Royslands headed rival teams for 15 yearsIf you think coaching against your sibling would be difficult, as the Harbaughs are doing today in the Super Bowl, imagine what it would be like coaching against your spouse.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
If you think coaching against your sibling would be difficult, as the Harbaughs are doing today in the Super Bowl, imagine what it would be like coaching against your spouse.
Kim and Mike Roysland don’t have to imagine it. They did it for 15 years. And, often, they did it with high stakes on the line.
For those 15 years, ending in 1997, they were high school volleyball coaches on opposite sides of the net, Kim with Fosston, Minn., and Mike with Win-E-Mac. More often than not during that stretch, a Roysland-coached team represented northwestern Minnesota in the Class A state tournament. Their successes are best reflected by both being among the 59 members of the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
So, it may not have been the Super Bowl, but it was high school volleyball’s version of it.
“I won more of the games against her, but she is one-up on me because she won three state championships to my one,” Mike said.
Extra fuel was thrown on the fire because neighboring Fosston and Win-E-Mac are each other’s biggest rival. Even with that extra element, the Royslands agree that their coaching situation was easier than others imagined.
“Those were tough matches in post-season play, but we both looked at it as a positive, that we had two chances to move on in the tournament,” Kim said. “The focus by both of us was on our players and preparing them the best we could.”
Mike agreed that the tournament showdowns were difficult, but added that they also put the competition in perspective on several levels.
“Even if you won, you really didn’t win because (your spouse) lost,” he said. “It was difficult for a day or two afterwards.
“But it also gave us the realization that it’s only a game. You do the best you can and when it’s over, it’s over.”
It wasn’t as trying as most others imagined, he said. “The most-asked question we faced was: ‘Who’s sleeping on the couch tonight?’
“Rather than look at that question as a negative, we thought it was great that people were interested and wanted to watch our games.”
Rather than being divisive, Kim said coaching the same sport provided a common bond and an automatic conversation-starter for the couple.
“Our main focus was on the players and preparing them the best that we could,” she said. “We tried not to take it personally.
“It also showed us that, although it’s hard for your season to come to an end, you need to let it go.”
Mike is coaching, but the sport is women’s basketball at University of Minnesota, Crookston. Kim ended a 25-season career as Fosston’s volleyball coach in 2004, but is still teaching there.
“It’s nice watching Mike’s games because I don’t have all the stress now,” she said. “I still get nervous for him, but it’s not nearly as much as when I coached.”
Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.