Dillinger is Raising Two Cyclone Families
AMES, Iowa—While her competitive drive to succeed has not waned, first-year Iowa State soccer coach Wendy Dillinger admits raising a two-year old son has instilled new characteristics in her.
“I have more patience than I did before,” Dillinger said. “Patience is not one of my strengths. When you’re dealing with a younger kid you have to be more patient. I find myself being more patient with mistakes than I ever was before.”
Patience is an important trait for any coach. Dillinger especially needed it after she moved to Ames in February from her hometown, St. Louis, where she had to briefly say goodbye to her family. Dillinger’s parents still reside in the Gateway City and husband, Chris, and their son, Braydon did not join her in Ames until July.
She also feels there are some similarities between raising her young family and molding the soccer program into her own.
“There definitely is crossover,” she said. “It’s repetition, repetition, repetition. You just have to keep reemphasizing with a team or family what we want, how things are going to be done and what that the expectations are: standards of excellence, setting goals, and holding them accountable. But, at the same time, giving them an opportunity to grow.”
Dillinger also points to Chris and Braydon as helping her keep a balance in life and maintaining the right perspective.
“Before, when we won, I used to be excited for a couple days and when we lost, I would be angry for a couple weeks,” Dillinger said. “Now, when I get home, I have to separate that and turn it off because it is not fair to Chris and Braydon if I bring that home.”
Like any career decision a lot of components are involved. Dillinger says family played a key role in the decision to come to Iowa State from Washington University in St. Louis
“One of the reasons we decided to make this change was because of the resources,” she said. “The facilities that are available and the support that is here meant more time spent with the team and our family and less time spent with the details. We used to have do little things like washing uniforms and lining the field and I did not get home until 11 at night.”
Dillinger has welcomed the changes that come with having a young family.
“(My life) has gotten a lot busier,” she said. “The focus has changed. I am trying to balance two things now instead of just one before. It’s truly worth it. Braydon has brought us so much closer as a family.”