Micaella Petrich Comes Home

Newly hired women’s basketball assistant coach’s next challenge is at her alma mater.

Alana Hoy | Freelance

After serving as a missionary overseas, former two-sport athlete returns to her team in a new role, with a new understanding of God’s providence.

Finishing the Twin Cities Marathon is no small feat. Then again, neither is graduating from Bethel as a two-sport athlete with a double major, or embarking on a four-month mission trip to Madagascar.

But all of these would-be challenges haven’t fazed new Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Director of the Wellness Center, Micaella Petrich. Amidst the obstacles, craziness, and trust-falls that characterize her life since Bethel, Petrich finds strength from her faith to do what she’s truly passionate about — to love people.

A 2014 graduate in Biblical and Theological Studies and Third World Studies, Petrich hails from Rosemount, Minn. Though she’s had a heart and calling for missionary work since high school, she never anticipated studying for it at Bethel, much less returning as a faculty member after her first missionary expedition ended.

“I knew I wanted to coach in some capacity,” Petrich said.“But I never anticipated coming back to the team that I love with the coaching staff that has taught me so much and has pushed me and developed me into the person I am today.”

She said that returning to the Royals women’s basketball team feels like coming home to her family.

And family members past and present could not be happier to have her back.

“She not only has a smart head for the game of basketball, but sees potential in everyone,” Sydney Schultz, one of Petrich’s former teammates and current senior on the women’s basketball team said. “She is very thoughtful, a great listener and a very loyal friend and teammate.”

Hannah Niewald, another former teammate of Petrich and current senior concurred, lauding Micaella as, “Positive, disciplined and [able to] maximize the potential of others.”

For her opportunity to foster Royals spirit once more, Petrich owes a debt of gratitude to the selection committee at the NCAA that awarded her the 2015 Division III Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Grant. Funding through this program made Petrich’s positions as Assistant Coach and Assistant Director of the Wellness Center possible.

The grant is designed to create greater ethnic and gender diversity within a coaching population that consists mostly of white males. One way the program cultivates a new generation of coaches is through a leadership conference at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, which Petrich will be attending this January.

An administrative role within a task-oriented organization is nothing new for Petrich, who spent time working as a program coordinator at Wapo Bible Camp in Amery, Wis., and a paraprofessional substitute teacher since leaving Bethel. Petrich believes that both these experiences prepared her for assuming her new role at Bethel.

In addition to those jobs, Petrich served in Madagascar through Africa’s Inland Mission from August to December 2014. While there, a parasitic infection pushed Petrich to rely on her faith in unexpected ways in unfamiliar territory.

Nauseous and dehydrated from illness, Petrich was still expected to assume responsibility of several high-energy, young children. Miserable and depleted, she claims that while she wallowed at an all time physical low, Jesus was providing her with love, patience and enthusiasm that she never could have possessed on her own.

In assuming her new jobs at Bethel, Petrich hopes to continue to foster a mindset of “intimacy and dependency [with Jesus].”

“I know You’ll provide, I trust You’ll provide, You’ve done it before, I have testimony of this,” is Petrich’s prayer.

She believes trusting God and letting His love flow through her to others is “so much greater for the people around me than anything I can give them,” whether she aims to serve in Madagascar or Arden Hills.

Petrich can be found organizing activities in the Wellness Center and leading and encouraging her team on the basketball court. Though her internship grant will end after the 2016–2017 season draws to a close, Petrich prefers to dwell in gratitude for God’s present provisions rather than fret over future unknowns.

In fact, Petrich positively beams when asked about her call to work at Bethel for the coming seasons.

“I’ve been in different positions of administration and I just love the organization of it; coordinating people and working with a lot of different people,” she said. “God definitely opened the door for this opportunity. It’s definitely a God thing that I’m here.”