Alex Kirk was a three-time letterwinner at UW.
Aug. 24, 2011
SEATTLE -The University of Washington is honoring 20 seasons of women's soccer at UW at the first home football game on Sept. 3. All season, fans can log on and see special Q&A's with members of previous teams.
From now until Sept. 1, fans can vote on their favorite Huskies are each position and the winners will be announced on Sept. 3. Vote by clicking here.
Tamara Hageage (born Browder) was the first Goalkeeper for the Huskies in school history. Hegeage followed former coach Dang Pibulvech from the high ranked and successful Colorado College to set up the Women's Soccer team at UW in 1991. In 1990, Hegeage helped Colorado College her freshmen year to reach the NCAA Division I College Cup semifinals before she came to UW. Hageage still ranks in the top three in school history in GAA, saves and shutouts and is now goalkeeping coach at EWU in her 12th season.
Find out more about Hegeage's decision to transfer to UW and what she took away from her time here in the Northwest in her Q&A's below.
Why did you decided to leave Colorado College and come with your coach to start a program at UW?
Colorado College is a wonderful school and in a beautiful location, however, for me it was too small. In addition, I did not do well academically on the block plan, which is where you take one class for 4 ½ weeks. The block plan was like being in finals week all the time. I found it to be very stressful. I was a German major and German grammar in 4 ½ weeks was not fun!
Were you skeptical about starting a brand new program after the success you had at Colorado?
I really did not give it much thought. Soccer wise I was very happy at C.C. but I was miserable off the field. When my coach asked me to go with him I jumped at the chance because I was so unhappy academically.
How would you describe your student-athlete experience at UW?
It was perfect. It was just what I needed at that point in my life. Our team may not have been ranked as high as C.C. but we were completive and were treated well by our administration. Best of all I excelled in the classroom and, with my academic stress reduced, I was able to enjoy and really focus on soccer.
What does/did it mean for you to be the first goalkeeper at UW, especially with all the greats that have come since, like Hope Solo?
As a player back then I wanted to be the best and set the bar high. Now that I have been out of college and have had the privilege to watch the UW program grow and excel under Coach Gallimore and Coach Griffin, I really feel like I am a part of something very special. I am a huge fan of the coaching staff, UW Women's Soccer and of Hope Solo! Go Dawgs!!!
If you could do college all over again, what would you change?
When going through the recruiting process I would have put athletic scholarship lower on my list of requirements. I would have focused first on academics and the location of the school as I found out quickly that the realms of athletics and academics equally affect each other. In order to be truly happy and successful a student-athlete should choose a school where they can excel in both areas. I would have enjoyed and embraced every game and not just the one's I played in. I would have cheered equally hard when I was injured, benched or starting.
How did UW change your life and get you to where you are now?
Great question; long answer! UW gave me a wonderful education and athletic experience. I grew up in many ways while at UW. I learned some hard life lessons in many areas, such as how to manage my money (or lack of money!), how to live on my own and that just because I work hard doesn't mean I will get what I want. It reinforced in me what I was taught at home, good work is honest work and honest work is good work. The greatest pain in life is not an injury, bad grade or lost game. It is regret. As I made my way through my college years I made my share of mistakes but I was always honest with myself and others so I have no regrets not to mention a fine education!
What did you learn at UW that you used for your coaching style and that you now use at EWU?
First of all, I make sure that on every recruiting visit I share the mistakes I made during that process and open their eyes to what a student-athlete goes through. I always try to remember how I felt as a student-athlete. I remember what I liked, disliked and wish I would have had or done. With that life experience I try to coach in a way to give my players everything they need to be successful and happy on and off the field.
You still rank in the top 3 in school history in GAA, saves and shutouts, what do those records mean to you? And you still hold the school record in a season for saves and in a single game with saves...
Well as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the game but you can't take the game out of the girl! Of course, there is a part of me that is like "Ha! You can't touch this!" That being said, records are meant to be broken and in order for UW to continue to move forward I need to hope that in the near future they will disappear, at least in the area of GAA and shutouts. As a coach, having a goalkeeper breaking records in the saves department is not usually a good indication!
You have played UW several times as an assistant at EWU, how did it feel coaching against them?
I was actually really excited for my players to get the opportunity to compete at that level. A team is only as good as their competition. It was an odd feeling though, I must admit. (We have played them three times, twice away and once at home.)
You have created great goalkeepers yourself at EWU such as Tiera Como, what has been the key to your success? Never settling and never thinking I have arrived. A professional player and a professional coach have one very important thing in common, the good ones constantly seek out more information, more education and never rest on their laurels!