Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

For the Love of He Game

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

For the Love of He Game

Article excerpt

FEATURED SPORT: VOLLEYBALL

Cothron has been coaching for 22 years, but she's in her rookie season with Bayshore

BRADENTON -- There isn't a name for the game Nancy Cothron had Bayshore High's volleyball team play toward the end of a recent practice.

It looked a lot like a regular match. The Bruins split into two teams, and there were bumps and sets and spikes, though Cothron awarded a point only if the winning team's cheer was an enthusiastic one.

And there was one interesting twist: Rather than play set positions, the girls stood in a certain area on the court and then scrambled toward the net as soon as the ball was served.

Sure enough, the Bruins were playing as if a title was on the line, lunging and sprawling, while Cothron watched from the sideline, smiling when she wasn't wrestling with her phone's scorekeeping app.

Everyone appeared to be having fun, including Cothron. Then again, of course she was having fun, or why else would she be in the midst of her 22nd straight year coaching high school volleyball in Manatee County?

Following 16 years at Saint Stephen's and five at Southeast, Cothron is now a Bruin. "I still enjoy it," she said. "We have great support from the parents, and that's important ... they just let you coach."

Cothron is a fixture on the area volleyball scene. When she's not zipping around the area or over the Sunshine Skyway with the Bruins, Cothron is running clinics and tournaments as a director with the Manatee Area Volleyball Club, or giving private lessons on the beach.

Her landing in Bayshore, however, was quite serendipitous. While she was coaching at Southeast, Cothron was also working as a teacher at Charlotte Academy in Port Charlotte, and the commute was beginning to take a become a hassle. That's when she heard that Bayshore was hiring for a gym teacher -- and then hiring for a volleyball coach when Ralph McElhiney decided to step down after 17 seasons. …

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