There’s a coach on the UW-Madison campus that recently entered the 150-win club and has won three Big Ten championships — more than any other coach that came before him — but his name is hardly mentioned when talking about championship coaches. He’s been coaching more years at Wisconsin than most of his colleagues, yet his name is hardly recognized among the student body.Dean Duerst, head coach of the Wisconsin women’s soccer team, could probably care less about the lack of recognition. All Duerst cares about is winning soccer games and making his players better people.Entering his 13th year as the head coach and 18th year overall with the team, Duerst has been involved in some memorable and historic moments in the program. Duerst was an assistant coach for the 1988 NCAA semifinal squad and the 1991 NCAA runner-up team under his predecessor, Greg Ryan.After being named the head coach in 1994, Duerst has built on Ryan’s achievements and expanded the success of the program. Duerst has guided the Badgers to not only eight NCAA tournament appearances, but also a regular season Big Ten title and two Big Ten tournament championships.Ryan remains a large influence on how Duerst coaches his team. Duerst took two important things away from his time under the ex-coach: running a sound defense and finding players to buy into that philosophy.”He told me that you had to create your own way of doing things and a philosophy of doing things by looking at the personnel you have, learning the way you want to plan and getting ready to adjust during the games,” Duerst said. “The other thing he taught me was that he was a great defensive coach. Defense is a team thing and they need to work as a group. You’re going to have to have breakdowns in soccer and, as Coach Ryan always said, you have to keep finding those defenders that will do anything to keep the ball out of the net.”Even with the Badgers’ success under Duerst, Wisconsin hasn’t made it back to the national finals since 1991. Regardless, Duerst maintains that this program is only one or two bounces away from retuning to the national spotlight, having taken national contenders Notre Dame and Penn State to the brink.”It has to be our reality in our program to get back to the national championship,” Duerst said. “It’s a goal of ours before every season to win the title. I know it can happen because the men did it in 1995. With the right group of players and having some things go your way, it can happen and I certainly can see it [happening] at Wisconsin.”Earning his 150th victory — more than any other head coach — in this 25th season of women’s soccer at Wisconsin, Duerst has been one of the most significant figures in shaping the program into one of the elite in the Big Ten. Although the wins reflect the work on the field, Duerst’s proudest achievement is what happens on the practice field and in the classroom, getting his players in position to succeed in life and sport.”Most important thing is the people, and I think Wisconsin attracts great people,” Duerst said. “The quality of people that play for the Badgers are very successful women in their field. Some are continuing to grow in that success. They represent Wisconsin very well and I think that’s [the] important thing, to enjoy their time here and leave as better players and students of the game.”Duerst’s attitude and positive outlook also trickles down to the players, as the Badger women respect him for making soccer at Wisconsin competitive and fun.”What stands out about Dean is that he always has a positive outlook on everything,” sophomore Taylor Walsh said. “We had a tough time this season again and Dean always tells us on how things can happen and turn around [for us]. He’s always being optimistic and is a good energy to be around. When we put our heads down, he tells us not to get discouraged. It’s a good thing to be hard on us, but at the same time, he doesn’t do it all the time and does it when it needs to be done.”This weekend, Duerst and his squad are traveling east to Penn State in hopes of defending their Big Ten tournament title. In the most important weekend of the season for Wisconsin women’s soccer, Duerst has a lot of work to do to prepare his team to try and defend their tournament title, and he only has five short days to do it.Friday, Oct. 27After easily beating Northwestern on Friday night to guarantee Wisconsin a bid into the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers find themselves in the same position they were last season. Having to beat Northwestern to make it into the tournament, Wisconsin was awarded the seventh seed and proceeded to win three straight games to take the title.This season, Wisconsin is once again the seventh seed and will play Illinois, a team that beat the Badgers in Madison 4-2 in late September, at 1:30 Thursday afternoon.While the players go out and celebrate their victory at the Halloween festivities, Duerst quickly goes to work on preparation. Since Wisconsin plays Thursday, Duerst will have to move up his timetable and practice schedule for the girls.He spends the night going over the Northwestern game, reviewing the five Badger goals and trying to find other things that worked right that can work against Illinois. It makes for a mildly relaxing night, as Duerst is excited to be able to coach for at least another week.”Take a look at what was important that week in preparation and look at what’s important in preparation for your next opponent,” Duerst says. “It’s hard to go right to sleep and I want to create a routine where I