There are two ways to view taking over a powerhouse program after it’s been led by a wildly successful head coach over a long period of time.
On one hand, you have big shoes to fill.
On the other, you’re not exactly walking into a bare-cupboard situation.
New Central girls volleyball coach Megan Awe — who was officially announced as the head coach on Wednesday after it was approved Tuesday night — is certainly aware of both viewpoints as she takes over for Charlie Berg, who won five WIAA state titles after being named their head coach in 1985.
“He’s a huge shadow to fill,” Awe said in a phone interview Wednesday night. “He’s definitely built a huge dynasty here. Anyone in the state, if you know anything about volleyball, you know about this progam.”
Which remains stocked with plenty of talent.
“They are returning a ton to the program,” Awe said.
Awe, 31, isn’t an unfamiliar face to the area.
She’s been involved with the Wisconsin Juniors Volleyball Club for the last seven years and was the junior varsity coach at Bradford the last three.
A 2009 graduate of UW-Platteville, Awe is in her fourth year teaching anatomy and physiology and ecology at Indian Trail.
Before arriving in Kenosha County, Awe coached at Union Grove. It was as a Southern Lakes Conference rival, as well as through club volleyball, that she met Berg.
“He was one of the first coaches to be really polite to me and really help me out,” Awe said.
Which makes the transition a bit ironic.
Berg didn’t leave the program on his own terms but rather as part of a messy and unfortunate situation.
Central finished the 2016 regular season ranked fifth in Division-1 but never played a point in the WIAA Tournament. The Falcons were disqualified in October after a scheduling error came to light following the Falcons’ appearance in the SLC Tournament.
It was their eighth tournament of the season, and the WIAA allows teams to play in only seven.
Central self-reported the violation, and the WIAA ruled the Falcons ineligible for the postseason — a decision that was upheld after an appeal.
Berg, who took responsibility and declined to spread blame — “There’s nobody that feels worse than me,” he told the News — was asked to resign. When he declined, the district decided in December not to renew his contract and to find a new head coach.
Now the program moves forward with Awe, who had nothing but positive things to say about Berg on Wednesday when asked if it would be difficult to take over after what occurred.
“Charlie Berg was nothing but a great person to me when I first got over here,” she said. “... I’m just blessed to be here and hope to keep the strong tradition going.”
Awe said she’s met briefly with the returning players, many of which already knew her from club and her time in the area.
“I’m a familiar face,” she said.
Teams can hold their first official practice on Aug. 14.
“It’s very humbling, to be honest,” Awe said. “It’s exciting, but it’s very humbling looking back to where I started and to where I am right now.”