Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association

Coach of the week

Week 33 – Tyla Coates, Boyne City High School

Coach Coates is a first year Varsity coach at Boyne City High School, but has been part of the Rambler coaching community for some years now. She has had a great start to her Varsity coaching career, leading the Boyne City Ramblers to a 14-1 record in the opening weeks of the season. Coach Coates does an excellent job leading the entire program with enthusiasm and has taken the lead on fundraising, managing tournaments and continuing to promote a culture of hard work, respect for all and recognizing we all play because we love the sport. We are all looking forward to watching Tyla continue to grow as a coach and leader for Boyne City athletes and as a leader in our community.

Week 32 – Bobbie Jo Anderson, Forest Park Crystal Falls

Bobbie Jo Anderson’s Forest Park Lady Trojans are on a hot streak, capturing the recent Forest Park Invitational championship against some of the most competitive teams in the Upper Peninsula. As one of the only two UP teams recognized in the most recent MIVCA ranking poll, Coach Anderson’s team was also named the very first top ranked Division 4 team in The Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Upper Peninsula Volleyball Poll. Beyond the accomplishments of her team, Coach Anderson creates a culture that simply loves volleyball. Her team is competitive and excited to play, and she is very gracious to teams that come her way. She has instilled a growth mindset in her players and they are proud to be part of the Forest Park program she is building. Coach Anderson is always ready to help, whether it is helping a new coach navigate the world of Varsity volleyball of helping find an athletic trainer or assistance for an opponent. Coach Anderson does not just make Forest Park proud, but she makes all of the Upper Peninsula proud!

Week 31 – Melissa Curley, Oscoda High School

Melissa Curley goes above and beyond when it comes to her commitment to school and community service and the passion she shows for helping others. She makes an impact in the gym with her girls with her love for the game and helping them grow into skilled players, but that’s just the tip of the ice berg for the impact she and her teams have on what they give back to the community. A few weeks ago. Melissa Curley (current Varsity coach) and Laura Franklin (current 8th grade and former Oscoda Varsity Coach) were awarded the 2023 Spirit of St. Joseph Award for their 10 year, $110,000 + fundraising effort through Volley for a Cure, in memory of Diane Pippin; Franklin’s mother who passed away from cancer. Per Diane’s wishes before passing away from Breast Cancer, al fundraising proceeds have gone to the infusion room at Tawas St. Joseph Hospital. Diane felt the facility was in dire need of updates as she was going through her treatments. Since then, have been many exciting updates that this fundraising effort has had a direct effect with such as a new bathroom within the unit, updates to the overall appearance of the until and contribution towards a new mobile mammography bus. We want to recognize Melissa for her generous heart and community service as she makes her coaching an avenue to help not only her athletes in a sport they love, but giving back to the community and teaching and including her athletes that sport can be used to give back to their school and community in so many unique ways.

Week 30 – Kris Jewell, Cheboygan HS

Kris Jewell has been a mainstay at Cheboygan High School for 20 years. She is always positive and supportive of her players, winning or losing. Her demeanor during matches is quite remarkable. Steady, calm and positive are just a few ways she can be described. She consistently treats everyone with respect be it her players, the opposing team or the referees. Kris has been coaching throughout almost the entirety of her teaching career at Cheboygan and over that span she has consistently fielded competitive teams. Her teams portray a team first mentality and play with the same energy that Kris exudes. She is also a leader among the region coaches and is accommodating and open minded towards the needs of others when it comes to organizing matches, tournaments and scrimmages. Kris is a beacon of what a coach should be. The athletes, parents and community of Cheboygan are lucky to have her making such a positive impact on the youth of their community.

Week 29 – Jeannie Henry, Grand Blanc East Middle School

Coach Jeannie has done a fantastic job as our EMS 7th grade coach. It takes a special kind of coach to teach and work with young athletes. Coach Jeannie is extremely patient and understands that teaching the game of volleyball with 3 contacts far out weights the need to win a set or match. She has a unique gift of patience while developing her athletes. Jeannie helps her athletes understand that its okay to make good errors in the learning process. She can always be seen encouraging her athletes and instructing them from the sideline during matches. She is very active and in tune which brings out the best in her athletes. She is an integral part to building the foundation of our program here in Grand Blanc and we are so fortunate that she is very focused on the job at hand.