am not staying up late.”Saturday, Oct. 28After a late night studying film, Duerst begins an early day in the office, making phone calls and exchanging game film with other programs.”That was one of the most helpful things in getting game film on Illinois from other schools,” Duerst says.The day also begins early for the players, as they are in cleats for an hour-long practice that Duerst describes as short, crisp and sharp.”You always want to practice that morning after the game,” Duerst explains. “We break into two groups, one of players that played a lot and the others not so much. The players that didn’t play as much in the last game get to have time with the ball, some shooting drills and skill work. The others stay loose and get a massage, just to have some activity after the game.”Afterward, Duerst begins doing his homework on not only Illinois, but on Purdue and Ohio State, the two opponents Wisconsin could play if it advances to the next round. Duerst also comes up with their schedule for Sunday, which during the season is usually a game day for the Badgers. By having the extra day off, Duerst moves up the Badgers’ normal schedule one day in hopes of trying to keep some sort of routine for the players. Tomorrow, Duerst decides, is going to be the team’s fitness day.Sunday, Oct. 29Another quick one-hour practice from 9 to 10 a.m. is broken up by 35 minutes of running and conditioning. The Badgers need to have quick feet and play with a quick pace against Illinois; Duerst tries to push the players to use those attributes during the training.”We don’t need to overplay for our game this week, we scale back more so than usual,” Duerst says. “It’s important to get them up and do fitness. Just trying to keep that routine of having a fitness day during the week. It wasn’t incredibly hard, but it was hard enough where there was the emphasis.”Because Duerst thinks this year’s Big Ten tournament is going to be highly competitive and may come down to penalty kicks, he institutes a partner drill that goes along with the conditioning and also lets the players have some fun.With the team split into pairs, the goal is to score a penalty kick. If you are successful, your partner has to run, but if they miss, the opponents would be forced to do the running.”[The running] wasn’t incredibly long, but it was hard enough that you didn’t want to [miss],” Duerst explains. “We need to challenge them by doing fitness and make them feel good about them accomplishing fitness, working hard and to build the mental toughness.”In a staple of Duerst’s practices, every drill or fitness test is timed, giving players an adequate flow from drill to drill. For the players, it makes them work harder and the practice as a whole to move quicker.”It’s nice that we can jump from drill to drill quickly,” junior Lauren Rudzinski says. “It makes the practices exciting and I think it prepares us for different transitionsin games, from offensive to defensive. It makes the whole practice seem faster.”Monday, Oct. 30Keeping with the normal routine of the season, Duerst gives the players the day off and locks himself in his office, going over notes, reviewing game video on Illinois and calling the Iowa head coach for some info on what worked when the Hawkeyes played Illinois.”I tried to find out what worked for them in their game,” Duerst says.It was also a day to set Wisconsin’s itinerary for the trip to Pennsylvania. In a program first, the soccer team decided to charter a flight to University Park for the tournament. By doing that, the Badgers can fly direct to Penn State and still be able to practice before they leave Wednesday.”[Chartering the flight is good] because it allows us time to practice,” Duerst said. “They are anxious to play and physically, it’s good to get out and knock the ball around … and emphasise having quick play and switching, which we’ll need to do well this weekend.”Duerst also decides to hold Tuesday’s practice inside the McClain Center in hopes of matching the type of field the Badgers will be playing on in the tournament.”That turf environment is much like Penn State’s field, short, sharp and [with] a really good roll to it,” Duerst says. “Some of our players were really able to strike the ball well off that turf. We’re going to get true bounces at Penn State and we want to replicate that field the best we can.”Tuesday, Oct. 31The women’s Halloween practice begins with some fun and games as all the players pose in their Halloween costumes. Duerst begins the practice with the goals of the day, working on tightening up spots and working on putting pressure on their opponents, something the Badgers failed to do the first time around against Illinois.To begin practice, the offense and the defense go through 20 minutes of stretching and ball-handling drills, getting the legs warm and reworking some skills. Meanwhile, the goalies are put through a rigorous drill by assistant head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt, a former All-American goalkeeper at Kalamazoo College. All three of Wisconsin’s goalies work on their hand-eye coordination, going from post to post and stopping one of Carlin-Voigt’s shots.The majority of Wisconsin’s practice is spent on a game Duerst calls the ‘Wing Game.’ The team is divided evenly, the field is shortened to 50 yards and two players from each team serve as safety outlets on each sideline. The object is simple: have the offense finish shots and the defense work on clearing the ball to boost quick transitions and quick play.This season, Wisconsin has struggled to put the ball in the net, which has been partially to blame for the inability to make the quick pass to a teammate. This drill enforces all those skills needed to score and stop teams.”It’s a drill that prepares us for game situations,” Rudzinski said. “Basically, we have our defenders working on clearances and our scorers working on getting the ball in the back of the net. It prepares the team as a whole, both offensively and defensively, for game-like situations.”Wednesday, Nov. 1The most hectic day for the traveling party as a whole, as the Badgers take the field for a quick one-hour practice and then board their charter flight. Starting at 12:30, the women take part in a scoring drill and some mild training, ending the day with shots on goal. Each player shoots 10-12 balls on goal for around five minutes to keep their legs under them.Throughout the week, Duerst decides to show some film to his players, but only in short segments. Since Illinois is similar to Northwestern, Duerst tells his players that their game against the Illini needs to be a carbon copy of their last game, with Wisconsin controlling the speed of play.”To the players in the past, we show them some film and some looks,” Duerst says. “This time, we thought they didn’t need to see Illinois because they have seen them so much. It’s good for the coaches to see and share the important information in what we feel is vital to the team with the players. We don’t want to build Illinois up … this is a revenge game and a game against a team … which we didn’t perform well against.”After a week of careful preparation and conditioning, the initial work is out of Duerst’s hands. After five days of giving his players a steady diet of drills that have allowed the players to play to their strengths and have some fun doing it, Wisconsin now focuses on winning the Big Ten tournament for the third time in school history and continuing to carry their momentum into the NCAA Tournament.”We have momentum and we focus on one game at a time, which was our experience last year as well,” Duerst says. “We have the experience of where it was a must-win situation. That experience can only help. Instead of being super nervous this year, they’re going to be confident. They really do want to beat Illinois and it is a must-win. We need to get some results if we want to get to the NCAAs and that all starts on Thursday.”
Share Share Submit Related Articles Better Collective cautious on quick recovery as COVID drags growth momentum August 25, 2020 StumbleUpon Marc Etches to step down as CEO of GambleAware in 2021 August 14, 2020 GambleAware – Deeper research needed to tackle the illness of gambling disorders July 21, 2020 In support of both staff and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Denise Coates Foundation has given a £10m grant to the University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) charity.The funds will be used to support a number of schemes aimed at enhancing patient care and supporting staff at both Royal Stoke Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford. bet365’s global headquarters is located near to both of the hospitals in Stoke-on-Trent.Denise Coates CBE, a trustee of the Denise Coates Foundation, said: “The trustees of the Foundation are committed to supporting the efforts of the University Hospitals of North Midlands, as it, its staff and its wider community of carers and volunteers face what must be the most demanding circumstances in the hospitals and, indeed, the NHS’s history.“It and they stand on the front line in the battle against COVID-19. We have all seen and heard the events unfold in the media as day after day the number of those infected increases and the number of those who tragically lost their lives also rises.“There are many stories of people suffering without the comfort of close friends and family as restrictions on people’s movement prevent loved ones visiting. This is why I and the other trustees felt we had to step forward and approach the UHNM to see what we could do to help.“We are sure that the funding the Foundation provides will make a huge difference to the Hospital, the staff and more broadly the people of North Staffordshire and the surrounding area.”UHNM chief executive Tracy Bullock expressed her gratitude to the Denise Coates Foundation for the “significant grant” which will support staff and patients. She added: “As a result of COVID we have rapidly established new ways of working but in some circumstances are lacking the technology to do this in the most effective way. This investment will help fund schemes and provide latest technology to improve communications between clinicians; between clinicians and patients and between patients and their families.“COVID-19 is also affecting our local communities and this significant investment will also be used for initiatives with our partners in the community, mental health and social care to support them to support us.”She added: “Thanks to the Denise Coates Foundation, we will be able to prioritise the well-being of our staff at a time when they are working harder than ever before in extremely challenging circumstances and enhance and improve the care and experience of our patients and their families.”The donation marks the latest from the gambling industry in supporting the NHS during the ongoing pandemic. Earlier this week, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) revealed that this weekend’s ‘Virtual Grand National’ (Saturday 4 April) raised ‘over £2.6 million’ in donations for NHS charities.