photo by Evan Petty
Story by Kylee Luce
The Jeffersonville High School volleyball team ended last year with a record of 12-16. Shortly after the 2015-16 season, former coach Renee Stock made the decision to resign, meaning the team would be getting a new coach for their upcoming season.
At the end of March 2016, it was announced that the new volleyball coach would be former Red Devil Liz Cooper-Laythe. Cooper-Laythe, a Jeff alumni that graduated in 2007, was coached by Stock during her high school volleyball years, and played three out of four years at the Varsity level.
“Being back feels good; it just feels like home” Cooper-Laythe said.
Cooper-Laythe was hesitant to get into high school coaching initially, but after spending time thinking about it, she decided she was ready for the task.
“It didn’t feel right. I didn’t think I knew enough about it to run a whole program and I was young and not ready,” Cooper-Laythe said about her doubts.
When Stock resigned and she heard the news, it was the right timing and she decided she was ready. Cooper-Laythe stated that, “Basically the whole volleyball community persuaded me to apply for the coaching position.”
Cooper-Laythe has some coaching experience, including club volleyball for Prodigy. She also has been doing private lessons for many years. The 26-year-old has many new ideas that she wants to implement into Jeff’s volleyball program.
“I would like to change the mindset. I don’t want kids to be afraid to make mistakes,” Cooper-Laythe said. “I want them to think positively about themselves, not only because I am coaching athletes, but because I am coaching women that will be adults one day. My job is not only to make them confident athletes, but confident women,” Cooper-Laythe said.
Current players are already excited for the change, including senior Alexis Bassett.
“Change brings opportunity and I believe that Coach Liz brings a lot to the court.” said senior Alexis Bassett.
The hiring process was an easy one when it came to Cooper-Laythe.
“Coach Liz was hired for a number of reason,” Athletic Director Todd Satterly said. “She was the most qualified candidate, is a former Jeffersonville graduate, was provided excellent references by respected and successful coaches throughout the area, is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the sport, and I believe will relate well to our student-athletes.”
The team and coach Laythe want to win and have high hopes for the upcoming season.
“I would like to have one big upset,” Cooper-Laythe said. “A team that we aren’t supposed to beat; I want to beat.”