Week 28 – Suzanne Krygier, Walled Lake Northern

Suzanne brought something really special to our program last season. She started “Mindset Mondays”, where each week she brought a new and exciting goal setting and training topic that was geared towards improving every player’s mindset, from freshman to seniors. She empowered the girl’s through these sessions with problem solving techniques, awareness and the importance of acceptance and accountability. The way she cares about the girls on and off the court is apparent and they know that they mean more to her than just players on the court. The players took what they learned during their mindset trainings and carried it over into the classrooms and hallways at school last year. There was an overwhelming feeling of positivity and that has been accredited to the positivity of the volleyball program. Suzanne has a vision for changing minds, attitudes and what this sport means to high school girls. She brought a much needed change to our school and our program. As a coach in the Walled Lake Northern program, I learned things each week as well. And felt like I grew as a coach and leader for my team. Suzanne taught incredible life-changing topics to our girls and they will forever be able to use the tools she taught them throughout their lives.

Week 27 – Aaron Wedge, Hudsonville Boys

Coach Wedge has the Hudsonville Boys Volleyball team heading back to the MI Boys VB semi-finals for the third straight year! This is an impressive feat as the team graduated seven seniors last year from their back-to-back championships. Coach Wedge’s belief in growing the sport for boys and training any willing athletes has enabled this team to return to the Final Four. Aaron’s practices allow all of his athletes to learn the basic skills of the game and grow through competition. He also serves as a league president, helping coaches of new programs get their programs off the ground so the boys in their school have the best opportunity to start their volleyball experiences successfully. The climate of success and growth he has created in three short seasons speaks volumes of his innate abilities to lead a team and program. Having never coached before his position with the Hudsonville Boys team, Coach Wedge has applied his lifetime passion for the game of volleyball and desire to learn as much as he can into a learning environment and winning program that athletes and parents enjoy calling their own.

Week 26 – Amy Nixon

Amy Nixon has clearly poured herself into the Manistique volleyball program. She has built a strong culture that students in her district want to be part of. Amy makes her players' experience in her program fun, exciting and personal. She has led the program to one that demonstrates a fiercely strong work ethic, with attention to detail, that emphasizes the importance of hard work on and off the court and the player have fun. Amy does a great job making sure each player understands her role on the team, the importance of that role and how each player drastically effects the team’s potential success but respecting each role. Whether it’s helping bring in large student section crowds with fun theme nights or summer conditioning on the back country trails of the U.P., Amy has the buy in from her players and the school community. She has put Manistique volleyball on the map and is taking the program to new heights with consistent winning seasons and honorable mention state rankings.

Week 25 – Emerson Goff

Coach Emerson finished her first year as Varsity head coach at Landmark Academy this past Fall. She came in with the idea of wanting to improve the program and build up the programs most recent successes. Emerson really cares about her players and their personal growth as student athletes, both on and off the court. She emphasized the importance of a strong work ethic at practice and in the classroom. She took time to get to know players on a more personal level. This helped tremendously to build a healthy team dynamic which was important to her. By focusing on the growth of each player, sportsmanship and building character, Emerson helped the team to a successful season and we look forward to seeing our student athletes flourish under for leadership and guidance.

Week 24 – Shelly Bossert

Shelly has an absolute love for the game and she is constantly working to find new ways to improve herteam. She attends clinics, meets with other coaches and works with a variety of specialists looking fornew and exciting things she can share with her team.Shelly loves her players and this love has shown in the way she interacts with them off the court evenduring the off season. She can be found in the winter and spring cheering on her multisport athletes,supporting her players any way she can.Shelly had an outstanding season this past fall at Buchanan High School and that is due in part to herwork ethic and her commitment to her team and program. She is determined to be the best sha can befor her players and continues to be a life long learner in the sport.

