2013-08-25 / Sports

NL’s Sheri Warner nominated for National Coach of Year

BY ROD STUDAKER CITIZEN SPORTS

NEW LOTHROP – New Lothrop’s varsity volleyball coach, Sheri Warner, was recently nominated as one of eight candidates from across the United States as the National Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Warner, who is entering her 19th season as varsity coach at NL, was in attendance at the June 24-26 national convention in Des Moines, Iowa. The NHSACA announced the winner among the eight finalists at its banquet on June 26. Warner was not named the winner, but she says the experience of being selected as a finalist is something she will never forget.

“I am totally honored to have been one of eight in the country to be nominated and the experience I had out there at the annual meeting is something I will cherish forever,” said Coach Warner.

Warner and her husband, Rob, were at the meeting, an event where each of the eight nominees took turns making a 30 minute presentation relating to volleyball on the day(s) leading up to the banquet. Then, on the day of the banquet, Sheri and her husband were joined by a surprise visitor.

“My athletic director, Craig Atkins, never gave a hint that he was planning to come out there, but he showed up with a big smile on his face and was there for us at the banquet,” Warner said. “I can’t imagine many athletic directors doing something like that, and it made this whole thing just that much more special for me.”

Warner’s coaching record as New Lothrop’s volleyball coach is a remarkable one.

In her 18 previous years as the head coach there, her teams have won 11 league championships, 10 district titles, six regional crowns and have captured three state championships. The Lady Hornets won the Class D title in 2000 and earned Class C crowns in 2002 and 2004.

“One of the things that helped me a lot when I was first starting out was that some of the veteran coaches in the area kind of took me under their wing and helped me to learn the ropes early,” Warner explains. “So now, I try to pay forward a little and do the same thing for others when I see the opportunity.”

At first, Warner didn’t even know there was such a thing as an Academic All-State Award given out to varsity teams that reached a high team grade point average, but she says once she learned of it, her teams have achieved that high honor every year since. She estimates that the NL volleyball team has been Academic All- State for the past 16 years or so. She points out that this is just one more example of the quality of student athletes she has had the opportunity to coach.

?This honor is reflective of all of the players I have coached, the assistant coaches in our system, and the entire New Lothrop community,” explains Warner. “It’s a big picture and it is a New Lothrop volleyball family thing.”

And it is literally a family thing for Coach Warner on the personal level.

“My husband has been there for me from Day One and he has become more and more a part of our volleyball program as the years have gone by,” says Warner. “He changed his work schedule around so he could be here with me more and he has been a great assistant varsity coach for me and our players.”

Sheri’s son, Adam, who graduated from New Lothrop in 2006, was also part of the volleyball program, helping as a team manager in his younger days. And Sheri’s daughter, Sarah, played for NL from 2001 through 2004. Sarah was an All-State player and a key part of New Lothrop’s state championship teams in 2002 and 2004. Sarah went on to play volleyball at Central Michigan University and was recently named as Williamston High School’s varsity volleyball coach. Sarah teaches high school math at the school.

“I have lived here my whole life, graduated from New Lothrop, have had my family, my friends, my school and my community with me the whole way,” said Warner. “Again, I want to emphasize how much this individual honor is just a part of all those who have been a part of this volleyball program and how fortunate I am to be here at New Lothrop.”

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