Volleyball has taken Jaimie Lee Hosfeld so far she’s back to where she started.
No, the former Ferris star isn’t back home, unless you consider a swimming pool home.
“I’m going to compete in the Masters Short Course Nationals in May,” Lee, now 31, said. “It’s funny. Before I played volleyball I competed in junior swimming. Life has come full circle.”
It’s quite a circle.
After a stellar prep career that saw her win the Greater Spokane League MVP award and lead Ferris to its first-ever state tournament as a senior in 1994, Lee went to Notre Dame. She had a great academic and athletic career for the Irish: two Big East Player of the Year awards and Notre Dame’s Byron V. Kanaley Award, the school’s highest athletic honor that goes to the student-athlete most exemplary as a student and leader.
“I picked the right university for me,” she said. “I grew a lot as a person. As a player, I wish I could have done more, taken us to Final Four, set higher records. I could have accomplished more but I left everything on the floor.
Hosfeld was on the U.S. national team in 1997 and ‘98 and played professionally in Switzerland (1999) and the U.S. (2000).
“Although I was homesick at the time, I think I learned as much in one season in Switzerland as two years at Notre Dame because it was a worldly experience,” she said. “I made great friends. It was a good time in my life.
“The national team pays peanuts and they want so much from you physically, I thought I could be doing the same or less and make 10 times as much. I hate to say I was driven by money rather than being an Olympian.”
Had there been a libero – or defensive specialist – Hosfeld may have stayed with the national team longer but there isn’t much call for 5-foot-10 hitters at that level.
With a minor knee injury, Lee quit playing and went to Baylor to get a Master’s degree while assisting her fiancée, Brian Hosfeld, who was on the way to becoming the winningest volleyball coach in Bears’ history.
The couple married in 2003 and Lee “got the itch to play again.” She won Rookie of the Year on the APV Beach Tour and moved to Austin when her husband became an assistant at Texas.
Now she couldn’t be happier.
“It’s the best move we’ve ever made,” she said. “I love Austin. I think I have a million balls in the air.”
She has two children, Ella, born in 2004, and Max, born in 2006. She coaches a club volleyball team, sells real estate and in 2005 and this past summer played beach volleyball again – for the last time, she claims.
“A dear friend saw me swimming one day and decided I need to be his project,” she said. “He’s coaching me. … He thinks I missed my calling. I’m happy. Swimming is a life sport and it feels a lot better than jumping.”
The friend is Max’s godfather, Bruce Dickson, a former All-American swimmer at Indiana.
Hosfeld loves the vibe around Austin. Even though she’s just a super fan for the nationally ranked volleyball team she really got into Longhorn sports, particularly when Vince Young led Texas to the Rose Bowl win over USC.
She said the housing market in Austin isn’t as bad as much of the country and the cost of living is probably a little less than Spokane.
“It’s a community that fits me because it’s fitness oriented,” she said. “I’m having a great time. It’s a great place to raise a family (and) it has good sushi.”
Although she didn’t play in the Olympics, she is satisfied the way her volleyball career played out. In addition to being on the national team, she has played indoors and out and coached college and club.
“I want to thank Stacy Ward,” she said. “I know it was her last year as Ferris coach and I wanted to be there. She was one of the first coaches who believed in me.
“I’m blessed. Who would have thought volleyball would open so many doors? I’ve traveled the world, been to some of the coolest countries in the world because of volleyball. And most the time I haven’t even paid for it.”