mean she's leaving the sidelines behind for good?
"I'm going to take a break from coaching for now, but maybe, someday, I'll get back into it," said Stauffenberg. "Right now, I'm going to be mom and watch from the stands."
But, not before reflecting back once more on her time at Central and all the people she interacted with over the years, not notably those who wore the uniform and went to war on on the court for her.
"I'm excited to watch the recruits I have coming in next year and will continue being a fan of the Rustler volleyball program. I have a lot of pride in that program -- Serol and I started it -- I want nothing but the best for it. I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me by Dr. Jo Anne McFarland, Dr. J.D Rottweiler and Jay Nielsen," said Stauffenberg."I would like to thank every former player I have had the chance to coach and thank them for being a huge part of my life and part of the game I have so much passion for."
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.