Becoming Better People, Not Just Better Players

Mindy McGrath: Volleyball League Coach of the Year

By Abbie Jackson ’19

“Anybody who achieves any level of success in life always has that person or group of people who gave them a chance and believed in them.”

For the whole volleyball team, Coach Mindy McGrath is that person. In all honesty, writing about Coach McGrath is incredibly challenging. All of my emotions, memories, and thank-yous would fill an entire book. But, here is my attempt on condensing it onto one page.

I could not think of a more deserving person for the Coach of the Year award. This memorable, recordbreaking season would not have been possible without Coach McGrath. As she came into this season with high expectations, she knew we had to get to work right away. Opening our season with 12 straight wins helped put things into perspective for us. Coach McGrath always reminded us that, “we are a good team; we need to believe that and just work to get even better.”

Coach McGrath brought many things to the table for this team. Her support, passion, belief, and love pushed all of us to be better players. But I think, more importantly, Coach McGrath taught us how to become better people. Throughout our time together, she showed us leadership, perseverance, and passion, and those are lessons that will stick with us for our whole lives. Coach McGrath believed in us no matter what, and she taught us how to believe in ourselves.

I will never forget the four amazing years I have had under Coach McGrath. She has been in my corner since the first time I walked into the gym. I could honestly never thank her enough for everything she has taught and done for me. She believed in the entire team, even when we did not believe in ourselves. She lit up the team with passion and energy before every game and during every timeout. She was always there for everyone, whether we needed a laugh, to vent, or just a shoulder to lean on. She was truly the heart of our team.

I decided I’d add a few of my very favorite memories with Coach McGrath. The first one, and one of my favorites, was the first year I organized the Dig for the Cure match. I had been organizing the Dig for the Cure (a fundraiser to raise awareness for hydrocephalus) for a month or so, unbeknownst to Coach. It was the day before the game, so I took her and her family’s shirts down to her. Watching her unfold the shirts and come to the realization of what was happening will forever be one of my favorite memories. I was pleased to give back to someone who had already, even as I was only a freshman, done so much for me. My second favorite memory would be after the semifinal game at the state championships. As I collapsed on the court in great excitement after beating Kings to make it to the state championship for the first time in school history, Coach was the first person to help me up and just hugged me for a second. I think we simultaneously realized, “We really did it!” I will never forget those few seconds.

Coach, there are truly not enough words to express how thankful I am for you. Thank you so much for the greatest four years of high school volleyball that I could ever ask for. You are one of the most caring, kind, and compassionate people I have ever gotten the chance to know, and I could not be more proud to have played under you for these past few years! So, from me and the entire volleyball program, thank you for absolutely everything and congratulations. You deserve this more than anyone!

Abbie Jackson ’19 (#11, Captain) was named 2018-2019 All-Nisqually League MVP, TNT 1st Team All-Area, 1A Washington All-State Team Player of the Year, All-State Tournament Team MVP, and Tacoma Athletic Commission Volleyball Player of the Year. Abbie has signed her letter of intent with the University of Houston with a full Division 1 Volleyball scholarship.

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