New volleyball coach wants to ‘unleash the potential’
The Basehor-Linwood High School volleyball team has a new coach, but it's not likely to throw the squad into chaos or confusion; these girls are used to coaching changes. When former University of Kansas player Tammy Zydlo was hired in April she became the third different volleyball coach at BLHS in the last three years.
With last year's team made up almost entirely of sophomores and juniors, many of them will play their first three seasons under a different coach each year, which Zydlo said should speed the transition to her coaching style and routine.
"I would say it's probably made them a little more flexible," Zydlo said. "They've probably been exposed to all sorts of coaching, I'd imagine."
Zydlo's coaching will likely borrow heavily from what she learned playing for the Jayhawks from 1984-1987. After her college days were over she continued to compete as a player in various leagues before she started coaching AAU volleyball in 2000.
The BLHS job will be Zydlo's first at the high school level, but activities director Joe Keeler said he had no doubts about her qualifications.
"We're just elated to have her," Keeler said. "She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game."
Zydlo said she has had great experiences coaching in the past and that she is looking forward to the new challenge of turning around the Basehor-Linwood program. Although the volleyball team hasn't put together a winning season recently it is stocked with young athletes who have excelled in other sports, which led Zydlo to her slogan for the first season, "Unleash the Potential."
In order to make that goal a reality, Zydlo said she plans to institute "college level" practices. That might sound intimidating to some high school athletes, but current junior Lindsey Kramer said she welcomes the challenge.
"I think that will be good for our team," Kramer said. "I think we need more intensity in practice."
Kramer and all the other Lady Bobcats from last season will be returning and will be looking to build on a regional playoff that showed just how much potential they have. Seeded seventh, last year's team knocked off 2nd-seeded Sumner Academy and then put a scare into the home squad, Tonganoxie, which finished second.
The playoff upset over Sumner seemed to inject some life into the whole program, with players talking afterwards about a regional championship being a real possibility next season. Zydlo will get the team together for camp from June 26-30, but Kramer and some of her teammates plan to prepare throughout the offseason.
"I think the team's going to come out a lot stronger," Kramer said. "Me and some of the others are playing on a beach volleyball team this season to help keep our skills up over the summer."
Whether the Lady 'Cats' hard work pays off in championships or not, Zydlo said she plans to coach for awhile. She said the experience, for her, is more about filling the void that was created when she left competitive volleyball.
"I truly enjoy the camaraderie of belonging to a team," she said. "And a lot of it has to do with wanting to pass on what I've learned."
Zydlo said that Amy Payne would remain with the team as an assistant coach, but that she was still looking for another assistant, preferably a teacher.