Ultiworld Club Awards 2023: Coach(es) of the Year (Mixed Div.)

The masterminds behind the division's best teams

Ultiworld is pleased to announce our annual Club Awards. While we consider both regular season and postseason performance, because of the nature of the Club division, we weight success in the Series and at Nationals above all else. The Club Awards are voted on by Ultiworld reporters, contributors, and editors.

The Coach(es) of the Year closes our annual awards. As so many teams have added more and more sideline-savvy consultants to their roster with less asked of a single head coach, this has essentially morphed into “Coaching Staff of the Year.” Coaches can impact the game in so many ways — tactics, motivation, communication, personnel management, program development, skill-building, etc. — and it can be hard to divine what exactly each has contributed to their team. But good coaching is something that we feel that “we know it when we see it.”

Player of the Year Award
All-Club First Team
All-Club Second Team
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Coach(es) of the Year Award
Club Awards Voting Breakdown
Snubs and Superlatives


 

2023 Mixed Division Coach(es) of the Year

Marvin Vuong (Fort Collins shame.)

Fort Collins shame. coach Marvin Vuong at the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com

It takes a special kind of person to not just join a team like Fort Collins shame. nearly a decade into their existence as a team that has largely kept the same core roster during that time, but to lead it. Marvin Vuong is a special person. His tactical mind was able to take advantage of the shame. roster’s overwhelming set of skills and apply them to teamwide strategy. Just as important, Vuong’s emotional intelligence to communicate his ideas to a group of seasoned veterans was a difference maker in shame.’s march to the championship. With his voice prominent in huddles and shouting encouragement from the sideline, Vuong left his mark on his new team.

“He keeps the pace of the game going,” shame.’s Aubree Dietrich said before Nationals, “which I think helps shame. the most, because most of shame. has played for many, many years. So most people know the strategy, know what they’re supposed to do, but just keeping your head in the game and keeping up, ‘oh, we need to do this now, we need to get this down.’”

“Marvin just did a great job keeping things cool and telling us what we needed to do when we needed to do it,” shame.’s Owen Westbrook said after winning the final. “It takes so much pressure off of the players and the captains to not have to think about that stuff and have somebody saying all of the right things for us. Marvin was huge for us.”

– Alex Rubin

First Runner-up

Marshall Goff, Sophia Herscu, and Courtney Verhaalen (Boston Slow)

Boston Slow at the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

For years, Marshall Goff has been one of the glues bringing Boston Slow together. Even after the past few seasons of disappointments at Nationals, Goff has remained invested and devoted. This year, with Sophia Herscu and newcomer Court Verhaalen by his side, things started to change for the Boston team. Winning Northeast Regionals and making it to the quarterfinal at Nationals this season after spending the past few barely scraping by1 is not a fluke, nor is it something that can solely be attributed to some talent they’ve gained this season. Rather, it came from how their talent was utilized. Their collective mind for strategy while adding an interpersonal touch and some style2 is something any great coaching staff can learn from.

“We have a really phenomenal coaching staff. It’s pretty tough playing on a team like Slow that has so much veteran talent because it’s a lot harder to just pre-prescribe a set system,” said Slow captain Zach Wolfe. “[Goff and Herscu have] done a good job of taking in all that information and figuring out how best to use it and how best to create a playbook on both sides of the disc that compliments our strengths really well. And then I’d be super remiss not to mention Court Verhaalen who has come onto the team this year and has mainly been a line caller for us. They’ve been doing a good job at that, always putting out good lines, taking into account a lot of different things; making sure that every line is equipped with what they need to get the job done. Our coaching staff is super engaged and devotes a ton of time to the team and compliments each other well. Everyone has their role and is doing really well.”

– Laura Osterlund

Second Runner-up

Carlos Lopez, John Groess, and Maggie Peck (Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust)

Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust at the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – UltiPhotos.com

It’s been quite the rollercoaster of a season for Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust. But remaining a steady presence through all of the highs and lows have been the coaching staff of Carlos Lopez, John Groess, and Maggie Peck. In their first season all coaching together, they made a well-rounded trio. Lopez worked as the mastermind behind Drag’n’s strategies, coming up with plans and putting the trust in his team to execute. Even in the many hard moments for the team this season, he kept a positive front, never wavering in spirit. During the moments when Drag’n were playing well and forcing turns from their opponents, he would simply say, “The plan is working.” Returning to the team for the first time since 2019, Groess brought back his experience and knowledge of the game and kept up a strong presence on the sideline. And Peck brought a fresh player and peer perspective that brought balance to the coaching team.

“[Lopez’s] mind for strategy, as well as his ability to work with people on a really individual level is really awesome to watch up close. Seeing it at this level with this team has been really awesome. [Groess has] been awesome to have on the sidelines; he calls lines for us. He does a really good job and his knowledge is huge,” said Peck about her co-coaches. “So I really enjoy working with both of them now in this different role that I have; to see those things and get to hear the behind-the-scenes conversations, I just really appreciate their knowledge of the game.”

– Laura Osterlund


  1. Read: getting knocked out on day one at Natties 

  2. All three coaches were seen donning shiny gold blazers during bracket play at Nationals 

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

  2. Laura Osterlund
    Laura Osterlund

    Laura picked up a disc her senior year of high school and hasn't put it down since. She played on the mixed/open team at Bethel University where she graduated with a journalism degree. Based out of the Twin Cities, MN, you can find her engaging in all levels of Ultimate: working with Minnesota Strike, playing mixed club, and grinding at local ultimate and goalty leagues. Her ultimate accomplishment - besides helping start a women's league (coming spring 2024) - is winning Z league with Big Blue.

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