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Following a successful season in which the team made a return to sectionals play, California Pintos volleyball head coach Julie Bailey was named the Tri-County all-conference coach of the year.

This was the seventh year coaching for Bailey, and her second stint serving as the head coach for the volleyball team. Before coaching at California, Bailey coached volleyball at Valley R-6 in Caledonia.

Bailey said she was asked to be the volleyball coach the last time the position became available.

"I was already teaching PE at the high school, but not coaching any sports when the position opened," Bailey said. "Since I had previously coached, I was asked by the high school principal at the time if I would be interested."

Bailey had plenty of experience with volleyball before becoming a coach.

"When I was young, I played volleyball in my grandparents' yard every Sunday with my grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins," Bailey said. "Then, I played in middle school and high school. Eventually I was able to play in college at Central Methodist in Fayette, Missouri."

Being a coach in volleyball allows Bailey to continue to be a part of competitive sports, which is something she said she has always loved doing.

"Sports and being a part of a team teaches many life lessons," Bailey said. "Players learn to get along with others to accomplish a goal, to persevere in difficult situations and that hard work results in positive outcomes. If players can learn these valuable lessons, they will be able to handle life."

The volleyball team has seen consistent success while Bailey has served as head coach, making it to sectionals three times in the last four years. Bailey said getting to go to sectionals says a lot about the quality of players she has been blessed to coach.

"I have been lucky to coach a lot of great people and some amazing athletes who were willing to work hard to be successful," Bailey said. "It is very exciting to win districts and to see hard work gains results, but I am more excited for the girls. Many people don't realize how hard our female athletes work. They are often two or three sport athletes who spend countless hours in the summer getting ready for school athletics, and having them experience success after all of their hard work makes me thrilled for them and proud of them."

Bailey said she hopes the team continues to be successful.

"It will be interesting to see what happens next year with the additional class in volleyball, having the point system added to private schools and going to the best three out of five in the varsity match," Bailey said. "These changes will make the next few years in volleyball unique. As a coaching staff, we will have to see what adjustments we need to make to continue with our success."

There can be some tough parts when it comes to coaching, such as difficult parents and deciding who plays and who doesn't.

"One of the toughest parts of coaching is dealing with difficult parents," Bailey said. "The last couple of years that I have coached this has not been an issue, and coaching has been fun. I have had years where the parents have made the job of coaching very challenging, and it has affected how well the team plays and works together.

"It is also tough to make a decision not to play certain players because of their skill level. I don't mind deciding not to play someone because they haven't worked hard, but deciding to not play someone who works hard daily at practice but doesn't have the skill of other players is tough. The girls I get to coach are amazing people and (sometimes) due to no fault of theirs, they may not be as skilled as someone else. It is hard to explain that to them, but that is just another life lesson for them to learn. If they can handle that disappointment with grace and understanding, they will be able to handle life's challenges as well."

Bailey said the best part of coaching is the relationship she has with her players.

"They become my girls, and I love getting to watch them grow over the course of four years into amazing young adults," Bailey said. "Watching them work hard and accomplish goals is very rewarding. I probably get to spend more time with them than parents during the season, and I am blessed to be a part of their lives. Their work ethic in the classroom, in the weight room and in the gym is something to admire. I am very proud of their character and the people they are. I am lucky to be a part of that."

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