By: Katie Obear–Staff Writer
Well-spoken. Unbelievable in every aspect. Well-rounded. Bright. Strong character. Committed.
These are all words the Dayton women’s volleyball Head Coach Tim Horsmon used to describe one of his former players, Kacie Hausfeld.
Hausfeld tragically passed away at the age of 21 in a plane crash alongside her father, Tom, at the Wright Brothers Airport near her hometown of Springboro in 2010. Hausfeld at the time was a junior Early Childhood Education major and a starting player for the Flyers.
Volleyball had always been in Kacie’s family. Her sister, Ali, was a star volleyball player and was named the 2006 ACC Volleyball Player of the Year during her time at Duke.
Back in high school, Hausfeld broke the school record twice for assists in a season, was named the GGCL Player of the Year, earned second team All-State honors as a junior, and led her team to state titles as a freshman and a senior.
When she started her time with the Flyers back in 2007 under the direction of Coach Horsmon, she had already begun to make her mark on this distinguished program.
She finished second in assists per a game, had a season high of 14 assists on 15 attempts in a game, and she played in over 22 games during her first season.
Starting out the 2008 season, she began to have a stronger presence on the team. One of her teammates at the time, senior Erin Schroeder suffered a career ending knee injury, tearing her ACL. Schroder was not only one of the best players and setters on the team, but also in the nation.
This was Kacie’s first season as a starter and she was determined to prove herself, and not just fill in for her teammate. She saw 96 sets of action for the team and helped record 5 double-doubles for the Flyers. She continued as a starting player in the 2009 season as well and by the end had started in 27 games with over 131 sets played.
This year, Kacie’s mother, Lori, chose to honor her daughter’s legacy at UD with a $1.2 million donation to the team, one of the largest donations in the program’s history.
Thanks to the generous donation, the team was able to renovate Frericks Center and dedicated Hausfeld Court in Kacie’s memory.
This isn’t the only thing that shares the Hausfeld name. The team annually presents the Kacie Hausfeld Teammate Award to a player that best exemplifies what being a teammate means. Last year, sophomore Jane Emmenecker received this honor.
“When you get a gift like that, as wonderful as it is, it is really hard knowing that situation but we remember her and that name on that court and what she stood for,” said Horsmon.
In addition to the renaming of the court, the renovations included a Kacie Hausfeld Players’ Lounge, new Perma-Cap seating on the wooden bleachers, the addition of hand rails to the bleacher stairs, new scoreboard and video boards with replay, updated banners and graphics, new volleyball equipment, courtside seating for Red Scare fans, a new sound system, and many more much needed improvements to make the facilities worthy of such a hardworking and devoted team.
At the first home match of the season against Miami University of Ohio, the Flyers dedicated and blessed Hausfeld Court.
“It was an emotional day,” said Horsmon. “The gift, how that’s transformed our gym and our facilities for current and future players, I’m not sure that I can put words to that transformation and what that means.”
None of the current players had an opportunity to play with Kacie while she still donned the number 14, but her impact and presence on the team can still be felt and seen to this day.
“Legacy is a big part of what we talk about and I think once players leave and what that means to be remembered that way and what that means to future players in this program is really important,” said Horsmon. “The legacy she left is awesome and I think when you get into those tough moments it’s real easy to look down at the floor and what she gave and who she was and why we have such a great facility in that situation and be thankful and appreciative.”
The Flyers will continue to be inspired by Kacie and now will allow others to play on her court during this 2016 season and for the future of UD volleyball.