Mechanicsburg volleyball coach Kassie Coffman may have always looked at her players as daughters, but she officially became a first-time mom in March with the birth of her son, Conor.
The new arrival was a joyous occasion, of course, but it also created a dilemma for the sixth-grade math teacher, who suddenly found herself pressed for time.
“It was a struggle to decide whether I should come back to coach or shouldn’t come back — and whether or not I could give it my all,” Coffman said. “I’m glad I did.”
Asked what swayed her decision, she said: “It was for the girls. I just can’t imagine not being there with them and seeing them through this process.”
She’s in her fourth season as varsity coach after spending five years with the JVs. The Indians have always been an Ohio Heritage Conference contender but haven’t won a title, usually finishing behind either West Liberty-Salem or Catholic Central.
“It just seems like we haven’t been able to put all the pieces together,” Coffman said. “Every year, we either have a bunch of hitters and no passers or a bunch of passers and no hitters.”
That could change this season. Although they’re off to a 1-3 start, they have plenty of veteran returnees.
Marry Mayo, who earned second-team All-OHC honors, occupies the middle of the lineup, and Coffman said: “She’s our power player. She’s the one we look to when we need a big play.”
Emma Dunham had 100 blocks as a freshman last season while being named honorable mention all-league.
Cecilia Link is replacing all-conference setter Katie Bush as the primary setter, and Coffman likes her moxie.
“She said, ‘I want that position’ and fought for it,” the coach said. “She has big shoes to fill, but she’s definitely not backing away from the challenge.”
Coffman feels like she’s constantly on the go, but she brings Conor to practice and gets a kick over how the players dote on him.
“Before practice starts, they have him on the ground, trying to teach him to crawl and they’re carrying him around. They love him,” she said.
As for how she’s doing with her time management, Coffman said: “It is quite a lot, but you just take it day by day and you prioritize things. Whatever doesn’t get done today will get done tomorrow.”