Week 23 – Jordan Drake

Jordan has put in many hours in the last five years, to not only learn the sport at a High School level butto lead the Lowell volleyball program’s climb to one of importance in the state. Jordan cares for hisathletes and how they grow as human beings during their time in the program and how they will act asambassadors for the program and the Lowell community.He holds every member of the program to the same standards and expects the best of his athletes at alltimes. This is something that is not easily done or often achieved, but Jordan seems to find a way andby doing so garnishes much respect from his teams.Jordan found early success in his young coaching career because of these expectations and is continuingto build the Lowell volleyball program to be in the conversation for years to come. He has developed a456ers program and takes great care in making sure his middle school program is being ran to the samestandards as that of the high school.Female athletes in Lowell are being provided more opportunities to be involved because of Jordan’s careand desire to see the Red Arrow volleyball program be successful on the scoreboard, in the classroomand community.

Week 22 – Brittany Cornish

Brittany finished her first year as Varsity Volleyball Coach at Gaylord High School this season, after serving as the JV coach the year before. In her short time at Gaylord she has helped create a culture that combines hard work with having fun. She is a ball of positive energy and puts her whole heart into coaching the girls in the program. Brittany sets high standards for our program and works extremely hard at helping the girls reach their potential. Our program has made positive steps forward as a recent and she is been at the root of this forward shift with her passion and attention to detail. As an elementary teacher, Brittany knows the importance of education and the important role that it can play in a young person’s life. We are looking forward to seeing the continued improvement of our program, how that impacts our student athletes lives and the great things we know Brittany will continue to do.To achieve these outstanding accomplishments on the court, Kevin’s approach to coaching is with intensity, care and knowledge of the game. Pushing each athlete to “fail ugly” in practices creates a conducive environment for growth. He challenges his team in practice and holds them to a high standard. Kevin builds close personal relationships with each of his athletes through open communication, listening and trust. Kevin is always looking to improve his knowledge of the game through attending clinics, classes and conferences throughout the year. Lansing Catholic is very fortunate to have Kevin as the leader of the volleyball program and is looking forward to many more years of success under his leadership.

Week 21 – Kevin McMillan, Lansing Catholic High School

Coach Kevin McMillan has been at the helm of the Lansing Catholic Volleyball program for three seasons. During the 2022 season Kevin reached his 100th career win at LCHS. The Cougars finished undefeated in conference play to secure the CAAC White Division title. This season the cougars finished with an impressive record of 43-3-6, winning their conference and District before finishing their season in Regional finals. To achieve these outstanding accomplishments on the court, Kevin’s approach to coaching is with intensity, care and knowledge of the game. Pushing each athlete to “fail ugly” in practices creates a conducive environment for growth. He challenges his team in practice and holds them to a high standard. Kevin builds close personal relationships with each of his athletes through open communication, listening and trust. Kevin is always looking to improve his knowledge of the game through attending clinics, classes and conferences throughout the year. Lansing Catholic is very fortunate to have Kevin as the leader of the volleyball program and is looking forward to many more years of success under his leadership.

Week 20 – Gabi Rewa, Central Montcalm

Coach Gabi has a resounding passion for the game and a never quit attitude. She always comes to practice with a smile on her face and with high energy. This rubs off on her players and she has built great respect between them because of her enthusiasm and interest she shows in her girls. The passion she exudes for coaching is infectious. Her approach is simple. Take pride in what you do, do it with energy and respect yourself, your teammates and your coaches. This approach has significant results as she has pushed her players to achieve a higher level of play and skill. Gabi has a never quit attitude and has been a breath of fresh air to this program. She has renewed a love for the game within her players and they are thriving and growing as players, teammates and community members under her guidance.

Coach of the Week: Week 19 - Jacy Cole, Athens HS

Jacy Cole has been the consistent driving force behind the success in the Athen’s Volleyball program. It is clear from across the net that Jacy has a strong connection with all the girls on her team. Not only does she have that connection, but it is easy to tell that they are bonded well as a team. When you compete against Athen’s, they don't seem to just be fighting to win the match, they appear to be fighting for each other, to defend each other and support one another’s efforts at each attempt. Every time Jacy calls a timeout she circles around her huddle giving each girl a high five before starting her timeout speech. It’s very admirable that she stays intentional with that action no matter what point of the match they are in. This simple action seems to refocus the girls and they come out of the timeout ready to go out and get the job done. Athen’s may be a small school, but the size of the school has nothing to do with the size of the fight they show up with every time they compete. They play with a determination to get better every time they step on the court and work hard for each other. Jacy’s sideline demeanor exudes a calmness and confidence and that seems to transfer into the composure her teams plays with. It doesn’t matter if they are up by ten points or down by ten points, they stay calm and focused and keep fighting.

