In her college basketball career at Thiel College, Jess Vormelker was used to playing — and trying to beat — Waynesburg University since the two schools were in the same athletic conference.
Starting this season, the Grand Valley graduate will be on the other side.
Vormelker accepted a graduate position with the Waynesburg women's basketball team. She officially starts on Thursday.
"It will be strange to coach against Thiel, especially the first time," Vormelker said. "But I think it will be a lot of fun. The goal is to always win."
Vormelker will also take classes at Waynesburg for a masters in education. After completing the two-year program, she can start applying for assistant coaching positions at the college level.
Vormelker is looking forward to the next chapter.
"I still feel blessed to around the game I love and have played my whole life," she said. "I know ultimately I'm heading in the right direction because that's what God wanted. It will be different not playing anymore."
Waynesburg, a Division III school located about 50 south of Pittsburgh, plays in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. They finished 8-18, 6-10 in the conference last season.
Practice doesn't officially start until Oct. 15, but work has already begun and will continue.
"I have a love for the game," Vormelker said. "I'm a people person and I can connect with people. I feel I can help in those areas."
Vormelker said even though the position is for a grad assistant, her duties will be like an assistant coach.
"I won't be at the bottom of the totem pole," she said. "I'll have responsibilities like recruiting, watching video."
Being at Thiel, Vormelker was familiar with Waynesburg.
"The head coach (Sam Jones) called Thiel and asked what my plans are," she said. "It worked out perfectly."
After starring at Thiel, which included earning 2019 all-American honors, Vormelker sought to continue playing.
She was invited a combine in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in early April in Tampa, then to a Women’s International Showcase in Las Vegas last month.
But nothing materialized.
"I would have loved to travel the world," she said.
Vormelker has a two-year commitment at Waynesburg, but hasn't ruled out playing again competitively one day.
"I don't think the door will be closed," she said.
In the interim, Vormelker said she'll concentrate on the task at hand and lend her knowledge of the game in trying to help improve the Waynesburg program with the support of her family and friends.
"My parents and brothers are very excited for me to keep chasing my dreams," she said.