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After 20 years Reese retires as volleyball head coach

Olivia Knoll, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 30, 2017

Varsity Head Coach Tami Reese, celebrates during the volleyball team’s semi-final match against Eastside Catholic. Reese was named coach of the year this season. (Olivia Knoll)

Varsity Head Coach Tami Reese, celebrates during the volleyball team’s semi-final match against Eastside Catholic. Reese was named coach of the year this season. (Olivia Knoll)

It’s 1985 and Ballard’s senior player Tami Reese is head-to-head with Ingraham’s outside hitter. Both are college bound players, top for their school. And she’s pumped up.
“C’mon!” a spirited Reese says, motivating her teammates.

Unfortunately her team took second place in the Metro championship to Ingraham.

“We were the rag-tag team, with old volleyballs,” Reese said. But her team still put up a fight.

Decades later she’s still on the court. Fast forward to 2017.

“Fight girls, fight,” Head Coach Reese said in the team’s Metro championship match against Roosevelt. Her determination and positivity guided the team to Ballard’s first Metro championship title.Also, Reese is the swim, lifetime sports and health teacher. In addition, she devoted the last 20 years as head coach of the varsity volleyball team, and now she is retiring from the program.

As a high school player Reese made the varsity team her sophomore year. She was captain both her junior and senior year, voted most inspirational, MVP and First Team all-Metro. Her number, 5, is now retired from the volleyball program. Reese’s beloved time with the team has finally come to an end.

Reese is retiring because she wants to spend more time with her family. “It’s not that they don’t want me to do it, it’s my choice,” Reese said. The volleyball schedule interferes with her time to watch both of her sons play fall baseball.

Throughout her 20 years of coaching, Reese has seen lots of changes in the sport. Former coach of the University of Washington team, Jim McLaughlin, “brought volleyball to Seattle,” Reese said.

The UW team dominates the game, currently ranked number 8 amongst D1 colleges. The fierce UW program inspires more young female athletes to play club volleyball, improving their game for a chance to play beyond high school.

What kind of coach is Reese? Well, for anyone who’s had a class with her, you know she’s constantly moving. Even during our interview, she was working out.
“She’s so energetic all the time, even at the morning practices at 6 a.m.,” freshman Angela Hsu said.

Reese has taught players more than just the game. “Ms. Reese has really taught me to keep working towards my goals,” junior Ava Aiken said.

At the beginning of the season, Reese gives each player a book of inspirational quotes to read throughout the season. “Everyday before practice we’ll read a quote,” Aiken said.

Senior captain Addison Baker appreciates how positive Reese is during matches. “Ms. Reese believes in us, reinforces what we know deep down,” Baker said. In every single game we’ve played she has trusted in us, and that has such a deeper meaning than any one thing she could say.

If the team falls behind in a match, Reese perseveres and continues to believe. “You gotta stay positive. I’ll get on the girls, but I’ll come right back with something positive,” Reese said.

“Ms. Reese wants everyone to be really open on the team,” Hsu said. This emulates the tight-knit community of the program. Photography teacher and main assistant coach Gina O’Neill played and was captain alongside Reese at Ballard. “She ended up being my best friend,” Reese said. Reese’s sister, Karin Hoover, played and now coaches for Ballard as well. Hoover has been a part of the program for 19 years. Close connections to Ballard also include Reese, O’Neill and Hoover’s high school coach Alford “Brother” Loe. Loe is the former head custodian and still coaches alongside his former players.

The coaches’ special bond influences the players. “The coaches’ trust in us resonates with all of us,” Baker said.

Ballard’s volleyball program is fortunate to have such a special connection amongst the coaches. “You don’t get coaches that stay 20 years anymore,” Reese said.

The new head varsity coach is undetermined. Reese will help with the transition of the new coach next season.

Reese’s legacy culminated with the 2017 Metro championship. “I gotta go out with a bang,” Reese said. She sure did with a Metro title for Ballard.

“It’s been the best,” Reese said with a smile.

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After 20 years Reese retires as volleyball head coach