Beth Newton won’t have to travel far for her first high school volleyball head-coaching job.
Newton, an assistant at Hickman for the past two years, was named the Rock Bridge coach Tuesday.
Newton said she is pleased with the hiring.
“I wanted to coach in high school and now I have the chance,” Newton said. “I’m really excited to be out there and have the opportunity to run my own program.”
Although she might not have much head-coaching experience, Newton has plenty of playing experience.
She was a backcourt specialist for Missouri from 1985-87. She said she will draw many coaching lessons from her time with the Tigers.
“The biggest thing I learned was that if (your players) respect you, they’ll respond to you,” Newton said. “I don’t worry much about gaining friendship because if they respect you, that will come along.”
Newton said her coach at MU, Mike English, taught her a lot about the fundamentals.
“He made us do it until we got it right, no matter how many times it took,” she said.
Newton has adopted that attitude and said she hopes the Bruins will respond accordingly. Newton said she knows most of her new players because she has coached against them numerous times.
Rock Bridge struggled last year and finished 9-15-3. Newton said she believes her team can be better.
“We have a lot of good athletes, and I expect us to do well,” she said. “We are going to be young, but we will be competitive with everyone we play. My expectations are high.”
Before joining the Hickman coaching staff, Newton coached at Oakland Junior High School from 1997-2001. She teaches science at the school.
In Newton’s short tenure with the Kewpies, she coached the junior varsity team. She helped lead it to a 24-8 record in 2003.
Newton said managing to find the right combination of players was the most important thing she drew from her time with Hickman.
“I learned mostly about getting the right kids on the court and in the right position,” Newton said. “I learned a lot about helping athletes specialize at one spot and realize their potential.”
Newton’s daughter Danielle is a setter for the Kewpies. Newton said Danielle didn’t have problems with her mom defecting to the Bruins.
“I told her and she said ‘cool,’” Newton said. “This is my opportunity and she understands that.”