Grover is new coach for Fillies’ volleyball

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Veteran coach Jodi Grover is the new head coach for the Iola High volleyball program. She has 16 years of coaching experience including last year as the Fillies’ junior varsity coach.

When is being new not new but it is new?
Jodi Grover is the new head coach for Iola High volleyball. But she’s been at IHS for three years as a counselor and spent the 2008 season as the Fillies’ assistant volleyball coach.
“I really missed coaching high school volleyball and last year I had the opportunity to help at the junior varsity level here,” Grover said. “My first year here (2007) was the only time I didn’t coach at a school.”
Grover brings 16 years of coaching experience to the IHS program. She had never been an assistant coach until last year.
“I just love volleyball and the year I didn’t coach here, I coached a 13-year-old club team in Ottawa. That was very good for me because it made me reassess where I was as a coach. I’m very big on fundamentals.”
The Grover era began for the Fillies, not over the weekend in their first action of the 2009 season, but late in the spring. When Deena Powelson stepped down as IHS volleyball head coach in March, Grover made the decision to apply for the head coaching position.
“Once I got it the transition has been smooth. I know the girls and we had a very successful junior varsity (24-6) season last year. It was different than my other two head coaching jobs because in those situations I was the new person walking into the building. The kids didn’t know me and I didn’t know them,” she said.
“Here, we knew each other and they knew my expectations from them as a coach. We were able to have the camp right after school finished and most came to the open gym during the summer to work on skills.”
Grover began her coaching career as head coach at Central Heights High School in Richmond. After two 12-18 seasons, the Lady Vikings went 18-13 and 20-12.
In 1999, Grover became the head coach at Ottawa High School. Grover’s teams went 213-131 in a nine-year span, winning 20 or more matches eight of those years. The ninth the Cyclones went 19-15. Ottawa won three straight league championships — 1999, 2000, 2001 — under Grover and won a substate championship in 2001.
“Passion for the game is probably my best asset. I played volleyball at Erie High School and we had the tradition there. Iola has a strong volleyball tradition also and I want to build on that,” Grover said.
As with any coaching change, there are changes in how things are done. Grover said the players have been great in the transition.
“We do new drills to help develop fundamentals. My teams play a different style of volleyball than what they’ve been playing here so we have to change things up. That means doing different techniques,” Grover said.
Grover’s experience in helping with summer camps and other programs comes into play with the practice plan for the Fillies. She said it was exciting for her to know what type of players she had here at Iola so she could develop her system around the team’s personnel.
Quickness is a mainstay for Grover’s teams, she said. Grover said the Fillies will play at a quicker pace in 2009 and that comes from working drills in practice.
“The girls looked at me funny on some of our drills but they’ll see how it all fits once we start playing. We’re ready for the season to begin and see where we are as a team,” Grover said.
Grover has another team — assistant coaches. Chrissy Powell moves from being a freshman team coach to coaching junior varsity this season. Casey Greenwood steps into the freshman coaching spot.
“Chrissy has done well coaching freshmen the past few years and should be great at the junior varsity level. Casey is strong on fundamentals and she’s a good fit as the freshman coach,” Grover said.
“Coaching is teaching not just a sport but the life skills such as teamwork and time management.”