By Joseph Staszewski
Stephanie Taibe has played volleyball at different levels, venues and now countries in her career, but she is ready to put some of that behind her to coach her alma mater.
The former Mary Louis standout will give up her senior season at Hunter College to take over the Hilltoppers girls’ volleyball team this fall. Taibe replaces Sylwia Schober, who left after five seasons to focus on family with her second child on the way.
She decided she is ready for the next stage in her career after representing the United States with a semi-pro team in Europe this summer. Taibe played in 32 of Hunter’s 34 games last season.
“It was very difficult for me to make the decision,” Taibe said. “It took me a little while to accept the offer, solely for that reason. However, I feel like I got everything out of my experience as a player and I was just interested in being on the other side of it now as a coach.”
A talk with Mary Louis Athletic director Joe Lewinger brought back memories of her time at TMLA, where the middle and outside hitter was an All-City honorable mention selection by the New York Post as a senior.
“I thought it would be great to come back to be a part of the Mary Louis community again,” Taibe said.
She was exactly the type of candidate Lewinger was looking for despite her lack of coaching experience. He has watched Mary Louis alums Joann Arbitello, Ellen Lynch and Toni Anne Campuzano have positive effects on the basketball, swimming and softball programs and the coach was hoping to find another grad to do the same with volleyball.
“I wanted to follow that same formula,” Lewinger said. “Let’s have someone who used to be immersed in this environment as a player, bring back that passion.”
He and Taibe understand there will be a learning curve for her this season. She knows she has not been a traditional coach, but believes she understands what it takes to be a leader from her playing days, helping out coaches here and there and running a junior ocean lifeguard camp for six years. Taibe is also studying to be a personal trainer, so giving proper instructions comes easy.
“From the volleyball skill development standpoint, I think she is right there and I think she has a lot of good ideas,” Lewinger said.
Taibe hopes to bring the same passion and enthusiasm she played with to coaching and have it rub off on her kids as she tries to move TMLA back up the ladder of a tough CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I league. She was the one always seen jumping around, she said. Now she is ready to leap to the next stage of her career at a familiar place.
‘To get a little taste of what I grew up with is going to be an experience,” Taibe said. “I’m excited for it.”