Cy Falls HS volleyball coach honored for reaching 700 career wins
By Summer Folwell, Cypress Falls HS
Sept. 3, 2021—Standing in the gym of a newly opened Cypress Falls High School, Kathy Stephenson would have never imagined that 29 years later she would be celebrating her 700th career win. As a new head volleyball coach, it was a position Stephenson was excited to take on.
Stephenson and the Golden Eagles reached the notable milestone on Aug. 19 during the Spring ISD Tournament. On Aug. 31 at the first home volleyball game of the season, Cypress Falls students and staff gathered to honor Stephenson's accomplishment with a banner, framed jersey and flowers.
"So many people went to so much effort to celebrate our success," Stephenson said. "I saw alumni and their beautiful children, and they were so happy for me. I saw so many people from throughout the years who have supported me sitting in the stands cheering. I was really touched."
As early as the eighth grade, Stephenson knew she wanted to go into teaching and coaching, but she never imagined that she would be a head coach.
"The emergence of Title IX and life experience led me to my current job," Stephenson said. "I did have success my first year which was great, but it was hard to follow that."
Throughout the years, Stephenson has worked constantly to sharpen her skills in coaching volleyball. She worked at college camps, attended camps and coached club volleyball so she could learn how to be the most successful coach possible. Stephenson said she would also talk to top coaches from across the country and watch drills and routines from the best teams around the world to gain a better understanding of how to make her own teams successful.
"I've had so many struggles while coaching," Stephenson said. "In public school, you get to coach the girls that walk in the door."
Stephenson became the head volleyball coach at Cypress Falls when the campus opened in 1992. CFISD's fifth high school began with freshmen and sophomore students. Stephenson then took on a varsity team in her second year.
"I'm most proud that all the wins have been at Cy Falls," she said. "I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by supportive family, amazing administrators, outstanding assistant coaches, fellow coaches and great students-athletes."
Stephenson admitted she was so focused on the well-being of her current team that she did not realize her 700th win was approaching if not for questions from coaches and colleagues.
Her record also goes beyond just the victories. Stephenson has had 50 athletes go on to play at the collegiate level and nearly all of her athletes attend college.
"What I've learned over the years is that you have to evolve," she said. "Kids are not the same and you can't coach the same way. You have to stay true to your value system but you have to work with kids a little differently. You have to teach kids so much more. I also believe that you have to keep learning and growing as a person and coach."