By: Meaghan Mcnichol – Staff Writer
The Dayton volleyball team was rewarded after a successful season by one of the largest donations in the history of the program. Lori Hausfeld, of Springboro, donated $1.2 million to the program that means so much to her.
In 2010, Lori’s daughter Kacie, and husband Tom, lost their lives to a plane crash near the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.
Kacie Hausfeld was a setter for the Flyers and played for three seasons from 2007-2009. She was a starter for her last two seasons on the team and recorded seven assists per set and 51 aces in those two years.
Lori Hausfeld felt it was important to give back to the program that meant so much to her daughter.
“The Dayton volleyball program holds a special place in my heart,” Hausfeld said in a press release announcing the donation. “It was Kacie’s second family. The program supported and comforted our family during triumph and tragedy. My family and I feel this is the best way to honor Kacie and her memory.”
Although Kacie’s passing was close to six years ago and none of the current Flyers were given the opportunity to play on the same team as her, they work their hardest to honor her legacy every season.
“In working with Lori and her daughter Ali on this project I became keenly aware of the importance to remember and honor Kacie and Tom through our volleyball program,” Dayton head coach Tim Horsmon said. Horsmon recruited Hausfeld to the program during his first stint as head coach.
One way her impact is still felt by the team is through the Kacie Hausfeld Teammate Award. This award is presented annually to a player who is a great teammate, leader and companion. The player who is honored with this award is someone who is constantly encouraging her teammates and genuinely cares about their success.
“The teammate award means a lot. Kacie was known for being a great teammate and always thinking of others so it says a lot about your character if you do receive that award and it’s a big honor to receive,” sophomore setter Maggie Schutter told Flyer News.
Sophomore setter Jane Emmenecker received the award this past season.
“Hearing how great of a teammate she was gives me someone to look up to,” Emmenecker said. “Hearing stories about what she did to make the program better is awesome and it makes me feel very privileged that I received the award in her honor.”
As well as presenting the teammate award, the Flyers host a home game each year when they play in her honor, wearing ribbons with her name on them.
But that isn’t the only game of the season when the team works to honor Kacie. Kacie is remembered every time the Flyers set foot on the court.
“She was a setter, so every game we always huddle up in [the] right back [position], because that’s where the setter’s position is, just to remember her and all that she did for us,” Schutter said.
The team plans to use this generous donation to renovate Frericks Center with a new team lounge, additional lower level seating for fans, a new sound system, upgraded graphics and technology upgrades, according to the release.
“Now we will be able to expand Frericks to be a better and more special place to play,” Emmenecker said. “I think it will help the program with bringing in a wider variety of recruits. The new technology and gym will spark some interest in possible prospects.”
This donation is going to play a huge role in the team recruiting process and serve as an advantage during home games in the future.
“The next generation of Flyers will get to experience a premier facility that is continuing to evolve into not only one of the best in the country, but one that will hold special meaning to our program and Flyer family,” Horsmon said. “We want to thank the generous donation of Lori and her family to make this happen.”
Kacie Hausfeld left a great impact on the Flyer community and her influence continues to grow today.
Photo: The Frericks Center, home to the Dayton volleyball program, will benefit from renovations made possible by a donation from the Hausfeld family. Kacie Hausfeld was a member of the volleyball team when she and her father died in a plane crash in 2010. Chris Santucci/Multimedia Editor