Vogel returns with knowledge in hand

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

Many people thought they would never see Megan Vogel on the Frost Arena court again as a part of the SDSU women’s basketball team after the 60-53 WNIT victory over Indiana on March 22. Those people thought wrong.

In case you have not heard, SDSU basketball great Megan Vogel will be on the bench this season as a part of Head Coach Aaron Johnson’s staff as a graduate assistant for the women’s basketball team. She primarily works with Assistant Coach Laurie Melum coaching the guards and working on their defense.

Just 11 days after playing in her final collegiate game, Vogel was drafted in the second round, 19th overall, by the Washington Mystics in the annual WNBA Draft. While she did not make the regular season roster, she was one of the last cuts.

Vogel learned a lot going through the process. “I learned a lot about myself, the game and what I need to add to my game to make a roster next season,” she said.

After being cut by the Mystics, Vogel was with the team every day in an intern position.

“I went to practice every day, was around the team and essentially doing everything that a regular player would do except travel,” she said. “The time in Washington this summer was as much of a life changing experience as coming to South Dakota State was.”

It is hard for any player with the drive and determination of Vogel to sit on the bench and not be able to be on the court competing. On the other hand, Megan said that the situation had its positives.

“It was probably the best thing to ever happen to me,” said Vogel. “I found a new motivation that lit a fire inside of me. I was practicing harder then I ever had in my entire life to prove to myself that next year I am going to make a team, no question.”

Earlier this year, Vogel was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship to continue her education. Vogel came back to Brookings in late May to graduate with a degree in health, physical education and recreation. She is now going for a master’s degree in sport pedagogy.

Coming back to SDSU and coaching many of the same players that she played with has not been as awkward or as tough as you would think for Vogel.

“I know their tendencies and what they can get better at. I know them (the players) inside and out because I played with them,” Vogel said. “I try to encourage the players while the other coaches take care of the odds and ends of game planning.”

Vogel’s impact on the team will go beyond just coaching the X’s and O’s of the game. She can give the players a unique perspective on the game and give advice to incoming players on what to expect considering that she was where they are now only eight months ago.

“It took me until the middle of my sophomore year to figure out that Coach Johnston pushes you so hard because he sees more potential in you as a player then you could ever imagine. The sooner that a player figures this out, the better they will be,” Vogel said. “Coach Johnston truly cares about you as a person, not just as a player.”

As Vogel starts the next phase of her life she is optimistic about the future.

“Five years from now I hope to be a first assistant at a Division I women’s basketball program. Eventually I want to be a head coach, but probably not by the time I am 27 [years old],” Vogel said. “Hopefully I am still playing in the league [WNBA] in five years, coaching and playing as long as I can.” Coaching as well as playing is not unheard of, but Vogel has found out plenty of work will have to be done to attain her goals.

“You just have to find time to do it and make sure that you find time everyday to work on coaching as well as training,” she said. “Usually I will come in early in the morning and stay late at night to train because coaching consumes so much of your time.”

Vogel’s first time on the bench for the Jacks was Oct. 31 in the exhibition opener against Bemidji State.

Vogel said that being a coach on the bench was “different.” “I think that it would have been harder if I had not gotten the experience that I had this summer.”

The team returns every starter from last year except one.

“I am glad to be back. It feels good,” Vogel said.

#1.883047:3709218607.jpg:meganvogelSB.jpg:Megan Vogel actively participates in Jackrabbit women’s basketball as a member of the coaching staff for the 2007-2008 seeason.:Stephen Brua