Sanders excited to return to college ranks
New coach ready to build on team's newfound success.
By ADAM HOLT
A chance to come back to Garden City was a draw for new Garden City Community College volleyball coach Harvey Sanders, but it wasn't the main attraction.
"Having some roots a little bit. I've been looking at getting back into college coaching over the last couple of months," he said in a Wednesday telephone interview. "... There's a difference between coaching college and coaching youth."
Sanders has worked with LoneStar Volleyball in Frisco, Texas, since 2008, coaching youth club teams, among many other duties. He said there are some aspects of the game that he doesn't work on with younger players, that he can train with college-age athletes.
That was a big reason Sanders decided he wanted to get back into college coaching.
"Working with young adults instead of kids," he said. "Being able to be a little more selective with the populations I work with. There's some nuances of the game that you don't get into when you coach youth sports that are more prevalent in college athletics."
Sanders has plenty of college coaching experience, working as an assistant with the women's team at the University of North Texas from 2007 to 2010. He served as men's head coach at Newman University in Wichita from 2004 to 2007, and also worked at Bethune-Cookman (Fla.) as an assistant.
Those connections, along with more than eight years of involvement with USA Volleyball training camps, give him plenty of contacts when recruiting.
"Recruiting will be a place where I have a lot of rubber on that road," Sanders said. "I've got a lot of people I can talk to."
And having worked with so many different levels and ages of athletes will pay off on the coaching side, too.
"In the gym and with the team, I think that my experience is going to allow me to be more patient — understanding the process or being able to allow those kids to develop and learn, and those kind of aspects that are required in programs that are getting better," he said.
Sanders' contract started Wednesday, and he will be on campus for a meeting today. He already met with the team's returning players on the day he interviewed for the job, and has contacted all the incoming signees.
"The kids that are in the program right now are extremely excited," Sanders said. "We had a good conversation, and I kind of told them how it's gonna be and what I expected. They were excited about that. They just wanted to make sure they were gonna get a good coach. My rÃ©sumÃ© kind of says that I am. Now, I've just got to go in the gym and prove it."
Garden City had its first winning season (21-20) in years last season under Rob Lutz, and while Sanders said that's a good start, there's still a lot of work to do to make it a winning program year-in and year-out.
"I think the program is in a good spot," Sanders said. "I think Rob started a transition, but one year doesn't make a tradition. We're gonna have to build annually to get back to that winning tradition."