By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Natalie Darwitz used to start for the gophers — she even served as an assistant coach for the university. But now she is the head coach of her own high school program at Lakeville South.

On the ice, she was lightning when girls hockey was coming into the fold. She played for the University of Minnesota, and success followed.

She was selected to play on the US Olympic team. And from her experiences playing in many teams, under many coaches, Darwitz learned much.

Recently, she decided to take that knowledge and share it.

“I’ve kind of been fortunate enough to take a little chunk from all those coaches – things that I’ve liked, things that I haven’t liked – and come out here and instill it in these girls,” she said.

At Lakeville South, Darwitz says she is having a lot of fun.

“It’s fun to be able to mold the team…and be able to lay that out,” she said.

Tori Bailey, a Lakeville South Senior, says that playing under Darwitz is “like the best experience ever.”

“She just brings a positive attitude; she brings hard work,” Bailey said.

Darwitz’s girls aren’t just enamored with her Olympic athlete status, either. In fact, the sheen appears to have worn off.

“They kind of realize I’m a everyday Joe Schmo, and kind of dorky,” Darwitz said.

Still, Darwitz’s girls are eager to impress her and make the right play.

“It’s a real honor to play for her,” Bailey said.


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