Waldorf Press Release:
FOREST CITY – After more than four decades on the sidelines, Denny Jerome is stepping down from his position as head coach of the Waldorf College women’s basketball team.
Jerome, who’s coached the Warriors for the past 42 seasons, announced his retirement from coaching on Wednesday.
“Denny has been a fixture at Waldorf for 42 years,” said Bart Gray, Waldorf director of athletics. “In many, many ways he is the face of the college and is known throughout Iowa and the upper Midwest as a superior coach, athletic director and person of integrity.”
“His contributions to Waldorf College will continue to have a positive impact for many years yet to come,” Gray added. “His integrity, fairness, honesty and work ethic are those traits that we would like to see reflected in the behaviors of our student-athletes as he mentored them during his tenure as a coach and athletic director. Purely as a coach, his longevity and win-loss record speak for themselves.”
Jerome retires with a 786-439 career record. He led the program since it was established in 1972 and the Warriors averaged 19 wins per season during his tenure.
“It’s been an honor, privilege and pleasure to work with and be around so many players for so many years,” Jerome said. “I will miss the daily contact with the players.”
Under Jerome, Waldorf earned seven trips to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament. He helped the program continue its success after becoming a four-year college and joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Jerome led the Warriors to the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) title in 2004-05 and has been named regional or conference coach of the year seven times.
During his career, Jerome coached 18 All-Americans and numerous academic all-scholars. His teams established a tradition of academic excellence. The 2009 team recorded one of the top grade-point averages in the nation. Jerome said his No. 1 priority was character development through basketball to help players grow as people and prepare them for the rest of their lives.
“I’m proud of what the women’s basketball program has stood for these first 42 years,” Jerome said. “We have had very high academic achievement, high character and citizenship. We’ve worked hard at playing with optimum sportsmanship with a winning tradition and tournament success.”
Katie Schutjer takes over as head coach of the Warriors after serving as an assistant coach the past two seasons.
“Katie has had an opportunity to work with Coach Jerome for the past two years and observe one of the best,” Gray said. “She will bring some of what Denny has embedded in the program, as well as her own unique style and approach to the game of basketball.”
Schutjer looks forward to beginning the next chapter of her career.
“I am very excited about this opportunity of being the head women’s basketball coach at Waldorf College,” Schutjer said. “Coach Jerome has built such a great program here and I am honored to be able to build off its excellence and tradition.”
Schutjer is a native of Gilman and a 2005 graduate of East Marshall High School. She started her college basketball career at Marshalltown Community College (MCC), earning first-team all-conference and academic honors from the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC).
After receiving her associate of arts degree from MCC, Schutjer continued playing basketball at Simpson College. She helped the Storm win back-to-back Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) championships and NCAA Division III national tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010. As a senior and team captain, Schutjer was a first-team all-conference selection, the team’s Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year and also received all-conference academic honors.
Schutjer graduated from Simpson in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and marketing. She began her coaching career at Simpson under Brian Niemuth – one of the winningest coaches at the Division III level. Aside from being an assistant, she served as head coach for the Storm’s junior varsity squad from 2010-2012.
The 2012-13 academic year was Schutjer’s first season on Jerome’s coaching staff.
“Katie has been a valuable assistant during the last two years,” Jerome said. “She has a passion for basketball. Basketball is a big part of her life. She knows the game and is committed to teaching and guiding student-athletes.”
Coaching alongside Jerome was an invaluable learning experience for Schutjer.
“After serving as Coach Jerome’s assistant the past two years, I have learned a lot on what it takes to build and sustain a successful women’s basketball program, on and off the court,” Schutjer said. “His leadership, dedication and knowledge of the game have shown me how to better myself not only as a coach, but as a mentor and role model to our student-athletes and community.”
As an assistant coach, Schutjer has been active in recruiting and working with the team’s guards to hone their skills.
“Katie is ready for this opportunity,” Jerome said. “She understands the rigors of the coaching profession. She’s worked with the players returning in the program and has been involved in recruiting the incoming class.”
“Katie has the full endorsement from Coach Jerome, which speaks volumes in and of itself,” Gray added. “I am confident that Katie will continue to move our women’s basketball program forward. She is dynamic and tenacious, which I think will be reflected in how our women respond on the court.”
Continuing the program’s tradition of excellence on and off the court is Schutjer’s primary objective.
“I want to teach core values that will lead to success on the court, in the classroom and within the community,” Schutjer said. “Showing my players how to embrace the process of being a student-athlete and women’s college basketball player is part of my winning coaching philosophy that I will strive to instill within the program.”
Jerome will continue serving Waldorf as associate athletic director. Stepping away from coaching, he said “change will be good.”
During his coaching career, Jerome developed close relationships with his assistant coaches and graduate assistants, along with an appreciation for opposing coaches and game officials.
“It’s a profession that has provided me with great friendships,” Jerome said. “I’m also grateful for my wife, Kathy. She has been devoted to each player for four decades and has added class to the program. She has been an ideal coach’s wife.”
The 2014-15 season will mark a new era for Waldorf women’s basketball. Jerome believes it’s time for the program to embrace a new beginning.
“I’m confident it will be a smooth transition,” Jerome said. “Change will be good for the program.”