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Boys Volleyball folds due to lack of players, dissension with coach

Damien Humpherys, a senior, was on the Boys Volleyball Team before it disbanded. Photo by Hailey Juergenson

The Bruins Varsity Volleyball program has suffered a big loss with the cancellation of the 2017 Boys Team.

According to officials, the Varsity Boys Volleyball Team has officially disbanded due to a lack of players and general lack of interest in the sport. Former players also cited issues with Coach Keith Hart.  

Bear River Athletic Director Duwaine Ganksie discussed the team’s early demise.

“There wasn’t enough guys, I think they ended up with six,” he said. “You only need six to play but with six, if somebody gets injured or someone is sick, then there really isn’t enough for a team.”

Mr. Ganskie said the ultimate decision to disband the team fell to the players themselves.

“(The decision) was actually put to them last night like ‘what do you guys want to do?’” he said. “Some of them wanted to go to Track and do different things. They didn’t really want to keep it going.”

Mr. Ganskie’s feelings about the team’s disintegration were very clear.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating,” he said. “I want to see the guys there. The six guys that were named, I wanted to see them have a season but unfortunately they weren’t able to pull enough guys together to pull it off.”

Several Volleyball players expressed relief about the team’s unfolding. Senior Damien Humphreys was happy that the season was over so soon.

“Well, a lot of the players were on and off about the practices and so was the coach, I’m actually kind of glad it’s over,” he said.

Sam Nichols, a junior, was disappointed but he saw a positive outlook for the team next year.

“I’m a little upset just because we won’t be able to play Volleyball this year but I’m sure there is going to be more kids trying out next year with the new coach, so I don’t think it’s the end of the program.”

Another junior, Jake Leonard, talked about how this was a disappointing moment in school history, despite it being the best decision for the team.

“I think it’s going to be better for us personally but it’s kind of sad for the school…” Leonard said. “It’s going to be hard to wrap my head around not playing a sport after so many years of playing Volleyball but it’ll be better for all of us.”

Several players also cited issues with Coach Hart as a factor in the cancellation of the season.

Trevor Chandler, a junior, praised Coach Hart’s knowledge of the sport, but said there was often confusion about the practice schedule.

“Yeah, I think that he was a good coach, like he knew the game and he knew how to win and get people together, but when it came to actually being punctual and setting dates and sticking to them and things like that he wasn’t a straight shooter there,” he said.

Players said the team often struggled to see eye-to-eye with Coach Hart, which caused rifts during practice.

“I don’t know if it’s him or it’s us but it just seems like everyone butts heads with him,” said Leonard. “Our team is pretty close to each other and it seems like we all have the same opinion. It’s just not a good aspect of the team.”

“They didn’t like the coach at all and then the coach didn’t feel like it was going to be a good year so he kept on cancelling practices and stuff,” Humphreys said.

At press time, Coach Hart had not yet responded to The Current’s request for comment. Mr. Ganksie weighed in on the alleged issue with the team and the coach.

“Part of this situation is that we were not able to field a junior varsity team,” he said. “This would have been a different coach, so what is at the heart of the crisis in the Boys Volleyball program is that we need more students that want to play, regardless of who is coaching. Many of our athletes play because they love the sport and they do not allow negativity to stop them from playing. We need to find enough student athletes who love volleyball enough to make it a positive experience.”

Despite the team’s cancellation, player hopes were high for next year’s season.

“I think next year we have a chance because there are some younger guys that’ll probably step up and play,” said Leonard.

“Hopefully next year, if we have a new coach, we can get some of those kids back and restart a program that can go strong, because we have a lot of good players at Bear River,” Nichols said. “We could have been top two in our league but we just didn’t have enough players.”

— Jared Pittsley contributed to this report.

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Boys Volleyball folds due to lack of players, dissension with coach