By Jarah Wright
Ronda Shirley is beginning her first season as the head coach of the Apache volleyball team.
She previously coached at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. During her 13 years as head coach she set many school records for her coaching, as well as her team winning championships and players earning awards. According to information provided, the HCC volleyball team won five Region VI championships, four Jayhawk West Championships and placed in five tournaments within the last six years.
Shirley was selected from a pool of 40-50 applicants, according to TJC Athletic Director Tim Drain.
“When we hire a new coach, we look for a few things. Have they been successful, had junior college experience and are they a good fit for TJC? Ronda was a perfect fit,” said Drain. “She’s passionate about the game which is, in my opinion, a sign of a good coach. She’s very intense, gets a lot out of her girls and is a tireless recruiter.”
Coach Shirley is also excited about the transition to TJC.
“Having played against the TJC volleyball team for several years, I knew there was a tremendous amount of local and statewide talent. Dana Hatch, the former coach, laid a great foundation and reputation within the volleyball program, and I was excited for the possible opportunity to continue that success and build upon it,” said Shirley
The transition from Kansas to Texas has been smooth as well.
“Of course, uprooting any family and relocating is a major adjustment, but I feel like they are enjoying the new atmosphere, the people of Tyler and the new adventure we all face,” said Shirley.
Shirley is also looking forward to the Meet the Coach event.
“I am anxious to meet people that have an interest in our sport and an interest in supporting the student athletes that are dedicating themselves to representing TJC Athletics,” said Shirley.
Drain believes the event is beneficial because Shirley will be introduced and everyone will know who she is.
The volleyball team is focusing on growing this season and building a solid squad.
“I expect to produce a team that represents class, quality and competitiveness,” said Shirley. “I also expect to see my team grow and learn with each new challenge and competition we face. If we do all of the above, we should also be able to produce some wins along the way.”
According to Drain, this will be a great volleyball season.
“It’s an exciting time for Region XIV volleyball,” said Drain. “If we can compete in the conference with strength, then we’re going to be one of the teams to beat in the national tournament.”
By Jarah Wright