Coach of the Week: Week 18 - Cameron Rowland, Lakewood

Coach Cam is not only the heartbeat of Lakewood volleyball, he is the flag bearer as well. Prior to Cam becoming the head coach, he worked with our players in the off season and his role as the program’s biggest cheerleader made him the only choice for the position. He puts his heart and soul into his players and always makes sure that they give their best on and off the court. He has a knack for knowing when to kick our team in the butt and push them beyond what they thought they were capable of, and when to put his arm around them and reiterate to them how great they are. This is a trait that one only acquires after hours and hours with your players building unbreakable trust. The time commitment to the pursuit of excellence, attention to detail and how he builds personal relationships with his players is the building block to his success as a coach. Cam is always willing to give his best to his players and goes above and beyond to make sure that his teams are prepared to do their job on the court. Lakewood Volleyball has been a perennial powerhouse in the MHSAA Division 2 landscape for many years and continues to be under Cam’s leadership. With his knowledge of the game, his energy, and his commitment to each player and his program, Lakewood will continue to find success. Congratulations Coach Cam! And thank you for everything you do for Lakewood Volleyball!

Coach of the Week: Week 17 - Deena Maher, Oxford High School

Athletics serve many purposes. Coaches know that it’s more than a win or a loss. Sports can provide many life lessons like team work, dedication, hard work, sacrifice and how to deal with adversity. For the athletes at Oxford High School, returning to sports and the facilities has been difficult. It has required courage, leadership and perseverance to a level that those outside of OHS would not realize. Since losing a bright young volleyball player from the team in last November's shooting tragedy at OHS, Coach Deena Maher’s role as Varsity Volleyball coach has been more than the X’s and O’s of the game. No one knew how, or if they could get through the terrible time, but the strength of the team and teammates helped. Coaching takes patience, understanding, and learning how to communicate differently with each different player. This is challenging enough in a regular season, now add the trauma experienced by this OHS community and we realize just how lucky we are to have Deena Maher at the helm of this program. Deena stepped up and changed her approach to her team, she knew that their needs had changed and did a tremendous job at being the supportive leader that this group needed. No one can plan for how to respond to something like the OHS community experienced. But Deena’s leadership, compassion and grace has been a beacon of light for her players and program. OHS is blessed to have Deena Maher. She wants constant improvement with her team and each individual player, but realizes that they are all a part of something much more important. And she seems to thrive being in a position to help her players through it all. Alex strives to have her players understand the importance of hard work and supporting your teammates so that the team can grow, and not just individuals on the team. She is always encouraging and positive with her players. One of the things that makes her stand out is when she’s on the sideline during a game, she always wears a smile and keeps a positive attitude. I believe this helps her players stay calm and gain confidence even after a mistake. Coach Alex is a great coach, she is always teaching and encouraging her players on and off the court and we are lucky to have her as a role model for our daughters and students here at Morley Stanwood Middle School.

Coach of the Week: Week 16 - Alex Bialik, Morley Stanwood Middle School

Alex has been working with my daughters now for the last two years and they have loved every minute of it. Coach Alex has been amazing and always has her eye on and helps every player. She has a vast knowledge of the game and has a knack for communicating and sharing that knowledge with her players. She goes above and beyond to help each player on the team gain skills and confidence as they learn the game. Alex strives to have her players understand the importance of hard work and supporting your teammates so that the team can grow, and not just individuals on the team. She is always encouraging and positive with her players. One of the things that makes her stand out is when she’s on the sideline during a game, she always wears a smile and keeps a positive attitude. I believe this helps her players stay calm and gain confidence even after a mistake. Coach Alex is a great coach, she is always teaching and encouraging her players on and off the court and we are lucky to have her as a role model for our daughters and students here at Morley Stanwood Middle School.

