Volleyball player coached by grandmother
Not too many players have the circumstance to be coached in their high school careers by their father or mother. On occasion, a cousin, brother, sister, aunt or uncle may be the head coach of a given sport.
But for Karley Whipple, a senior at Pahranagat Valley High School in Alamo, Nevada, she has the unique experience of being coached by her grandmother! What memories and stories to tell her own children someday.
Ginger Whipple, Karley’s grandmother, has been the head coach of the Pahranagat Valley team since at least 1983, maybe even longer. Ginger herself admits she doesn’t even know.
Whipple coached both her daughters, Nikki and Kalie, when they were in high school at Pahranagat Valley. Both of them were on championship teams, too, as the Panthers won nine straight state 1A volleyball titles at one point (1997-2005). In fact, the Pahranagat girls have been in the 1A State Championship game for the past 22 years in a row and won it 18 times, both of which are state records.
A few years ago, when Karley was in middle school in 2012, the Pahranagat Valley team lost the 1A championship 3-0 to Tonopah. Whipple was in tears seeing her favorite team lose, and cried to her mother she feared that, “Grandma would quit coaching now, and I won’t be able to be on her team in high school.”
That didn’t happen, and PVHS has won the championship three times since, including last year with Whipple on the team. And she is one of the main hitters for the Panthers this year as they seek to win yet another championship for “Grandma” Ginger, who already is the record holder for state titles in all classes with 18.
Karley, a three-sport athlete, says playing for her grandmother, and her mother, too, who is the assistant coach, “is a pretty awesome experience. It’s hard, but it’s also fun and tough at the same time because we are so close. I have learned a lot about the game by watching and listening to her (Ginger) because of her long experience.”
Ginger said she was harder on her two daughters when they played for her. “I feel it was a real opportunity and privilege to be able to do that. Kind of a cool thing.” At the same time she admits, “I was harder on them than anybody else. I expected more from them because I know what they are capable of.” The same is likely true with Karley.
Daughter Kalie went on to college, not in volleyball, but in basketball, earning All-American honors at the University of Utah. She is now serving as the girls basketball coach at The Meadows High in Las Vegas.
And what does Karley want to do after high school? She is undecided.
— Dave Maxwell