EAST PEORIA, Ill. — The ICC Cougars are off to volleyball nationals for the first time in five years.
And they are doing it in Tracy Heffren’s first season as coach.
“I’ve been blessed with a very good team,” said Heffren. “Sue Sinclair recruited all of these girls and I took over as the leader.”
Heffren is a former Cougars player who had a highly successful 15-year career as head volleyball coach at Eureka High School. When longtime ICC coach Sue Sinclair retired, Heffren jumped at the chance to return to her college roots.
“You have chapters in your life. The chapter of high school was there, I had great players and great teams,” Heffren explained. “Stepping up to the next level in junior college. I really enjoy what I’m doing.”
Heffren and ICC will play Kirkwood in the National Junior College Athletic Association Div. II tournament Thursday in West Virginia.
She says her coaching style and philosophy have not changed since she moved from high school to college coaching. Her players seem to agree.
Even those that played for her at Eureka.
“In high school she was really hard on us and it transitioned into college because college is a lot tougher than high school,” said ICC sophomore Maddie McCunn. “I think her coaching technique is really good for college style.”
Heffren’s daughter played for her in high school and now at ICC.
“Her expectations are definitely higher because it’s higher level volleyball but she keeps the same composure and everything,” said ICC freshman Courtney Heffren. “I think she is the same coach.”
She won a state championship at her Alma mater as a high school coach. This week Tracy Heffren is in position to help her college Alma mater win a national championship.