Coach of the Week: Week 15 - Deric Mostrom, Centreville High School

Centreville High School has been fortunate to have Deric at the front of our volleyball program since the 2017 season, but his dedication dates back well before that as a loyal assistant. Deric’s passion for the sport developed at a young age as he tagged along when his mom coaches at Centreville in the 90’s and 2000’s. Deric is a dedicated coach that does things with integrity. He has done a great job working with multi-sport athletes. The girls in his program are committed to getting better during the off season with his help and guidance. His knowledge of the sport is great and he continues to learn and share that with his players. He has surrounded himself with a great coaching staff, who all work well together for the betterment of the program and each player as the program continues to make strides in the right direction. Deric consistently creates teams that play with confidence, no matter the score, they are able to keep working hard. His players are well rounded technically and have a vast knowledge of the game as well. And due to everyone’s hard work, Centreville has been ranked throughout the season once again amidst their tough schedule. We appreciate Deric for his dedication and the sacrifices he and his family make to contribute to the experience he provides to our Bulldog student athletes.

Coach of the Week: Week 14 - Kelsey Swoboda, Otsego High School

Kelsey is a first year Varsity coach at Otsego High School with an abundance of high school and club coaching experience. She is extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and has a great work ethic. Coach Swoboda has a wealth of knowledge to share with her athletes. She is a graduate of Otsego High School where she was a multisport stand out athlete, then four years of volleyball at Michigan State. Kelsey knows the work ethic it takes to improve each day and she puts that effort into how she coaches, builds relationships with her players and how she communicates with them. It is important to her that she continue to grow as a leader for her players. Coach Swoboda comes to practice every day with a positive mindset and a well thought out practice plan to help our team continue to grow. Her coaching instills a competitive and confident mindset in each one of her players. She wants what is best for everyone on the team and constantly pushes us to be the strong players that she knows we can be. Her players love playing for her! She allows her players to be problem solvers and gives them a voice in the huddles and at practice about what they are doing well and where they need to improve. Her coaching style allows players to be ok with failing, to push themselves to grow and become better volleyball players and better people. Otsego is having a great season and is currently honorable mention in division 2. With each day they are gaining strength and will continue to be a team to watch out for this season. They have some big wins under their belts and we know under Kelsey’s guidance they will continue to work hard and grow as a team.

Coach of the Week: Week 13 - Edie Daughtery, Watervliet High School

Edie has worked extremely hard to change the culture in our volleyball program at Watervliet High School and her hard work is paying off. Last season her team made it to the Division 3 State Quarter Finals and have been rated top 10 in Division 3 this season, currently at #4. Coach Edie has shown terrific creativity in creating offenses that work with the talent she has on her team. She creates opportunities for her athletes to be successful by using nontraditional rotations. Her dedication to developing her players into all around athletes has paid off, creating a talented team that understands what it takes to win. Edie has made the sport fun for the kids through her leadership style and her efforts have been fun to watch. She has brought young players along and has inspired older players to lead. She allows the girls to have fun, try new things and improve their volleyball IQ while working hard and being committed to the program. Her team believes in each other, and they believe in her. And we believe this is her key to success! Thank you Coach Edie, for everything you do for the players in your program.

Coach of the Week: Week 12 - Carlie Southland, Kalamazoo Christian

Carlie Southland is having a great start to her first season at the helm of the Kalamazoo Christian Varsity Volleyball team. And she is no stranger to the program. As an alumni, who’s sisters also played at Kalamazoo Christian, she is very familiar with the style of play and the players she is now in charge of. Carlie is a compassionate and supportive coach. She coaches with a humble confidence and creates a positive environment for her athletes to learn and excel in. Her ability to adapt and make swift changes to lineups allows her to set her team up for success. And her positive, relaxed sideline demeanor helps keep her team calm and confident during matches.
Carlie is a former High School and Collegiate player and understands what the players are going through. She is firm but fair and stays level headed in stressful situations. Her players respond well to her because she has “been there, done that” and is even handed with them. A former player added, “Coach Carlie was very kind and well spoken when coaching. She was able to push me and the other girls on our team to our best abilities, and helped us improve our physical and mental game.”

