Another familiar face will be walking the sidelines at Meadowdale High School.
Two weeks after Meadowdale graduate Roger O’Neill was hired as the new boys basketball coach, another former Maverick standout is coming home.
Caitlyn (Rohrbach) Houvener, a 2006 Meadowdale alum, was named the new girls basketball coach last Tuesday. Houvener, whose last name was Rohrbach in high school, her husband Hunter and their six-month old son Mason recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family. The three had been living in Knoxville, Tenn.
Former coach Marcus Merrifield decided that the commute from his home in Lake Stevens was taking too much time away from his family. Merrifield recently accepted a teaching position at Lake Stevens High School.
When Houvener, 27, saw the posting about the coaching position at Meaodowdale High School, she didn’t hesitate in applying.
“It was definitely where I felt like it would be a really good fit,” she said. “It would be an awesome opportunity at your alma mater. I have a ton of pride where Meadowdale is concerned. I had a four-year career here. It helped me get recruited into college. … It was definitely exciting to possibly be back at Meadowdale. It just worked out. It was perfect timing. It just felt right.”
Houvener was a four-year starter at Meadowdale and was part of the 2004 team that won a state championship. After high school, Houvener played for one year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before transferring to Seattle Pacific University where she finished out her college career.
Following college, Houvener coached AAU basketball for two seasons and then moved to Knoxville where she was the freshman and varsity assistant coach at Bearden High School. Her most recent coaching experience was as an assistant at Webb School of Knoxville where she worked with Shelley Collier, a former player under legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. Webb School won its second straight state championship in February. After the season ended, Houvener and her family moved back home.
Since Mason was born, he’s been coming to the gym with his mother. That’s not going to change.
“Don’t be surprised if you see Mason running around at the games,” Houvener said.
As for her coaching strengths, Houvener cites her energy and vision for the girls basketball program.
“I am a pretty positive, encouraging coach,” she said. “I would take the girls and really try to motivate and encourage them. I have been able to coach under some great coaches the last few years. I’m excited to bring some new energy to the program and to get to know the girls. I want to get back to the fundamentals and the basics. It should be fun.
“I definitely want to be a team that when people are watching they can tell how hard-working we are and the girls are working together and having fun.”
The Mavericks are coming off a tough season in which they went 2-10 in league play (6-14 overall). Meadowdale graduated three seniors and will have six returning juniors next season.
“I think we’re a pretty young program,” Houvener said. “We’ll definitely be building the next few years.”
Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden provides kind of a blueprint for what Houvener hopes to accomplish in her program. The goal, she said, is to get a little bit better than the day before.
“John Wooden said if you’ve given it your all and you’ve given it your best, then you’ve succeeded,” Houvener said.
– By David Pan