Gielczyk: Nedow Takes Over Forest Area Volleyball Reins
Longtime Forest Area varsity volleyball coach Ron Stremlow decided the time was right to step down from the position after 35 years in the coaching ranks, the last 25 at Forest Area, and handed in his resignation to the school board at the end of last season.
It’s doubtful there will be too many more coaches who can say they’ve coached for as long, and enjoyed as much success as Stremlow has in his career.
That success includes Ski Valley Conference and district championships, packing the display case with a slew of trophies that can be viewed by everyone attending sporting events at the school.
But it’s not the championships and trophies Stremlow will remember most. It’s the student athletes he felt privileged to coach, and with whom he forged a lasting bond that has carried on beyond the court.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is working with the kids every day in practice,” Stremlow said. “I’m going to miss the tournaments. They’re long, but they’re fun.
“I’m going to miss the camps in the summer, when you do the development and all that stuff. That’s always very enjoyable, and watching the girls grow together as a team.”
Stremlow was satisfied that there were a pair of coaches on staff that were capable of running the program, and he was good with handing the reins over to them.
He is confident the Warriors won’t miss a beat with a new coach on the sidelines running the show.
Lisa Nedow has been Stremlow’s varsity assistant the last two years, and he places the greatest of trust in her ability to continue the tradition of excellence that has been established during his tenure.
She had recently moved back to the area, and is a second grade teacher in the school system.
“I didn’t waste any time after I got the job, and immediately approached coach Stremlow about helping out in any way I could,” Nedow said. “My main reason was simple. I wanted to get back into volleyball.”
Nedow has some impressive credentials, having been a player at Leland High School where the Comets have a rich tradition that has produced not only championships, but college players.
The most famous, of course, was Alisha Glass who was part of three consecutive NCAA national championships at Penn State, and competed for the United States in the Olympic Games in 2016.
Nedow played collegiality at Austin Peay just outside of Nashville, Tenn. and began teaching immediately after graduating.
Volleyball, though, has always been on her mind. It’s a passion with her that just would not fade and there was always the notion of finding some way to get back into it.
Stremlow gave her that chance, and she acknowledges that she has learned a great deal from working with him.
“He’s taught me a lot about coaching, and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for taking me under his wing, so to speak, and showing me the ropes. He was a great mentor.”
For his part, Stremlow says he’s not going to just fade away from the volleyball scene.
“I told them (the school) that anything they want me to do, I’ll do it,” Stremlow said. “I’ll be happy with the junior high programs, help out if they have any questions.”
As for the varsity program, Nedow is not starting out from scratch. The Warriors return at least four solid starters returning next year, so Stremlow isn’t leaving behind a barren cupboard.
Nedow’s responsibility will be to build the team around that foursome, which she’ll start doing during the summer as she plans to continue the off-season program Stremlow established.
She’ll also put her own stamp on the program.
“We’re going to continue everything that Ron has done,” Nedow said. “But, I also want to add some things, and change with the times. I would like to do things to make the offense more dimensional.
“The basics will remain the same, though. I will work the girls on their skills, but add in some different drills to work on things that will make us continually tough to beat.”
Some of the girls who’ll be trying out for starting positions on the varsity were on Nedow’s club team last spring, so she feels comfortable that the transition will be a smooth one. They’ve learned about her as a coach, and what she expects from them.
Forest Area’s fans expect only big things from their volleyball team, and Nedow is determined to deliver.
“I’m prepared to really push the girls, drive them to succeed,” Nedow says. “My goal is to make them believe that they have no limits that they can achieve anything they set out to do.
“That bar is going to be set very high. I don’t think the girls, myself or the fans expect anything different.”
When she looks in the stands, she’s apt to see Stremlow watching the games with interest, and cheering the Warriors on.
Greg Gielczyk is an award-winning sports columnist and sportwriter who worked a total 36 years — interrupted for an 18-month period from 1997-99 — at the Manistee News Advocate as sports editor until 2006 and is now retired. He currently is a freelance sportswriter for the Ludington Daily News. Gielczyk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for story ideas.