"Bittersweet Feeling": Amanda Watts exits Episcopal volleyball after decade, two SPC titles
HOUSTON - For the past 10 years, Amanda Watts has poured her heart and soul into Episcopal volleyball.
During her tenure she has watched her volleyball team won a pair of Southwest Preparatory Conference Championships, her daughters Kansas and Trinity both play for her and graduated from Episcopal and now her son Logan prepares to graduate in May.
It has been home. Not just a job but a family.
Now, with her children off starting their lives - Kansas playing basketball at Colorado State Pueblo and Trinity playing volleyball at Liberty University - Amanda felt the time was right to start a new chapter in her life.
In November, Amanda informed Episcopal Athletic Director Jason Grove that the 2021 season was indeed her last as she intends to move to the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, ending a decade-long tenure as the Knights head volleyball coach.
"There's so many special things about Episcopal," Watt said getting emotional during a phone interview with VYPE on Thursday afternoon. "This is my third school. I've won SPC Championships at other schools and enjoyed coaching great athletes but the community at this school is so fantastic. I think just like how a great team is successful because of their leadership that's exactly how this school is. The leadership here is amazing from Ned Smith to Jason Grove to Steve Leisz. [Coach Leisz] and I office together and the camaraderie we have as coaches, we support one another across the board as far as sports. Every game you come to you're going to see teachers in the stands supporting their students. It's just a really great community to be a part of.
"I will definitely miss it. I will keep up with this program, this school and support them as much as I can from afar."
When Watts arrived at Episcopal, she was excited to "get it back to a championship program" as the Knights hadn't hung an SPC banner for volleyball since 1998.
She did that over her tenure winning titles in 2017 and 2019, while also helping send multiple players to the next level including Morgan Perkins (Oklahoma), Sania Petties (Mississippi State), Kathleen Johnson (Villanova) and Bria and Cimone Woodard (Howard) to name a few.
Out of all her seasons leading the Knights, Watts said the 2017 campaign is the one that sticks out the most.
That year, Amanda got the chance to coach both Kansas and Trinity on the same team, which went on to win the SPC Championship that ended the program's title drought.
"The chemistry of that team could not have been any better," Watts said. "That was the year of [Hurricane] Harvey, had to take a week or two off of practice. We played in a tournament and ended up losing in the championship of it and had a reality check. We never dropped another match after that. We finished as SPC Champions, and we just dominated at the tournament. Those girls fought for each other and played hard together. It was nice to coach that type of chemistry."
Watts will move to the DFW area to be closer to her boyfriend Dan Lee, who is the head boys basketball coach at John Paul II in Plano.
The longtime volleyball coach hasn't solidified her next stop as of now but has garnered interest and is working through the process to see what God's plan is for her next step.
"I'm at win 493 and I have seven more to go to get to that big 500 mark, I'd better be," Watts said with a laugh. "I've been doing this for 25 years. I'm very thankful for all the experiences. If that's God's plan to have me on the sideline, I'll do my best. If he wants to use me in another avenue as an assistant or administrator or educator, I'm going to do my best at that as well."