Smooth transition: Tyler easily adjusting to assistant role

Mitchell assistant coach Amy Tyler watches the Kernels during warm-ups prior to a match against Sioux Falls Lincoln on Thursday in the MHS gym.
Matt Gade

Amy Tyler has a new role this season.

The long-time Wagner volleyball coach and her husband, John, joined the Mitchell school district this year. John, who is a Mitchell native and Dakota Wesleyan University graduate, is principal at the Mitchell Middle School.

Amy joined Mitchell’s volleyball coaching staff, but not as the head coach. Instead, she’s an assistant after being a head coach since 2003.

But that’s fine with Amy since she’s still around the sport she loves.

“I thought it was going to be a lot harder and it hasn’t been at all,” Amy Tyler said. “I actually enjoy the moments that I get to spend with all of the athletes and just the coaching in general. I love to be in a gym. I love to be with the girls.”


It helps that Tyler built a relationship with Kernel coach Deb Thill. They’ve known each other since Tyler played college volleyball at Dakota Wesleyan University, while she also assisted with MHS volleyball camps in recent years. Thill and Tyler are coaches on the Corn Palace Area Club program.

“The transition has been pretty much flawless,” Tyler said. “I have known Deb for years. We kind of have similar ideas about how programs should run and the expectations for the kids. It’s been pretty easy for me.”

It’s also been easy for Thill adding another established coach to the staff. Thill and Tyler have accumulated more than 400 wins in their coaching careers, while each have two state championships on their résumé.

“It was a very seamless entry because all of us on our staff teach things the same way and have the same expectations,” Thill said. “It’s nice to have another voice and another set of eyes and another person who is trying to help everybody be better.”

It’s not only Tyler’s first year in a new role, but also in a new class. After coaching the Class A Red Raiders, Tyler is now seeing Class AA action from a closer view.

“It’s a lot faster,” Tyler said. “You have to talk about the block a lot more. You have to talk about just the speed of the game. It just goes so much faster. Defensively, I feel like you have to be a little bit more on point in AA.”

She’s also not the only Tyler on the team that’s enjoying a smooth transition. Amy’s daughter, Lizzie, is a sophomore outside hitter and she’s also fit in nicely with the Kernels. She has recorded 45 kills, 42 digs and eight aces through five matches.

“She’s just a student of the game and I have really enjoyed the team I have spent with her,” Amy Tyler said. “She’s really come in here and sort of the same way. It was a flawless transition for her and she was accepted right away. The Mitchell kids are amazing -- all around. It’s been a really good transition.”


The Kernels (1-4) play at Spearfish today and will host Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Sept. 19.

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