Cardinal volleyball: Anne Mann takes reins as new head coach

·3 min read

Jul. 16—It's a new era for Cardinal volleyball, as Anne Mann now leads the charge for the Huskies. She was approved for the position during the June board of education meeting.

Mann spent her high school career at Padua before she played at Cleveland State in 1994. After she graduated, Mann spent some time away from the sport before her first coaching role at the club level.

"I started coaching at Eastside Volleyball club and this is going to be my sixth year with them for national teams," said Mann. "I started at Berkshire in 2018 before this new journey at Cardinal. I've been surrounded for all of my life with amazing coaches and great programs. Eastside has pushed and supported me coaching and learning different styles but Berkshire was my first time at the high school age level."

She started her high school coaching career as the freshman coach for the Badgers thanks to her ties with Eastside. However after she spent four years as an assistant, Mann wanted a new challenge and when she heard that there was an opening at Cardinal, she knew that was a chance to try her hand at being a head coach.

"My daughter started playing and is going into her freshman year at NDCL," said Mann. "She got interested in it and we started at Eastside. That's how I met Joni (Prots) and Jamie (Bower) at that time. I also teach first grade in the Berkshire school system and that's how those all sort of corresponded. It wasn't an easy choice to leave Berkshire with those ties there. The group of seniors that are there now were my first group of players."

Now heading up the rival of the Badgers, Mann knows that it will be a challenge to continue the tradition of Cardinal volleyball. In the past 12 seasons, the Huskies have reached the district round nine times and the district final five times.

Two times, 2018 and 2020, the Huskies came within one set of making the regional round for the first time since 1996. Mann is ready to try and continue that success while also continuing on what former head coach Karissa Chambers has built.

"Cardinal has been amazing and supportive every step of the way," said Mann. "Everyone is willing to work with us and it's been a really easy transition so far. Karissa was at Eastside for a while as well and she's left some pretty big shoes to fill. What she's done for the program and the high standards and expectations is what drew me to the position. Those girls walk into the gym and always want to work."

The only difference between this coming season and all the seasons prior is that Cardinal will compete in Division IV. The Huskies also lost key seniors like Haley Domen and Lindsay Hissa and only feature three seniors for this coming campaign.

But that hasn't hampered Mann's expectations. While it's her first rodeo as a head coach, she has seen what has made Cardinal successful in the past in her time at Berkshire and plans to follow the blueprint that's been in place.

"I'm excited to continue the program aspect of it," said Mann. "Every single person in the gym matters from freshmen to seniors. We have only three seniors but they're amazing leaders. I have a solid coaching staff coming in with me as well and we're very excited about the upcoming season."