Coach of the Week: Week 11 - Jenna Welke, Brown City High School

From the day Jenna started with the Brown City volleyball program you could tell she had the “it” factor that you dream of finding in a coach. She is very knowledgeable, fast thinking and strategic. Jenna relates well with her players, has a strong sideline presence and makes her players better each day. When Jenna took over at Brown City, we were a school lacking a positive culture and didn’t win a lot. In a matter of a few years we were, and remain, one of the top teams in our Division. Jenna provided an excitement for the game that was contagious for her players, our entire student body and community. Something that sets Jenna apart from some other high school coaches is her practice and game planning. Her practices are very organized and prepare our players for all types of game situations. Jenna is a master at her craft and the Brown City School district is extremely lucky to have her as a teacher, coach and community member. We absolutely love having Jenna lead our team and volleyball program at Brown City High School.

Week 10 – Patty Feldpausch, Fowler High School

Patty Feldpausch is the reason the Fowler High School volleyball program is successful. Her dedication to the program over the past 14 years, not only at the varsity level, but throughout the entire program is unparalleled. She sets the standard for a positive and hard working gym environment that allows her athletes to grow as players. The overwhelming response and growth of the program under Patty’s leadership has lead to ever growing numbers of student athletes wanting to participate in Fowler Volleyball. She has a special ability to relate to younger kids as they develop skills and confidence in the sport. We would like to recognize Patty for her constant guidance, inspiring young athletes to excel for the past 25 years. Thank you Patty for your encouragement and for being a beacon of positivity and enthusiasm for your players.

Week 9 – Amanda Anspaugh, Northwest High School

Coach Anspaugh goes above and beyond for all of her players: past, present and future. If you have the pleasure on knowing her, dedication and energy are two things that may come to mind when you think of her. These characteristics are not just shown to her players, but her coaching staff as well. The support and encouragement she gives to her players and coaches make you feel like your family.Coach Anspaugh has a tremendous love for the game as well. And even though she has been coaching for over 20 years in various roles, she still strives to learn more from those around her to build her knowledge base. Her energy is contagious and she does great job pushing her players to work hard while remembering this is a game, meant to be fun and the importance of working as a team.Her team most recently won back to back District titles and last season made a Regional final appearance. Coach Anspaugh is one of the best!

Week 8 – Nicole Helsel, Manton Consolidated Schools

Nicole is a great coach who is always willing to put extra time into her athletes and program to make it the best it can be. Her compassion for her athletes shines through as she mentors them on and off the court. She keeps in touch with her players long after they have graduated and creates a family feel within her program. Nicole has had many players over the years contact her at all hours of the day to ask for tutoring help on college or current high school classes and she always makes time for them and makes them feel like they are her number one priority. This emphasis she puts on helping her players reach goals they may not realize are attainable is just another example of the compassion she has for her student athletes. Thank you Nicole, for your service in helping the young girls of your program grow as teammates, students and members of your community. You have a special gift for leadership.

Week 7 - Hannah Pohlman, Traverse City Christian HS

Hannah embodies a lot of the great qualities that coaches strive for, and she does it simply by being herself. She is a patient leader who takes pride in building healthy relationships and trust with her players.Hannah is a demanding, encouraging and understanding coach. Her players thrive in the environment she has created in her gym and within her program. Her athletes trust her and give their best every step of the way and they know that she gives her all to them. Hannah is always working to become a better coach by discussing ideas and strategies with other coaches.Thank you Hannah for being an extraordinary role model and coach for your players while teaching them the importance of building relationships and working hard for your team.

Week 6 – Laurie Glass

Laurie Glass has been a prominent and influential coach for many years at Leland High School. She puts an emphasis on life lessons and teaching student athlete’s things they will carry far beyond the court. Laurie is a down to earth, I’m going to tell you how it is kind of person. She says things that need to be heard, but in a way that makes you understand the importance of the situation, not in a hurtful way. Her players have always loved her and she has always produced not only great players and teams, but great people. She works weekly with coaches and athletes from around her area during the off season and during the season to help grow the game for all teams. Her ability to bring the best out of each athlete is a unique gift. “She is simply a phenomenal coach”

Week 5 - DJ Kellogg, Plymouth Christian Academy

DJ has been at the helm of Plymouth Christian Academy for the past seven years. In that time the program has consistently been a top contender in the state with multiple conference, District, Regional championships along with two Division 4 State Titles. Through his hard work and love for the game, DJ has made a name for his program as one of the teams to watch year after year in Division 4. For a small school of 227 students, we have 45-50 girls participating in the volleyball program because of his dedication and enthusiasm. DJ is a great advocate of the game and we’d like to thank him and recognize him for the amazing coach that he is!

