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Volleyball Alumna Named Coach of the Year

Keanne BurtIn just her second year as the head coach for the women’s varsity volleyball team at Hargrave High School, Keanne Burt, a 2010 School of Education graduate, has reached a milestone in her career - winning the 2012-2013 high school volleyball All-Area Coach of the Year award.

Though just two years into coaching the varsity volleyball team, Burt is no stranger to coaching, she has been coaching club volleyball for 10 years.

Her focus on building her athletes both on and off the court has led to many accolades on the court, six of her athletes were named to all-area teams this season, and academically, the team has a collective GPA of 3.5.

“I work at investing in their future,” Burt said, “I know that not all my students want to play volleyball in college, they just want to go the student route. There are a few who want to keep playing, so being a former college athlete, I can tell them what they are getting into.”

As a coach, Burt stresses the importance of team involvement. She welcomes feedback form players to help adjust the balance of the team and facilitate team unity by holding a team dinner on Mondays, hosted by the parents of the varsity players, where the athletes can interact and study outside of a school setting.

“It is really nice to have the support where you don’t feel the pressure of ‘You didn’t have a winning season so you are fired,’” Burt said. “Here, they want you to grow. Seeing how invested in the students the principal is makes you want to work harder.”

Once Burt realized her passion for volleyball and knew she would like to continue her involvement as a coach, she set out to become an educator. At St. Thomas she studied in education while earning a minor in history and playing as the libero for the Lady Celts volleyball team. Through the influence of coaches and Todd Smith, UST’s athletic director, Burt has absorbed nuggets of wisdom and advice that has been able to apply herself.

“Being exposed to a higher level of volleyball helps you communicate better with your athletes,” Burt said. “I know how I want to be treated as a player, so it helps me see the reverse and better understand my role as a coach.”

Moving forward, Burt wants to continue to build the future of the program. Outside of encouraging the younger players to train year round, Burt will bring eighth graders from the local middle school to practice with the high school during the offseason so they can get used to the pace of the game at the high school level.

With a winning record and reputation to defend, Burt plans to start the next season off strong.

“When you have a winning record everybody wants to beat you, whether they should beat you or not, they want to take a shot at you and knock you off your game,” Burt said. “Knowing that, there is no time to relax or slack off. Even in the first round of district play, we are going to go hard because we want to go to the state tournament.” 

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