Vicki Seliger-Swenson coaching in 2016. Her niece Tara Lee is to her right. (Star Tribune file photo)

The coronavirus pandemic forced longtime Hopkins volleyball coach Vicki Seliger-Swenson out of the gym for an extended period of time for the first time in years.

She decided it’s not that bad.

Seliger-Swenson announced Thursday that she was stepping down from coaching the Royals after 25 years at the helm. She guided them to five state tournament trips, including three in a row from 2015 to 2017.

She was the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association State Coach of the Year in 2007.

“With everything shut down, we were staying at home more and it gave me the opportunity to look at life through a different perspective,” said Seliger-Swenson, whose daughter is former Gophers star setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson. “It was an opportunity to look at life and see where volleyball fits into it. I’m ready to just be a mom and take care of the three kids I have at home.”

One reason for her decision was out of concern for her parents, she said. “I take care of them. They’re 88 and 84 years old. They still live independently, but I’m their assistant. I do the grocery shopping, drive them places, take them to appointments,” she said.

Seliger-Swenson, who also coaches junior volleyball in the offseason for Northern Lights, said she’s not sure if she’s going to continue to do that when the club season starts again in the late fall.

Asked when she expects to start missing coaching, she blurted “Today! I've been in the gym every August since I was 14."

When the news was announced, Seliger-Swenson said her phone blew up with messages and call from friends and former players.

“I think I cried all yesterday. It’s bittersweet, but there was peace in the morning. I certainly didn’t set out to be a high school coach for 25 years – it was my first head coaching job out of college. After so many years of taking care of other people, I’m ready to take care of myself and see what the next chapter in my life looks like.”

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