West Shamokin girls volleyball coach steps down
TribLIVE Sports Videos
West Shamokin must begin a search to find who will lead the school's most successful athletic team.
Justin Nolder has stepped down as coach of the girls volleyball team after leading the Wolves six of the past seven seasons.
West Shamokin recently concluded its best year under Nolder, as it advanced to the WPIAL Class A semifinals and qualified for the PIAA tournament.
“I felt it was time to hang it up,” Nolder said. “My decision was made long before the end of the season. I would've stepped down regardless of the outcome.
“It's humbling to be involved with a team that makes a drive that far into the postseason. Obviously, there's a great deal of preparation that goes into it, as the preseason is critical, and the kids I coached understand the necessity of putting in that time during the offseason.”
After serving as an assistant for five years at Elderton, Nolder took over the program in 2006.
He did not coach in 2009, and then he came back to lead the team the past three seasons.
West Shamokin was a volleyball powerhouse before Nolder's arrival, and very little changed afterward. The Wolves qualified for the postseason in each of his six years in charge, and they won at least their first-round match four times.
The Wolves also won at least eight section matches each season and placed second or better the four years they belonged in Class A. When West Shamokin moved to Class AA due to the absorption of Elderton's enrollment numbers for 2010 and 2011, the team twice took third in Section 6.
What happened during Nolder's one year away from West Shamokin spawned an intriguing what-if scenario.
When Elderton closed after the spring of 2009, the Bobcats' long-time coach, Dan Spencer, and Nolder both applied for the position at West Shamokin, which had been opened along with all other coaching jobs in the school.
Spencer was named coach, and the Wolves, stocked with the lineups of two volleyball powers, won the WPIAL Class A title and reached the PIAA semifinals.
Elderton reopened in 2010, and Spencer returned. Nolder, who said he had no bitter feelings, went back to West Shamokin and picked up where he left off.
“I feel pretty confident that I'm stepping away for good,” said Nolder, who will continue to officiate volleyball. “It's going to be tough to come back and see games. There's a huge difference between officiating and coaching. You don't have that camaraderie of being part of the team anymore, and that's very difficult.”
Nolder parts ways with a team that will return the majority of its starters.
“I can't say enough about the kids,” he said. “They understand what it takes to be successful, and they were willing to work that hard. So that's very difficult to step away from. … I feel confident that whoever steps in as coach will take them to that level that we realized this year.”
West Shamokin plans to accept letters of interest for the vacancy until Dec. 17, according to athletic director Tom McClaine.
“It's very important (to find a strong replacement), and right now, it's a very high-profile program,” McClaine said. “We want to see that success continue. It'll be big shoes to fill.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bishop Canevin volleyball team rallies around ailing coach
- West Shamokin girls volleyball team falls short in playoffs
- Ford City volleyball team reaches quarterfinals
- Baldwin to host WPIAL girls volleyball finals
- Norwin volleyball hopes to continue postseason success
- Carlynton ready for 2nd taste of WPIAL playoffs
- Plum volleyball tops rivals down stretch to earn another playoff berth
- Playoff experience pays off for Kittanning in preliminary round win over Elizabeth Forward
- High school roundup: Derry volleyball downs Brownsville in prelminary round
- Thomas Jefferson senior looking forward to RMU volleyball career
- Plum hosts Gateway with playoff spot on line