Pending board approval, Bloem moves from an assistant role to the leader

When MacKenzie Bloem ventured off to the University of Northern Iowa in the fall of 2011, she knew she wanted two things out of her professional life: to become a teacher and to become a head coach.

She accomplished the first goal in 2016. The second goal became a reality on Friday.

Pending board approval, Bloem will become the new head volleyball coach at Gilbert in the fall. Activities Director Ian Smith offered Bloem the position Friday morning and she quickly accepted.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach,” Bloem said. “I don’t think it’s quite set in yet, but I’m so excited and I’m already starting to think about what’s coming up and how we can get started. I’m just so pumped!”

A 2011 graduate of South Hamilton High School where she was a four-sport athlete, Bloem graduated from UNI with an elementary education degree in 2016. She came to Gilbert as a third-grade teacher in the fall of 2016 and has spent the last seven seasons serving as a coach for the volleyball program. She was the junior varsity coach for five seasons before transitioning into the role of varsity assistant coach in 2021.

Bloem has a passion for the Gilbert volleyball program, and she feels like she’s ready to take that next step in her coaching career.

“It’s that next challenge for me,” she said. “I see so much potential in our volleyball program with the athletes that are coming through. I want to harvest that potential and help it grow into something more special than it already is.”

Bloem follows in the footsteps of her coaching mentor Stacy Johnson, who retired in February after a 14-year run with the program, including the previous 12 seasons as the head coach, a span that produced 266 victories. Bloem was a part of the coaching staff that helped guide Gilbert to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2020.

“I learned so much from Stacy,” Bloem said. “Getting to watch her coach and getting to ask her questions over the years has been huge for my development as a coach.

“I just want to say thank you to Stacy for everything she’s done for me and for the program.”

Smith was thrilled to welcome Bloem aboard as the new volleyball head coach. He has the utmost confidence in her to lead the program moving forward.

“We are so excited to have MacKenzie Bloem lead our volleyball program,” Smith said. “She will do a great job of building on the foundation left by Coach Stacy Johnson. MacKenzie’s positive attitude and coaching expertise will be great assets to our student-athletes.”