Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Now Serving . . . High School Boys Volleyball Courts Success

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Now Serving . . . High School Boys Volleyball Courts Success

Article excerpt

Wayne Pounds is a regular at Kirkwood High boys volleyball games, which are played in the gym where he coached the school's girls team for 20 years before retiring in 1994.

But even in retirement, Pounds brings enthusiasm to the gym. Standing in the corner, he examines each point from a coach's perspective and expounds on the players' execution, talent and psyche.

Pounds has earned the right to his opinions. The boys he is scrutinizing are playing because of his efforts, which began when he first set foot on the Kirkwood court.

Missouri doesn't officially recognize Pounds as a former Kirkwood boys volleyball coach. But he held the job for eight years while battling to upgrade the sport from a club activity to one sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Boys volleyball is in its first year as an official MSHSAA sport. And though Pounds no longer is directly involved - Karen Hopkins coaches the Kirkwood boys team - he revels as he considers the opportunities his crusa de will provide.

"The sport is going to reach a much greater number than it ever would have if it hadn't been sanctioned," Pounds said. "We would have continued as a club league and been successful with good volleyball. But this makes a statement regarding the game, that it's not just an isolated few who are interested."

Boys volleyball was sanctioned in May 1995, and 32 St. Louis-area schools chose to field a varsity team this year. Most of them have a junior varsity team, bolstering Pounds' contention that plenty of boys are interested in the sport.

It started as a club activity in 1987, with 12 schools. But Pounds believes it is on the verge of reaching the 50 teams needed to hold a state tournament. With school districts providing financing, the number of participants is expected to grow.

"I've got to believe that within the next two or three years, you'll see virtually every school in St. …

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