McDermott was hired in August to be an assistant coach for the men's and women's cross country teams.
The drive and dedication that McDermott possesses was a contributing factor in her hiring, though the fact that she holds the school record in the steeplechase was a plus as well.
"Casey was always an extremely disciplined and dedicated student athlete," Drake head cross country coach Dan Hostager, who coached McDermott for four years said. "She set very high goals for herself right at the gate and was always willing to put in work to reach them, both athletically and academically."
McDermott finished her career with a school record, two top-10 finishes at the MVC Championships, was a two-time selection to the MVC Cross Country Scholar-Athlete Team, as well as being named a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Track & Field All-Academic honoree. That adds up to one of the more impressive Drake athletic resumes in recent years.
"I've been fortunate enough to have many great coaches growing up," McDermott said. "Starting back in third grade having fun, then with competitive basketball coaches all the way through high school and college, I had multiple coaches for different sports that made a positive impact on my life."
McDermott always felt that she would end up coaching someday. After graduation, her impressive record and driven personality led her to a position at Troy University in Alabama to help run its cross country program.
After a successful first year, McDermott decided to come back home.
"I'm grateful for the coaching opportunity I was able to experience at Troy University." McDermott said. "It allowed me to broaden my perspective and learn about a different culture."
However, McDermott is happy to be back, "living the Bulldog Way". The Newton, Iowa native is currently working at Urbandale High School, as well as taking graduate classes at Drake.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my student-athlete experience at Drake," McDermott said. "I learned a lot from both Coach Hostager and Coach Brown. They are both phenomenal, highly competitive people that I want to continue to learn from. I wanted to come back to help contribute to the positive, competitive team environment they've created."
Hostager is equally excited to see her back.
"We're thrilled to have Casey back," he said. "We have a very young team and her knowledge of the tough academic environment, running routes and overall transition for our freshmen is extremely helpful."
One might think that it would be awkward to go from the camaraderie of a teammate to a much different relationship as a coach. For McDermott, coaching her former teammates has been nothing but positive.
"We are building on the positive relationships we already established," she said about her former teammates.
Hostager sees it as a positive as well.
"It's nice to have someone who is a Drake graduate," Hostager said. "Even the upper classmen treat her with the respect given to a coach, even if she had once been their teammate."
"Coaching is a great way to help competitive, driven student-athletes accomplish their aspirations," McDermott explained.
McDermott is still running competitively and plans to race later this fall. For right now though, being a coach has its own rewards.