Makenzie Gillaspie is trading in her purple-and-white for red-and-white, at least on the soccer field.
A school psychologist for the Park Hill School District, she was recently named the new head girls soccer coach at Park Hill after spending four years as an assistant at Park Hill South.
She recently held a soccer camp and got her first dose of being a head coach.
“With the camp and organizing that stuff, it feels like (a head coach), but it still feels surreal,” Gillaspie said. “It hasn’t hit home yet. It will once we start conditioning for spring ball.”
She takes over for Brandt Bell, who recently stepped down after a successful tenure at his alma mater that included the 2018 Class 4 state title.
She inherits a roster that went 12-8 this past spring with a tough non-conference slate.
Gillaspie is a native of Elkhorn, Neb., where she was an all-stater in both softball and soccer.
She helped her high school win state titles her final two years and converted the game-winning penalty kick in both the semifinal and championship game as a senior.
Her soccer talents led her to the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin. She spent four years as a starter there and was named to All-Horizon League roster, as well as the Horizon League All-Tournament team.
She started 79 games for the Panthers, which was tied sixth most in the program history when she left in 2011.
Gillaspie served as a graduate assistant at Nebraska-Omaha the next season, when she completed her master’s degree. That was the start of the transition from a Division II to a Division I program for the Mavericks. She also coached a club team while back in the Omaha area.
After graduating from UNO, she moved to Kansas City and thanks to Joe Tiogo, the former boys and girls soccer coach at Park Hill South, landed a job as an assistant coach for both programs.
Now, she will transition into a head coach for the first time at the high school level.
“This is a totally different environment,” Gillaspie said. “There is a balance between keeping what is working and me not changing a lot. It’s been a program with the bar set high. My competitive nature aligns with this team, it is a good fit.”