Success Starts from the Top

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Posted Thu, Apr 23, 2015

Coach Pietz has a distinguished career of success at MSU Denver. [Image via gometrostate.com]

COACH ‘EM UP: Adrianne Pietz has a distinguished career of success at MSU Denver. [Image via gometrostate.com]

DENVER, Auraria Campus — That unmistakable musty smell of freshly vacuumed carpet hung in the air as it does in all office-type buildings. Busy people strode about with purpose, decked out in suits and clearly too busy to even notice that there is another human being crammed into the criminally-small space that exists in the elevator. The lights flickered…1…2…3…*bing* and the doors opened.

Enter Adrianne Pietz

The suits made their way out, swinging left down the hall in frantic fashion. Yet to the right, though the office-vibe remained, a dramatic shift occurred. Pant suits were replaced by track suits, blazers by windbreakers. The walls were plastered in banners, posters, and athletic merchandise of every shape and style. Students giggled and chatted merrily away in the computer lab, all so very sheltered from the drabness that existed outside. Within the labyrinthine halls of organized clutter and prideful displays of school décor, lay the office of the head coach for MSU Denver’s Women’s Soccer Team, Adrianne Pietz.

Not a single inch of the wall was left bare; the number of plaques celebrating Pietz’s achievements arranged like wallpaper across the cramped office. Pietz sat and swiveled in her chair, extremely at ease. Her demeanor was polite and calm, but every sentence she uttered dripped with a cool confidence and solid determinism. “Success starts from the top,” she said.

Pietz was referring to the now ex-athletic director, Joan McDermott. Under McDermott’s leadership, the Metro Athletics Department enjoyed a period of sustained success, typified by new sports facilities, NCAA tournament appearances, and an impressive track record in the classroom. Pietz was humble, pointing to the fact that her team has a stable base of support and a high level of expectation to succeed, often playing down her role in their success.

An Impressive Record

For Pietz, finding the right players is the key to success. [Image via metrostatesoccercamps.com]

PICK OF THE LITTER: For Adrianne Pietz, finding the right players is the key to success. [Image via metrostatesoccercamps.com]

But it would be remiss not to mention her track record. Pietz currently boasts a .708 winning percentage in the RMAC since she took over as head coach in 2008. Her team has also reached the NCAA Tournament stage 13 times in a row; the longest active streak in the RMAC. She was a national championship winner as a player in 2004 and as assistant coach in 2006.

Being no stranger to success, Pietz says that the relative success of a team relies on having that special player.

“You can teach defending,” Pietz said. “It’s about having that one player who can make a difference, who can take over a game.”

As such, much of Pietz’s time during the offseason is spent at college showcases and recruitment camps. The best players are usually picked off by NCAA Division I schools, who have bigger programs and more scholarships, but Metro’s good reputation and Pietz’s keen eye for talent allows her to remain competitive in an often cut-throat market. It comes as no surprise then, that Pietz’s walls are covered with plaques of All-American players she has coached in the past. She is keeping her cards close to her chest as far as the new talent coming in to the next season, but she said there are a few she expects big things from.

Winning Mentality

With players coming in and going out, it may seem difficult from the outside to maintain a stable and competitive team, but Pietz has done a great job of creating successful teams year after year. Her own experience as a captain for Metro State not only gives her knowledge of the game both inside and out, but she also knows what it’s like to be a Metro student, having graduated with a B.A. in Business Management. As such she can communicate with her players as a coach and as a peer, which helps new talent to settle more quickly, and helps with overall player management. Having been a victor, she also instills a winning mentality in her team; an important attribute in a game of fine margins where the team that wants it more often triumphs.

As for her personal future, Coach Pietz takes it day by day, having married her husband, Mike Pietz, in 2013 (she was formerly Adrianne Almaraz). The two are settled and happy, and it would have to be an extremely tantalizing job to uproot them. For now, her eyes are set on next season, already planning new tactical formations that will play to the strengths of a new crop of attacking talent. Pietz is ever-evolving her approach to the game, and her attitude towards winning the conference is exceedingly simple: “We can do it every year.”

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