It was probably fitting that Cal Poly Pomona took five games in getting by CCAA rival Chico State Saturday at Darlene May Gymnasium. Veteran coach Rosie Wegrich says those are the ones she remembers most vividly.
She has been coaching for 34 years and is in her 17th year directing the Broncos. The 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-7) win over the Wildcats was the 300th in her tenure at Cal Poly. She owns a career record of 629-446-10.
She didn’t know about the milestone until after the match when she was congratulated by school president Michael Ortiz and athletic director Brian Swanson.
“I didn’t even think about it,” said Wegrich, whose team improved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play. “I was so focused on the match. I really had no idea.”
Wegrich, who grew up and still lives in Manhattan Beach, is the dean of coaches in the CCAA. She joined the Broncos in 1992 after 17 years at the Division I level – two at Minnesota (71-30-1) and 15 (258-229-9) at Arizona.
While there may be more notariety at the Division I level, Wegrich enjoys some of the other intracacies that come with working at a Division II institution.
“I love dealing with really smart girls who want to be here,” she said. “We don’t give fully funded scholarships so these girls are working in addition to playing so they are seeing what live after sports is going to be like.”
She also enjoys the camaraderie of her players. The team started the season with a trip to Hawaii where they played four matches. A similar venture at the Division I level would probably have been paid for by the athletic department.
In this case the athletes spent much of the offseason raising the money themselves with fundraisers including summer camps, a garage sale and working the concessions stands at Angels Stadium.
“When you spend so much time together you really build memories,” she said.
Asked what her most memorable match is and she doesn’t single out her 200th at Cal Poly which came in 2002 against Cal State Los Angeles or the 500th of her career which came against Grand Canyon in 2000.
She goes back to one in the regional playoffs against Cal State Bakersfield in which her team came from down 15-12 in the decisive game to win 16-14.
Wegrich isn’t saying how long she will coach. She said she has been blessed with good assistant coaches in the past and will do so as long as she has that kind of help and passes along credit to her current assistant Kenji Mukai.
“I don’t know if I could do it if I didn’t have such good help,” she said. “We really are on the same page and he really brings a fighting spirit and an energy that make it fun.”