BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend High School volleyball coach Shelly Duvall has coaching in her blood.
Duvall inherits a rich coaching legacy thanks to her grandfather Jack Bowman; and her mother Jackie Cook. Bowman coached 37 years in high school and junior college and earned Barton Community, Bethany College and National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame honors. Her mother coached volleyball and track at Ellinwood and Great Bend.
“I am walking in the footsteps of my grandfather Jack Bowman and mother Jackie Cook. You could say coaching runs in our family,” Duvall said. “I’m very lucky to have such amazing role models in my life. I can only hope to be as good as they were!”
Duvall served as head coach at Ellinwood, leading the Eagles to two substate runner-up finishes and a Central Prairie League title last year. Duvall was an all-state volleyball player at Ellinwood for her mother and she played college volleyball at Cloud County.
Her 10-year coaching career started at Great Bend High School, where she coached volleyball with her mother and Kelsey Perry. She’s coached at the middle school and high school level at Ellinwood.
“We were substate runner ups two years and CPL champions in a very tough league,” she said.
Duvall will replace Kelsey Perry as head volleyball coach. She will teach physical education and weights at Great Bend, replacing Katie Homolka.
The Great Bend summer volleyball program is off to a fast 9-0 start.
“5A schools are much larger than I’m used to coming from a 2A school,” she said. “It’s a lot more players to manage. But I’m excited for the change.”
Garden City, a regular 6A state qualifier, has dominated the Western Athletic Conference the past few years.
“The WAC Conference is extremely competitive,” she said. “Our entire schedule is a very high level of volleyball.”
Duvall said the summer success shows the Panthers will rely on defense to overcome a lack of height.
“We have very athletic girls, but we are very short compared to our competitors,” Duvall said. “We will have to focus on our defensive side of the ball in order to compete while being smart offensively. These girls can definitely do all of that. They are smart girls who are willing to work hard in order to win. Private schools and starting line-ups with girls over 6-foot will be hard to compete with.”
Duvall liked what she saw working with the younger players running summertime camps for third grade through middle school. She always emphasizes basic fundamentals.
“When I host camps, we always go back to the basics,” she said. “So many kids that come through these days don’t necessarily know the fundamentals of the game.
“We talk about the correct terminology when working on skills, why we focus on certain things, and how they all work together to form the game. I want the athletes to play smart and loading them with information at young age only helps them individually and makes our team much stronger in high school.”
Duvall, with the heart of a coach, said she enjoys working with the younger players and see them develop the love of the game.
“Every single time they walked into the gym they were eager to learn,” she said. “Camp week was awesome with 80 girls from third to eighth grade. We have some talented girls coming in the next few years. Most are multi-sport athletes in addition to volleyball. Now, if we can just get them all to grow taller, we would be in good shape.”