Week 4 – Vandy Krueger, Kent City HS

Coach Krueger has been the Varsity volleyball coach at Kent City for the past 19 seasons. During that time, she has worked hard to develop a solid program with her attention to skill development at a young age. It is the norm for Kent City to field a freshman team, which is not common for a school their size, and a testament to Coach Krueger and her staff’s ability to make the game fun for their athletes and keep the interest in the sport high.  This spring, Coach Krueger is working with other area schools to start a developmental league for girls at the elementary level. This is something new to the student athletes, in addition to the many camps she offers each year. Coach Krueger and her teams have also been very active in the Side-Out foundation, raising close to $70,000 for this worthy cause.The last two years Kent City has shared the conference championship with perennial power Morley Stanwood. Thank you, Coach Krueger for your commitment to growing the game in your area and offering opportunities at all levels for student athletes to play!

Week 3 – Shannon Taylor, Clare High School

Shannon understands that her role as a coach is a vehicle to make a positive influence on people of all ages, not just her volleyball players. She founded the “Be the Change” movement to address issues in her school and community such as mental health, kindness and anything that her team feels the need to improve or influence in a positive way. Many schools dedicate a game night to recognize a cause or a person, but Shannon and the Clare Volleyball team take it a step further and continue the Be the Change all year round by organizing special events throughout the school year for members of their community. Shannon has helped her players grow above and beyond themselves by addressing hard topics like mental health and positive self-image which only prepares them to be stronger in the next stage of their lives. The impact that Shannon and “Be the Change” has had on her players has been tremendous. One player wrote “I have taken away many valuable lessons from Coach Shannon and Be the Change. First is the importance of the words we choose to say to others. The second is how big the little things truly are. How some small things we do throughout the day to help others can positively impact their life. I will take the things I’ve learned from Coach Shannon as a volleyball player, a teammate and being part of Be the Change and carry them throughout the rest of my life.” Thank you Shannon for being a beacon of positivity and change in our volleyball and school community. Your players are blessed to be part of your program and the Clare community is definitely better because of you.

Week 2 – Jim Pender, Mt. Morris HS

Jim Pender is an outstanding volleyball coach who cares deeply about the sport of volleyball. Most coaches have no idea the numerous obstacles Jim faces in order to build a competitive program. Obstacles like financial resources, job commitments, one-parent families, and transportation issues just to name a few. Those fortunate enough to know Jim well have an abundance of respect for the love he has for his student-athletes and the time he has given them in order to provide them opportunities for success and at the next level. Jim always produces competitive teams and that is because of his strong work ethic. He coaches in a district where over 60% of the students participate in the free and reduced lunch program. Jim’s athletes are not afforded the same out-of-season opportunities that exist in some of the more affluent districts. Yet he is always able to develop strong fundamental teams because of his commitment to his student-athletes. Jim has done an extraordinary job of providing growth opportunities for players around the state. He has and continues to host hundreds of tournaments for youth volleyball throughout the High School and club seasons. Thank you Jim for your excellence in coaching and your commitment to your student athletes.

Week 1 – Jenny Nate, Niles HS

Jenny is always high energy and expects the same of her players. The work she puts into her program not just during, but out of season shows in the success the program has had under her guidance over the past ten years. With each new season Jenny continues to set higher and higher expectations of herself and her players. She is a student of the game and is always challenging herself to grow as a coach and leader. Her energy is contagious and her players respect her and love playing for her. As a coaching colleague I love playing against Jenny’s teams. You have to prepare for a battle, take no lead big or small for granted because they’re coming for you! Jenny is leaving the ranks for high school volleyball and has taken the position as Head Coach at SMC (Southwest Michigan College). She will be missed within the MIVCA/MHSAA family but we wish you the best with your new challenges that lie ahead. Congratulations Jenny Nate!