When Danielle Steinberg looks back on her time at Wichita State as assistant head coach, she couldn’t help but recall the presence of K-State fans in the air capital.
“First of all, I knew what K-State means in Kansas,” Steinberg said. “I knew the K-State people and the atmosphere in the athletic department. A lot of people don’t know what the mentality is here. They don’t know that it’s a family. Even when I was in Wichita, you see a lot of KU fans, you see a lot of K-State fans, but I always admired the K-State people. They always were in their purple and I really appreciated that. They had loyalty and true support for their school. It definitely was an easier transition for me, beyond the fact that I knew the state. I knew what the school means in Kansas.”
The first-year head coach enters Manhattan following a two-year stint at McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She tallied a 29-17 record while coaching the Cowgirls, and garnered Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors following this past season.
Having competed collegiately and coached against a number of the country’s top programs, stepping into the Big 12 isn’t unfamiliar territory. Steinberg watched K-State and its conference cohorts while she spent time coaching the Cowgirls and Wichita State.
“It’s very exciting,” Steinberg said. “Big 12 tennis is one of the best conferences in the country. We’re going to be up against a top, nationally-ranked team a lot. On one hand, it’s a challenge, but on another this is what you want in playing against the best. It gets me excited for recruiting because I can also say tell them they are going to play against the best in the country. All the coaches in the Big 12 are great and very competitive and we’re going to continue to try to make it the best tennis conference in the country.”
A native of Tel Aviv, Israel, Steinberg now holds a roster with eight international players. Having recruited a number of players from the 2014-15 team, it added to the desired familiarity with a program.
“I consider myself a college tennis junkie, so I know a lot of players across the country by name and result,” Steinberg said. “I actually knew some of these girls from recruiting them before I had come to K-State. I had an actual relationship with two or three girls on the team. The rest, more or less, I knew their personality from competition or talking about them with other coaches. I didn’t even meet the whole team, but I feel like I already know them and they’re already my players. It’ll be a very smooth transition for both me and the players.”
Steinberg replaces Steve Bietau, who retired in March after 30 seasons as the program’s coach.
“I knew coach Bietau personally,” Steinberg said. “We played against them when I was in Wichita and, funny enough, I knew most of the girls on the team from recruiting them. That’s one of the things that drew me to the position is the kind of girls that are on the team are the kind of girls that fit my style and the team that I like to have. That’s one of the first things that caught my attention about the job.”
While working with the blueprints that Bietau installed in the program, Steinberg said she looks forward to implementing her style moving forward.
“Coach Bieatu did a great job recruiting and brought great players to K-State,” Steinberg said. “I’ll be doing things a little differently just as far as practice setup and individual development goes, but we want to see this as a fresh start of K-State tennis and hopefully build something really successful for the future.”