Carrigan teacher named top volleyball coach in conference
Carrigan teacher named top volleyball coach in conference
Posted on 12/05/2014
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WEST HAVEN, Dec. 2, 2014 — West Haven High School girls volleyball Coach Kate Coldren has been named volleyball Coach of the Year by the Southern Connecticut Conference.

Coldren, who has been a physical education and health teacher at Carrigan Intermediate School for the past 12 years and worked at Bailey and elementary schools for two years before that, accepted the award last month. Her team made the first round of SCC and CIAC play-offs this fall, ending this season with a record of 12-8.

“I’ve coached against a lot of good coaches who have been around a long time, so it’s truly an honor to win the award. I respect them so much, so this was awesome. I feel West Haven High School volleyball has come a long way the past few years,” said Coldren, who played the sport when she was a student at the University of Delaware and in high school while growing up in Pennsylvania. “It doesn’t mean you’re the best team for the year, but it’s about what you’re doing with the team and the program.”

Coldren has been the head coach of the WHHS girls volleyball team for five years and spent five years as assistant coach. Prior to that, she was the head coach for Notre Dame Catholic High School of Fairfield for four years.

The WHHS volleyball program has grown over the past several years, as students have been working harder during the off-season to train, and the city Parks and Recreation Department’s volleyball clinics for younger students have created an informal “feeder” program for the high school team, Coldren explained.

Coldren runs a four-week clinic in the spring for children who are 9-13, and the assistant volleyball coach runs another in the summer. Additionally, Bailey Middle School has club volleyball.

Last year’s WHHS volleyball record was 8-12, and the team “made the tournament by the skin of our teeth,” Coldren said.

“This year I had a good core group of seniors who worked really hard in the off-season. You need to do a lot outside to improve because it’s a short season,” Coldren said. “We’ve been trying to get people interested in the clinics, and it’s helping to build the program. I can see a difference with the freshmen coming in.”

Though she won the top coach award this year, she says her volleyball players help make her job easy. This was the best season for the team since she came on board, she said.

“I’m just so proud of the girls and how hard they’ve worked. I don’t have anything to worry about with them. They’re a great example on and off the court and outside of school,” Coldren added. “They’ve said to me they want to help change West Haven volleyball and make the program something bigger, and they’re so proud to be on the team.”

WHHS Athletic Director Jonathan Capone agreed that the team has made significant progress since Coldren began leading the group and that the award is well deserved. She’s highly respected by both students and other coaches, he added.

“Kate has shown a remarkable amount of perseverance and commitment to her team, and she’s a great role model for the girls she coaches,” Capone said.

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