State Stories

07

Peg Kopec on Fred Rakers

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Wheaton St. Francis girl's volleyball head coach Peg Kopec on Fred Rakers:

“Fred is girl’s volleyball in Illinois. He spent so many years in the game and he reached the pinnacle and then moved the pinnacle higher. He impacted countless numbers of young women during his career…including my daughter.”

Legendary Mater Dei girl’s volleyball coach Fred Rakers’ (who passed away from cancer on November 6, 2013) career will indelibly be linked with that of Wheaton St. Francis coach Peg Kopec. Rakers and Kopec are the winningest girl's volleyball coaches in state history (they both won their 1,000th career matches in a span of just over a month in 2009) and rank in the Top 15 all-time nationally. Success would seem to be their lone link, considering their schools are separated by over 300 miles, and despite a combined 37 state tournament appearances, they have only met four times in the state tourney (splitting 2-2). However, Kopec’s daughter Erin played for Rakers’ daughter Jen (Rakers) Calloway at the University of South Carolina Upstate, where Calloway began coaching in 1996 and continues today. Erin Kopec was then hired by Fred to serve as a coach in the Mater Dei program for two years after college, before she returned home to work with her mother.