COLUMBIA — Robin Sherman ended a 17-year hiatus from coaching when she became the head coach of the Rock Bridge High School volleyball team in May.
But for Sherman, who coached at Hickman in the early 1990s, volleyball has always been a big part of her life.
She also played volleyball in college for Wichita State and was chosen to be a team captain during her senior year.
“I have always loved volleyball, and I always knew that I wanted to coach again,” Sherman said. “I wanted to wait until my three sons got older, and when this opportunity came up, I couldn’t pass it up.”
Her husband, Craig Sherman, also coached volleyball at Missouri from 1986 to 1993.
The players have become used to new coaches. Sherman is the fourth Bruins head coach in the past four years. But she isn't completely unfamiliar to the Bruins.
“This is a great group of girls and a great group of parents as well,” Sherman said. “I actually knew some of these girls because they were friends with one of my sons.”
Before getting back into coaching, Sherman had some research to do. The game has certainly changed since she last coached. One of the biggest changes was the addition of the libero position in 1999. The libero wears a different color jersey and has certain limitations on the court. For instance, the libero cannot serve, block or be substituted out of the game.
“The libero position wasn’t around when I last coached,” Sherman said. “So I had to do my homework and read up on what the libero can and can’t do.”
Under last year’s head coach, Tatum Anderson, the Bruins won a school record 27 games last year. The Bruins will return nine players from last year's team, including 2011 all-district selections Ali Kreklow, Audrey Holt and Sophie Cunningham.
“I think we have done a good job adjusting to the different coaches every year,” Kreklow said. “I think we have a lot of talent on this team.”
While the team has been handling the coaching transitions well, players such as Cunningham are quick to point out the differences in style.
“Last year Coach Tate focused more on conditioning, and Coach Sherman is more of a technical coach,” Cunningham said. “She is also more relaxed, but if you aren't doing your job, she will get on you.”
The Bruins’ previous season ended with a loss in the district finals to Hannibal. Rock Bridge will host the district tournament this year, and the team is hopeful it will be able to win the district tournament and advance to the state tournament.
The Bruins lost their home opener on Saturday 8-25, 18-25 against Ozarks High School. The Bruins will host Jefferson City on Wednesday.
“This year our whole team wants it,” Cunningham said. "I was on the Rock Bridge basketball team that won the state championship (last season), and this year, I want it for these girls. I want them to experience what I got to experience."