Lindsey Hugstad-Vaa is the new guidance counselor at Albert Lea High School. She will also take over as varsity girls’ head basketball coach this winter. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

Meet the coach

Published 8:41am Monday, September 24, 2012

The Albert Lea girls’ basketball team will have a new head coach after the dismissal of Sean Gilliam over the summer.

Twenty-eight-year-old Lindsey Hugstad-Vaa, a former Apple Valley resident, will pick up the team and also work in the Albert Lea High School guidance department as a school counselor for the eighth, ninth and tenth grades.

Hugstad-Vaa received her undergraduate from the University of Maine in 2007 and her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota in 2011.

She has been playing basketball since she was in the second grade and in college even played for a semester in Poland.

The following are excerpts from an interview:

 

Q: How did you end up here?

A: I was looking for guidance positions and I applied to this one on a whim. There were a bunch of jobs up in the Cities, but not head coaching jobs with them. At first I didn’t even know where Albert Lea was.

 

Q: How long have you been coaching?

A: Since I graduated with my undergrad. I was an assistant last year and the junior varsity coach at Chanhassen. I’ve coached the Metro Stars for the last five summers, and I just felt that I was ready to make game calls and be the head coach.

 

Q: Did you think you would land a job where you could do both jobs?

A: That’s what I was hoping and, if not, work and coach in the same district.

 

Q: How can you use your counseling degree in coaching?

A: I can address the mental aspect of coaching, like motivation. I’ve had great coaches and I’ve had horrible coaches. I know the great coaches actually cared about us as people. I’m going to try and teach them what I learned from my great coaches because I know coaches can have such a huge influence on people.

 

Q: What is your plan for the Albert Lea girls’ team?

A: I don’t know the what the talent level is, but as long as they have heart and they work hard, it will be OK. I hate losing, but if we are working our hardest and playing our best, then things should fall into place. As long as they have a good work ethic, we can work with anything.