Ivy Leaf - Spring 2003
A Volleyball Legend Retires
Hedrick-Sheaffer Caps 27-Year Coaching Career
After more than a quarter century and nearly 500 victories, a Penn State Altoona coaching legend has called it a career. Tick Hedrick-Sheaffer, who nurtured the volleyball program from its infancy and piloted it to powerhouse status, retired from the profession at the end of the women's volleyball season this past fall. She will continue teaching on campus, a vocation to which she has dedicated three decades of her life.
"I just felt that my body was telling me that now was the right time," Hedrick-Sheaffer said. "I got the program off the ground in the new division, going into Division III, and I just felt that now was the right time to go."
Hedrick-Sheaffer's career began when Penn State Altoona athletic teams competed at the junior college level. Through the 2002 season, her teams captured eight State Junior College Championships, 13 Commonwealth Campus titles and eight Western Pennsylvania Conference titles. In five seasons of competition at the Division III level, Penn State Altoona annually accorded itself extremely well against opponents with rosters laden with considerably more experienced juniors and seniors.
With 497 career wins illuminating the marquee of a brilliant career, Hedrick-Sheaffer is rightfully proud of the many championships and the student-athletes who have been recognized for their athletic and academic achievements over the years. An eleven-time conference coach of the year, Hedrick-Sheaffer is particularly grateful for the opportunity she had to significantly impact the lives of her charges on and off the court.
"If (the players) work hard in volleyball, it will carry on through their lives," Hedrick-Sheaffer remarked. "They can be successful in whatever they do, but I think they get a real strong foundation from athletics. This is a venue where they can excel with their bodies and, at the same time, utilize their minds."
Though so tantalizingly close to her personal goal of 500 career wins, Hedrick-Sheaffer has remained resolved to complete this one chapter in her life's work.
"Tick is more than a coach," commented Fredina Ingold, director of athletics at Penn State Altoona and an assistant coach during the early years of the volleyball program. "She truly cares about her players in a maternal sense, and you will never find anyone who cares about young women more."
While conceding that her existence will be less stressful now than when she had the responsibility for directing a roster of fifteen young women, Hedrick-Sheaffer still finds it hard to hold back the tears when memories from a remarkably successful career begin to flow.
Although its guiding force is no longer at the helm, the Penn State Altoona volleyball program bears the indelible mark of a champion whose influence is sure to be felt long after Hedrick-Sheaffer's service to the College has ended.