High School Volleyball Losing Legendary Coaches Who Made Players, Sport Better
While every off season brings with it changes in the high school coaching ranks, the changes we are seeing this off season in volleyball may never be replicated in terms of the quality – both in the number of wins amassed and in the development of the sport across the state – of the coaches to step down.
Joanne Kappas stepped down as the head coach at Millard South. The 2014 season, in which she guided the Patriots to the state tournament – was her 33rd on the bench. She spent five years at Bellevue East, 19 at Bellevue West, four at Omaha Bryan and five at Millard South. Her 866 career wins ranks her third all-time in Nebraska history behind Grand Island Central Catholic’s Sharon Zavala and Ogallala’s Steve Morgan.
Kappas took a total of 25 teams to the state tournament – including one at each of the schools – and won 11 state titles at Bellevue West.
Earlier this week, Hastings St. Cecilia announced its long-time coach Alan VanCura was stepping down. VanCura was 830-252 in during his time with Hastings St. Cecilia and the Hawkettes won a total of six state championships, and two state runner-ups.
Earlier this year, Rochelle Rohlfs, who coached at Omaha Marian for 26 seasons, stepped down as coach and finished her career with more than 700 wins. Her teams went to state 21 times in those 26 season, including 21 of the past 22 years. She won four state titles, including the 2013 and 2014 Class A championships. Her teams have played for the Class A title in five of the past six seasons.
Also earlier this year, Lincoln Pius X coach Jake Moore decided to leave his position as coach while, like Rohlfs, staying at the school. During his time coaching the Thunderbolts, Moore had a career record of 705-232. His teams went to the state tournament 21 times, including the last 20 consecutive seasons – which is tied for the most consecutive trips in state history. His teams won seven state championships, one state runner-up title and finished as a state semi-finalist eight other times.