Coward steps away from volleyball

Josh Rosenstein, Staff Writer


Oliver Davey

The WA Boys Varsity Volleyball team’s season ended in the first round of the north region of the MIAA Division 1 North Tournament. The grey ghosts narrowly lost 3-2 in sets to Lawrence High School.

Five juniors will be returning to the team next year, but it is also losing a tremendous ten seniors. Along with all the seniors graduating, one familiar face will also be leaving the volleyball team next year. Coach Russell Coward will not be coaching the volleyball team next year after seven seasons with the boys’ high school team.

A few different reasons contributed to Coward’s decision to walk away from the team. Among the reasons, he pointed out that his children are getting older and he does not want to miss out on time with them. He also talked about how the person most likely replacing him is very qualified for the position.

“It’s a good time for me to leave and have somebody more qualified come in to really teach the team well. It’s a good time to go,” Coward said.

Coward indicated that he hopes his replacement will be the current junior varsity coach, Alexi Bukuras. He believes that she is more than capable to take over the varsity team.

“There have been no decisions made yet, but I think that we have a very qualified candidate who was our JV coach this year, who I am hoping will apply for the job and be accepted,” Coward said.

Coward, who is also the Girls Varsity Basketball coach, enjoyed the opportunity every spring to coach a different sport.

“It’s a nice change of pace coaching the guys. […] Because it’s a spring sport it’s probably a little bit more easy going, and there’s a little bit less pressure, but it’s a nice balance. I like coaching both,” Coward said.

With boys’ volleyball being a spring sport, the season takes place with the school year winding down and players getting ready for summer. Coward acknowledged that it can be hard to balance a relaxed and lenient stance, especially for seniors who go to Disney and have the prom, and a strict approach to making sure the team is reaching its potential.

“A spring sport is tough to coach. There is a lack of focus by most people because it’s the spring and volleyball is pretty senior dominated, so it is really hard to keep kids on track and focus,” Coward said.

Coward expressed how he will miss seeing everyone at all three levels of boys’ volleyball get together for a common goal. He enjoyed watching everyone on all the teams develop, and he knows that the team will still be successful with a new coach.

“I feel like I’ve had a good run, and I know that whoever takes over next is just going to keep WA Volleyball in the tournament and keep doing well,” Coward said.