Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Head Bobcat steps down after 2 seasons

Basehor-Linwood volleyball coach resigns to focus on family

March 17, 2005

Sometimes sports writers have the tendency to be critical of coaches, and forget that behind the sports we cover, are the lives of human beings. Most of these coaches, in addition to facing the challenges from a long season of competition, also get to go home and make dinner for their children. For second year BLHS volleyball coach, and mother of four boys, Lisa Phelps knew something had to go, and it was coaching.

In only two seasons Phelps took the first steps towards rebuilding a program that hasn't seen much success since the 80's. Two weeks ago she reluctantly announced her resignation, finishing 22-41 as the Bobcats head volleyball coach.

Phelps made the decision when she discovered that her husband, a Marine, would be returning to Iraq for his second tour of duty in two years. Phelps will be left with the responsibility of taking care of their 6, 5, 3, and 1-year old boys, all by herself.

Phelps already went through one season of being a volleyball coach, and single mother, when her husband went on his first tour. She felt that it wouldn't be fair to her girls or her family if she continued to coach.

"I just couldn't be mom, dad and everything else," Phelps said, who believes her decision to resign will benefit all parties involved. "If I couldn't do my job to the absolute fullest, I didn't want to do it."

As if being without her husband for a second time wasn't enough, a recent story in Reader's Digest opened the tensions of her life to the public. The story focused on the fact that for the first time ever, a father and son (her husband and father-in-law), would be stationed together in the same unit.

"It is extremely hard because you've got this side of you that believes in our country and what we're doing, but I'm scared to death," an emotional Phelps said.

But Phelps isn't a stranger to being a Marine's wife, which is probably a quality that made her a good volleyball coach. Even though she won't be running the Bobcats team, she'll be cheering from the sidelines.

"I'm really going to miss it, it took a huge weight off my shoulders, but I'll be at their games," she said.

Under Phelps the Bobcats brought home their first trophy in several years, taking fifth place at the Lansing tournament last season. The Bobcats haven't been the top team in the Kaw Valley league but made some significant steps forward in Phelps' tenure.

According to Phelps, the Bobcats under new tutelage should look to improve on last season's offensive output and get a little more aggressive close to the net.

"I have a lot of faith in the team," Phelps said. "They can get better, I know they can do it."

Even though she'll miss her coaching days, Phelps looks forward to taking care of her four boys.

But she will always remember her two years at BLHS when she got to take care of a bunch of daughters, as well.

Basehor-Linwood athletic director Joe Keeler said the school would not take immediate action in finding a replacement for Phelps, but said the process would begin soon.

"We're always looking for continuity in our programs and are hoping to find someone who can also fill a teaching position in our building," Keeler said. But we appreciate the job Lisa did while she was here. She brought a lot of energy to the program and we wish her the best in the future."

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