SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Lindsey Weatherford left quite the impression with Briar Cliff athletic director Nic Nelson the first time the two talked over the phone about the open women's volleyball coaching position.
Nelson then did his due diligence and called some of her former employers. They gave Nelson nothing but glowing reviews of Weatherford, who has coached at a few different colleges.
That was easily enough to convince Nelson to bring Weatherford to Briar Cliff's campus. Once there, Weatherford not only impressed Nelson but the rest of the those who talked to her on campus.
That was enough to convince Nelson. On Tuesday, Nelson announced Weatherford as the next Briar Cliff women's volleyball coach.
"She had a lot of experience and everyone that we talked to about her, they raved about her and what she was like as a coach, a recruiter and a person," Nelson said. "As we started talking to her, we started to see the same things. It was just a matter of getting her to campus and meet with everyone and we were convinced without a doubt that she was the right one for the job."
Weatherford is an Iowa native, originally from Rockwell. She is excited to be back in Iowa and her and her husband are ready to set roots in Sioux City.
"I am super excited. Briar Cliff was very welcoming when I had my interview on campus last week and I really enjoyed the excitement that the athletic department showed to me and I love the culture that is building in the athletic department," Weatherford said. "Sioux City is an equal distance between both of our families. We always looked at some of the bigger cities in Iowa after his life in the Air Force and Sioux City fits the mold."
Weatherford, 38, has a plethora of coaching experience but spent last season out of coaching. Weatherford's husband is an active-duty Air Force member so the couple has moved around a good amount. The Weatherford spent the last year at an Air Force base in Massachusetts. She worked as a volleyball consultant during that time.
But Weatherford's husband is close to retiring as an active duty member of the Air Force, meaning the two can stay in one spot for a while.
"I am from Iowa originally and we have moved around a lot because of him being in the Air Force so coming home was always a dream for us and Sioux City fit our future as far as being near family," Weatherford said. "I just think of Briar Cliff as a special place and I fit in with the mission and the values with the school, specifically with service learning and the positive attitude you feel when walking onto campus."
Most recently, Weatherford was an assistant coach at Luther College in Decatur. She has also been an assistant at Waldorf College and Kirkwood Community College. Her most recent college head coaching job was at Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri. She was the first head coach in the program's history and in the second season, the team went 18-8 and was nationally ranked.
Nelson noticed Weatherford jumped around and quickly found out why. He's excited for the Weatherfords to become part of the Briar Cliff community for a long time to come.
"Initially I wanted to know why she moved around and once we dug in, we found out it was one of those situations where the timing we perfect because her husband has the option to take early retirement and once he did that, he was going to follow her this time," Nelson said. "It's a great opportunity for her and great timing to get someone that we think can be really good. Had this been a year ago, she probably wouldn't have been able to take the job so the timing worked out perfectly."
Trevor Schirman spent the past six seasons as the Briar Cliff women's volleyball coach and split duties because he's also the Chargers men's volleyball coach. Schirman is now going to focus solely on the men's volleyball program and Weatherford will be the women's volleyball coach.
Now the focus shifts to getting the volleyball program to the top have of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Chargers went 11-16 overall and 5-11 in the GPAC. Two seasons ago the Chargers went 18-9 overall and 8-8 in the GPAC.
"We have a very good tradition and certainly think we have all of the resources we need to be good but we aren't naive. The GPAC is very good," Nelson said. "We talked about the challenge but that's why we like her. She is going to embrace that challenge and she is a competitor. She's going to go out and try and get those same girls to play for us. While it's going to be a big-time challenge, we think she's up for it."
Weatherford feels Briar Cliff has all of the resources to attract the necessary talent to be one of the top teams in the GPAC.
"I feel like Sioux City and the surrounding areas has a lot of volleyball talent. I am very excited to tap into the resources - high school, club and junior colleges - to bring in recruits to compete with the high level of volleyball in the GPAC," Weatherford said. "I really appreciate the opportunity that's been giving to me by Nic Nelson and president Rachelle Karstens and the whole Briar Cliff family. I am ready to begin the next journey of leading the program."