After 38 years in coaching, Memorial coach Beth Gammill will not be patrolling the sideline in 2019. Gammill retired after an illustrious career. Stepping in will be Kaddie Platt, which is a huge get for Spring Branch ISD. Platt was the University of Houston volleyball head coach for six seasons and built Houston Baptist University (HBU) for 17 years.
Platt has to replace superstar Sanaa' Dotson, who is off to Oklahoma, but she has some pieces returning.
Lyla Traylor is the top returning kill artist, followed by Brooke Duncan. Logan LeRoux is the quarterback at setter and had over 550 assists a year ago. The 'Stangs went 14-2, finishing second in District 17-6A. The season came to a screeching halt in the second round as Class 6A State Runner-Up Ridge Point blanked the Mustangs.
With Platt and her college coaching pedigree at the helm, the sky could be the limit in 2019.
The 2019 VYPE Volleyball Preview will be out in a few weeks, as gyms will be filled with the sound of squeaky shoes and coaches' whistles.
As we enter our 12th year of publishing, I feel like we've seen just about everything. The explosion of social media, some of the most elite athletes in the nation and the greatest stewards of all – high school coaching staffs.
Shockingly on the volleyball front, only two programs have brought home UIL state volleyball gold – The Woodlands (twice) and Kingwood Park last season. So, who has the best chance to hoist the hardware in November? You will have to wait on the preview.
But back to what we've witnessed for over more than a decade, the coaches. Let's just take volleyball. Houston is loaded with some of the best in the business from Seven Lakes' Amy Cataline to The Woodlands' Terri Wade to AP Clarke of Bellaire. The list goes on.
Some legends have moved on like Ridge Point's Lori McLaughlin, Clear Falls' Lindsay Hodges, Pearland's John Turner (now an assistant at Bellaire) and The Woodlands' Leslie Madison.
Why are these coaches so near and dear to my heart?
Coaching girls is tough. I've been told by coaches that girls are more competitive than guys, because they vigorously compete against the other team but also with each other. The glue that keeps a great volleyball team moving in the right direction is the coach.
It's all about communication.
What I've learned being married and raising two girls is that you can't communicate too much. There is no such thing as over-communication. Building chemistry is paramount. Trust is key. You also have to be tough, because they will challenge you.
The best teams have that rock at the core – the coach. The best can master the communication game and build chemistry and trust, all the while pushing their athletes through grueling workouts and adversity. They can be tough, but our city's coaches care and sacrifice so much to see their athletes improve and grow into young adults. I know, I've seen them in action.
On Tuesday and Friday nights, high school teams go to war and coaches are the Generals leading them into battle. But coaching is also a fraternity/sorority. When one is hurting, others come running.
Take the recent case of new Memorial coach Kaddie Platt. In a tragic boating accident, she lost her only child Robert Platt, who was also a UH pole vaulter. She is new to the job after coaching at HBU and UH as the college ranks, however, social media was flooded with well-wishes from across the city and state.
It's horrific for a family to go through the loss of a child. Coach Platt and her family's strength is on display and we can learn from them. We can also lift them up.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Platt family during this difficult time as the area's volleyball community supports one of their own.
Sometimes it's not about the games.