In a summer that has seen a flurry of changes in athletic department personnel at schools around the area, the picture is coming into focus for North Douglas volleyball and Elkton football.
The Warriors have announced that Emily Reed will be taking over volleyball coaching duties at North Douglas, following the retirement of former long-time coach Anne Campbell.
In Elkton, Jeremy Lockhart will be taking over for Bill Shaw - who recently left Elkton for Reedsport - as the Elks’ head football coach.
However, for Reed and Lockhart both, though their positions may be new, they are already recognizable faces at their respective schools. In Reed’s case in particular, she enters the job with a wealth of coaching experience and an enduring connection to the Drain community.
“This next year will be my 16th year here. I’m not going anywhere, we have kids here, so I’m here for the long haul,” said Reed while recounting her many years spent in the community.
Reed began her long path to becoming North Douglas head coach while she was in college, acting as the assistant varsity and junior varsity coach at Central High School in Independence, Oregon. After moving to Drain, she then coached fifth and sixth grade volleyball for South Valley Athletics for three years before taking over as the middle school volleyball coach for the past six seasons.
When the head coaching position first became available, options were initially limited as they sought an experienced coach who was also invested in the community. Eventually, it was members of the volleyball team themselves who thought of a familiar face: their former middle school coach.
“Some of the older girls kind of started talking to me and I’ve coached all these girls all through middle school so I’m pretty close with most of them ... I figured it was a perfect opportunity and the perfect time to move up with them.
“I’ve even taught most of these girls when they were little so I feel like the connection is there and the buy-in is there and so that’s why, that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about doing this. I get to be back with my girls!” said Reed, who also teaches first and second grade.
Saying that North Douglas volleyball has enjoyed recent success is an understatement. The team, even with an annually changing roster, has not lost a league game since the 2013 calendar year. With that magnitude of success, it would be understandable for a new coach to feel the pressure of the past. Reed says she can feel it, but more from her own competitiveness - Reed, originally from Oakridge, is a former three-sport athlete and volleyball state champion herself -and strong desire to continue winning trends. But as the architect of the middle school’s recent dominance, she’s excited and hopeful for the future of North Douglas Volleyball.
“All that talent has moved to the high school so I feel like we’ve been successful from like 6th grade up. It’s really exciting to know how much talent I have in that group … I feel like the success we’ve had, we always look at our goals as being to be the league champs and to make it to the state tournament and I feel like with the talent we have that’s totally feasible for us to have those lofty goals.”
14 miles west on Highway 38, Jeremy Lockhart will use the foundation of coaching experience he’s built over the last decade plus when he takes over as head football coach at Elkton High School.
“This is a great opportunity for me. I’m blessed to be able to step in and take on the challenge and do the best I can and they have confidence in me which is fantastic so I’m hoping to not let anybody down,” said Lockhart when asked about his new position.
Lockhart, originally from Klamath Falls, spent much of the past 13 years in Eugene where he gained valuable experience as a volunteer coach for track and field and cross country at Kelly Middle School and Willamette High School.
He came to Elkton last year as a teacher, a time when there were no open coaching positions. Lockhart began volunteering at the middle school level and now, after one year of getting to know the Elkton community, relishes the opportunity that’s in front of him.
“The kids here are fantastic. That’s one thing that I noticed my first year teaching here. It is a wonderful community when it comes to how this community raises the kids and we all do it together and I’m just really fortunate,” said Lockhart. “It’s such a great opportunity that once I saw this coaching position available, it was something for me to dive deeper into this community and help it out as much as possible.”
While Elkton football hasn’t experienced the level of success of North Douglas volleyball - few programs have - they are nonetheless on a run of two consecutive winning seasons. However, amidst coaching changes and a large amount of roster turnover, Lockhart feels relaxed heading into the season.
“I’ve been informed that this is a brand new slate, it’s a new team. I think we’ve lost nine seniors from last year which is pretty much our entire starting lineup so, you know, this year’s definitely a new start, a fresh start … Of course, I would love to be successful and I just hope these kids have success, but we’re gonna have a fresh start, we’re gonna try to have fun, we’ll make sure the kids are learning and growing and then I will consider it a very successful year,” Lockhart said.
Both Reed for North Douglas volleyball and Lockhart for Elkton football have yet to appoint assistant coaches to their respective staffs.