Hi! I’m Katie Hirsch, Founder of GamePlan Collegiate Consulting. Born and raised in Austin, TX, I grew up on Pioneer Farm, an outdoor living history museum. Being the daughter of athletes, I learned to enjoy sports at a young age. I played a lot of different sports growing up, but found a love for volleyball and knew I wanted to pursue playing it at the collegiate level.
Farm life and my parents taught me the value of hard work, discipline, and happiness - a foundation that not only helped me achieve my volleyball goals, but still remains a constant in my approach to life today. The various teams I played on as a child and young adult taught me how to work with others and be a good teammate- on and off the court or field.
After winning four state volleyball championships at St. Michael’s Academy, I went on play volleyball at Dartmouth College where I was a 2-time captain and 3-time All-Conference player. My magnificent experience at Dartmouth taught me perseverance, humility, leadership, and truly how to think. I earned a degree in Environmental Studies and was fortunate enough to study abroad in South Africa tracking elephant migration patterns through the meticulous examination of dung beetles :)
After graduating, I considered playing professional volleyball in Europe, but instead jumped headfirst into college coaching. I spent 3 years as an Assistant Coach at Dartmouth, where I specialized as the Recruiting Coordinator my final year.
In late 2011, I decided to step away from college coaching and return to Austin, my home. I spent the next 4+ years working in real estate and at a small start-up. During that time I coached club for Austin Performance and school ball for St. Andrew’s ranging in age/skill from 5th grade to High School Varsity. In early 2016, I accepted a position at a tech recruiting company, and worked my way up to becoming a Director of Sales where I was co-managing the Austin branch of the business. During this time I was able to learn about and cultivate my desire to develop authentic relationships with clients.
After taking some time for travel and self-reflection, I decided I wanted to get back to the roots that helped formulate the person I am today and help others find joy and success in a similar path as mine. Hence GamePlan was born!
There's no doubt that Athletics has played a tremendous role in my life, and has significantly contributed to my development and accomplishments. I know that many other people can say the same thing about themselves. My intent with GamePlan is to utilize my experience and skill-set to help young student-athletes develop their talents, mindset, and approach to life in order to succeed in their ultimate athletic goals.
Claire (Smalzer) Wolfe joins GamePlan as Lead Consultant for collegiate recruitment. Hailing from Chicago, IL, Claire comes from a very athletic family. Her dad played in the NFL and her brother won a D1 Volleyball National Championship at Loyola-Chicago before competing professionally overseas in Finland and France.
Claire picked up indoor volleyball at a young age – joining a club team at 12 – and still competes on the sand to this day. She attended Marist High School in Chicago and played most of her club years at Celtic Force VBC where her 15s Team won the USAV Open National Championship in 2004. Playing various positions on the court from outside hitter, right side hitter, defensive specialist to libero, Claire has always prioritized ball control and an aggressive sideout mentality.
In 2007, Claire received a full scholarship to join the Duke University Volleyball Team where she amassed two ACC Championships, four post season births, an Elite 8 appearance in 2010, four consecutive All-Academic Team selections and left on the Top 3 all-time career digs list.
After graduating from Duke with a B.A. in Biological Anthropology & Anatomy and a Minor in Education, Claire ventured back to her home state to attend grad school at Western Illinois University. Working full time in the Athletics Department as an Academic Advisor, Claire discovered her passion for working with student-athletes.
After completing her M.S. in Sport Management in 2013, Claire moved down to Austin, TX to pursue a career in tech where she remains to this day. Claire is currently at Dell where she manages Consumer eCommerce Campaigns for Dell.com and competes in local sand volleyball tournaments on the weekends, while juggling her crazy family of four!
Thinking back on the collegiate recruitment process, Claire remembers feeling stressed and overwhelmed. There were a lot of factors to consider when making such a big decision – academically, athletically, geographically, socially, financially, etc. Claire was fortunate to have a support system at that time to talk through those factors and help organize her priority list to ensure she found the right fit. Bringing her attention to detail, critical thinking skills and goal-oriented mindset, on top of her personal experiences as a student-athlete, Claire is beyond excited to partner with GamePlan to help our local student-athletes find the right college fit for them.