Story by Brad Carlson, Photos by Jim Peterson
In 2010, Hartman became Idaho’s athletic oddity, since boys’ high school volleyball is lacking and upon graduating from EHS, he landed a college scholarship to play volleyball. But Hartman spent his earlier years in Wisconsin and Colorado, playing two years on school teams. As a seventh grader, he moved with his family to Eagle, where he piece-mealed together opportunities to keep growing his game. For his sophomore and junior years, he returned to Colorado – staying with family friends – to compete on a Parker High School boys’ team. It was a good decision. They won a state title his first year and finished runner-up his second year. College men’s volleyball teams were already recruiting him when he returned to Idaho for his senior year at EHS.
Time on the Saddle
“There were not a lot of boys playing volleyball. I went to great lengths to play as much as possible,” Hartman recalled. “I played in every tournament I could.” In southwest Idaho, he entered grass-court tournaments involving men’s or co-ed teams, organized pick-up games and early on was the only boy on an under-14 girls’ club team. “I was playing volleyball every chance I could get,” Hartman admitted. “I would eat, sleep and breathe volleyball.”
The effort paid off. By his senior season at Cardinal Stritch University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Milwaukee, the 6-foot-3-inch Hartman was named to the all-conference team as a setter. He went on to serve for two seasons as a graduate assistant coach with the women’s team at Illinois State University, where he earned his master’s degree. He worked last season as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, and is coaching a U-16 Idaho Crush club headed to a national tournament in July. He has also worked at the College of Idaho in student administration.
“I was excited to come back home, and when the Eagle coaching job opened, I thought it would be a perfect fit,” Hartman said. He succeeds Michelle Dodds, who went 39-17 in three seasons as EHS head coach and led the team to a state tournament appearance, the Idaho Statesman reported. Dodds created the vacancy by moving to Florida.
This fall’s Mustang team returns experienced varsity players, and Hartman will aim for a bid to the state 5-A tournament in Coeur d’Alene. His sister, Kylie, who graduated from Eagle High in 2009, was part of championship-winning volleyball teams her final two years. “I am hoping to bring the program back to that level of success,” Hartman said.
“As a player, I learned it’s not easy. There are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed and there is a lot coming at you,” he warned, “but the opportunities inherent in a team atmosphere – like camaraderie, overcoming challenges, and being strong in the classroom and community – make it all worthwhile.”