Ken Wynne is back at Turlock Christian High to coach the varsity volleyball team into the 2016 season and perhaps for a much longer stint than that.
The recently retired Wynne, who is passionate about volleyball and still plays recreationally for fun, expressed his excitement at returning to where he stepped down after winning his second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Championship during the 2013-14 season.
“What led to me coming back is being able to retire,” said Wynne. “My company offered me an early retirement plan and soon as I knew that was happening I called coach Pam Franco and asked if she needed help.”
This was during last season.
Wynne came on as a second assistant to Franco's senior-heavy team that went 22-9 overall and 11-1 in conference play.
“I can't give away all my secrets but I am not sharing anything new, to me there are two things. One is to coach desire, to make the girls want to play hard and make sacrifices,” said Wynne. “I am a real stickler for basic fundamentals you know I am old school, but it comes down to fundamentals.”
Fundamentals will be critical for a team that looks drastically different from just a year ago.
There are only four seniors on this seasons roster and nine total varsity players. Camryn Lanigan is the player with the most sets under her belt of all returners.
“I am a realist and will know it's going to be a tough rebuilding year and a good year for others to come after us since our armor is thinner,” said Wynne.
Franco, who will retire after the 2016, will be assisting coach Wynne heading into a rebuilding phase that includes losing over seven quality starters.
“It's even hard for me to put a starting lineup because we don't have our full team since its real small,” said Wynne. “This year and next year probably will be rebuilding years for Turlock Christian volleyball.”
Wynne has a vision to create a powerhouse program, beginning at the youngest level possible and building up.
“We are taking little steps,” said Wynne. “Now that I have time, I will build the program down to elementary and middle school. Before I couldn't do that since I was working so much, but now that I can I will work with the lower level players and I am looking forward to it.”
Patience is a strong asset for Wynne who is back at TC.
Some of the players that coach Wynne will rely on this season are Maty Hooker, Sydney Mensonides and Lanigan. Look for Lauren Knapp, Nicole Mendonca, Danika Muller and Zoe Visaraga to play a big role in this year's slimmer roster.
The Central California Athletic Association won't be an easy task for the Eagles if they hope to finish atop the standings.
“I know our league is tough, Millenium and Big Valley Christian and Stone Ridge Christian as well are coming after us and those teams have great coaches and great programs,” said Wynne. “If we can come away with third, I'll go through the roof with excitement but it's not to say we can't surprise some teams. It all depends on how hard the girls work and how much they learn.”