Shuffling coaches is a fact of life
by "Big Joe" Lombardi
Cup O' Joe
Lady Dawg volleyball's leadership torch has been passed, but that beacon is burning as bright as ever.
Everybody who knows me will tell you I don't like change, none, some at all, any. But sometimes, it becomes a necessary move.
Case in point: Highly successful Copperas Cove head volleyball coach Cari Lowery was promoted to district athletic director several weeks ago, making it imperative that she replace herself as leader of the program. After sifting through a pile of applications, Lowery decided who should pin on the Sheriff's badge.
Fans will recognize the name, but the title "assistant" has been updated to "head" coach and it belongs to Christy Thompson.
A graduate of Van High School, who played college ball at Collin County Community College and Texas Woman's University, Thompson paid her dues with assistant jobs at Springtown and Lake Worth, then was head coach at Bastrop, before arriving in Copperas Cove 10 years ago to join Lowery's staff.
Here's that word again...change. Does Thompson see a need to adjust the team culture or how things are done?
She does not and I agree. All members of this team have been taught the right way to compete in the Lowery system and as you likely have heard somewhere "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Thompson greeted seven returners from the 2021 playoff team, but she says "They're still young as far as experience goes." The coach also pointed out Cove doesn't have a tremendous amount of size, but mentioned 5' 11" sophomore Chloe Tuiasosopo, who has been moved to middle blocker, will give the front row plenty of pop, energizing the team with her leadership, while setter Jakhi Smith, another player who has moved into a leadership role, has great hands and feet " and is like a coach on the court." Thompson is also looking for big things out of 5' 11" Illiana Buitron.
After a great summer of near 100 athletes coming in daily for strength and conditioning work plus an hour of sport-specific teaching, the Lady Dawgs are scrimmaging this weekend. They were at Leander Cedar Ridge today and will return to the friendly confines of Bulldawg Gym tomorrow at 9 a.m. to face Georgetown Eastview, Liberty Hill and Leander Glenn. It will be a good chance for Thompson and assistant coach Melissa Penney to get a look at the team against outside competition before the regular season gets underway.
"I'm excited for the season," said Thompson. "I know we'll have to bring our A game every night. We're working hard on it."
See you at the gym on Saturday morning.