Iconic Coast volleyball coach digs in again

Special to The CambrianAugust 9, 2012 

Coach Pam Kenyon (far right) and assistant coach Dennis White (far left) celebrated with the team after the Lady Broncos won the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championship in 2011. Kenyon is entering her 22nd year leading the varsity volleyball program at Coast Union.

CAMBRIAN PHOTO BY JOHN FITZRANDOLPH

As surely as summer slithers into fall and that pesky, persistent coastal fog gives way to gloriously clear autumn skies and warmer temperatures, varsity volleyball

Coach Pam Kenyon will — for the 22nd straight season — launch her August routine of assessing, mentoring and motivating yet another a group of student athletes to play the game the way it is supposed to be played.

The Pam Kenyon way is to practice hard, play hard in competition, never give in and play smart. Moreover, Kenyon teaches her student athletes to have no fear when facing opponents from schools like Arroyo Grande with

10 times as many students — 2,231 to be exact — a team the Lady Broncos will play on Sept. 5.

That is just a warm-up game because by Sept. 13 Kenyon’s team will settle into the Coast Valley League and be playing teams they defeated with regularity last season as they racked up an 11-1 finish: Orcutt Academy, Shandon, Coastal Christian, among other small schools.

In Kenyon’s 22nd season of mentoring volleyball at Coast Union her record of success speaks volumes for her leadership skills and for the quality of young women who go out for and excel at Coast Union volleyball.

Coast Union Athletic Director Bill Clough calls Kenyon “among the top three most successful coaches in school history. Joe Silveira had a great run as baseball coach, and Dick Cate had a great run as football coach.

“Certainly she has the most CIF titles (3), so that would put her at the head of the pack,” Clough added.

It won’t be easy to match the performance her players put on last season, winning the league and battling successfully through four playoff matches to win the Southern Section Division 5A championship. Moreover, Kenyon was named CIF Southern Section Division 5A Coach of the Year.

Raised in Cayucos (the youngest of six siblings, all of whom played sports including a lot of volleyball), Kenyon graduated from Coast Union, got her degree and teaching credential in Santa Barbara, and returned to Coast Union in 1990.

“I coached volleyball, substitute taught and coached basketball at the junior high school in 1990. I also coached softball that same year and did a stint as home hospital teacher for the school district,” Kenyon explains. “I was trying to get myself known as something besides just a volleyball coach.”

She certainly succeeded at that goal; she was hired full time as a science teacher in 1993, and has continued her science teaching and her volleyball coaching career.

Her career win-loss record was not available for this report, but her Lady Broncos have won CIF three times in those 22 years, and her teams dominated league play last year and were undefeated (12- 0) in league competition in 2010. What does matter most to coach Kenyon? Records? Championships?

“I look at it in small bites,” she told a reporter. “I don’t look at the grand number. It’s this season I’m focused on.” Asked how she handles seasons when the talent level isn’t really strong and the team struggles, she said “It’s a joy to win and a joy to take the girls to that level where they can compete and be successful.

“But more so, it is about the players, the interaction we have with them, getting to know them and having a good experience with them.”

That 2012 player-coach experience begins with a home match versus Templeton Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.

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