Laramie County Community College lost its most successful volleyball coach in the program’s history when Austin Albers, who led LCCC to a record of 145-57 and two top-10 finishes at the national tournament, announced his departure earlier this year. But it didn’t take long to fill those big shoes with the signing of new coach Keri Coats.
Coats made her first appearance on the main LCCC campus in early March, which according to her was something kind of tough for a coach but was welcomed with open arms.
“Coming late in the spring is hard to come in and take over, because everyone is so new and I’m so new to the team, so it’s been like putting a bunch of puzzle pieces together real fast, but otherwise it’s been good and everyone is so supportive,” Coats said.
Coaching changes are always tough, according to Coats. No matter the circumstance of the change, say if the coach was let go, retires, or when a coach is able to move on and compete at a higher level, there is a transition period.
“I commend the girls for being tough, and Madison (Lacey) being so great and keeping things going throughout the change,” Coats said.
The LCCC volleyball team has been practicing since Feb. 1, and then competing in spring tournaments. This left the team without a head coach for around two months. In April, the players had to learn what Coats’ philosophies were and how she was to be expected as a head coach. They also competed in tournaments while Coats was able to run the team.
This is Coats’ first head coaching job at the college level as she was a club coach and then a, assistant at the College of Southern Idaho before that. According to Coats, many teams have different expectations and is currently working on building next year’s team by seeing what’s available and what LCCC can provide for her and the team.
The biggest difference for her, she said, is being in charge of scholarships, for who gets which amount of money. And with the help of Lacey, she was able to pick things up quickly. Last season Lacey was Albers’ assistant, and she was able to show Coats the in’s and out’s of the team.
“She has experience because of last year, and she has been able to help me pick up some background pieces, and she has really bought into what I’m trying to do here,” Coats said.
With the help of Lacey, Coats has been able to have the team buy into what she is trying to do as head coach.According to Coats, the team bought into what she is trying to do, which could have been challenging after taking over for a successful coach like Albers.
The summer isn’t a busy time for the team as they only have team camps in June. According to the National Junior College Athletics Association, players can’t participate in summer activities their team.
Coats said she is most excited to see Region IX volleyball up close. She saw some Region IX teams while at CSI and knows about the region, and she said she is excited to see what it’s like to actually be part of the region. To add, she’s excited to keep the tradition of “Building It Bigger.”
“I’m super excited that everyone has the same mentality that we are going to build upon the success that the volleyball team has already established,” Coats said.