Getting to Know: Parkview Volleyball Coach Kelly Hayden | Sports


Parkview grad Kelly Hayden was recently promoted to head volleyball coach at her alma mater, where she works as an English teacher. Hayden played volleyball at Parkview, earning Gwinnett Daily Post Super Six honors for his senior season. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she started at Parkview as a cheer coach and later as a volleyball coach.

In this edition of “Getting to Know…,” Hayden talks with staff correspondent Lindsey Bornhorst about her experience at Parkview, her journey to becoming Panthers head coach, her team values ​​and more.

LB: So I understand you were a volleyball player, so how did you end up at Parkview as a cheer coach?

KH: So I started my teaching and coaching career at Parkview. I’ve been there and it’s such a warm community that kind of brings you back, so I was kinda excited to start over there and start over in the gym. And I just felt like at the time, I wasn’t suited to the program as it was then – I was a brand new teacher. And so I sort of took a step back. And then I was asked, but I failed to build relationships with the girls. I really enjoyed this part. And when a cheering opportunity came up, I kind of got back into training in every way I could, so I cheered and I know next to nothing about cheering… was great working with a lot of strong women and loving the co-coaches and learning about the sport and the girls and I had a great time but felt a bit finished with it and so an opportunity to play volleyball -ball showed up and I was so excited to be back in the gym.

LB: Okay, great. So how exactly did this transition to volleyball go? Was there some kind of coaching opening or you know, how did that go for you?

KH: So I had decided to be done with joy and I was kind of like, hmm, you know what, what can I do to occupy my time? And my athletic director (Nick Gast) came to me and said that Janelle Godfree, the former coach… didn’t want to do it every year. And so he asked me if I would, and I really thought about it for about five minutes and jumped happily.

LB: It’s great. And where did you go to college?

KH: I went to the University of Georgia.

LB: Ok, me too. Go Dawgs!

LB: And you have family here? What made you want to come back to Parkview?

KH: So I grew up in Lilburn. My whole family left the community, but still lives in Georgia. And when I came back from college, I was living with them and kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And the women in the community were like, oh, you should submit there. You should take your hands back at Parkview. And I didn’t even know I wanted to be a teacher or a coach. But I realized I was looking for a job and enjoyed my day at Parkview more than anything else. So when the opportunity arose to coach and teach, I was thrilled.

LB: So was it the teaching that initially attracted you, would you say?

KH: Yeah, I was an English student and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to talk about books all day. I wanted to have a job that would allow me to do that. And the English department at Parkview was really strong. And were super welcoming and I just took on a long term sub. So I was like, amazing. That sounds good. And I loved kids and I loved coaching. So I was excited to go this route and it’s definitely the right route for me.

LB: So in high school, I know you were a Gwinnett Daily Post Super Six. Do you remember it was really a big deal when you were chosen for it?

KH: Yes. I remember feeling incredibly honored. It’s so nice. And I also appreciate that in my players when you dedicate so much of your free time to something. It’s so nice to be kind of recognized for this hard work. So I remember this honor. Certainly for sure. Like how well I still remember my interview questions. And still regretting some of them.

LB: Okay, and what about the rivalries seeing them now with your daughters? Are they the same as when you played in school? Or what kind of similarities do you see?

KH: Yes, I think so. I remember I played clubs with a group of girls who played at Brookwood when I was at Parkview and so it was always a good rivalry and I think it still exists. So many girls play club in Gwinnett County, like every other school, and so they have that rivalry there…I think it’s still alive and well, that’s for sure. You know, coming from Parkview, you want to beat Brookwood. Absolutely.

LB: I was just going to ask you which club you played in high school?

KH: I played with a bunch of different players, but I ended my career for a few years playing Tsunami.

LB: Apart from volleyball, what do you usually do for fun?

KH: I love to read. I know he is such an English teacher. But it’s true. I love to read and this is one of my most excited for summer things because I can read some more.

LB: Do you have any books that you have chosen to read this summer?

KH: Oh, it’s difficult. It’s delicate. … I really liked the ‘Throne of Glass’ series. I was such a Harry Potter kid. I like a fantasy book, something like that. I like a good series.

LB: Do you think you will want to stay at Lilburn long term? Do you see this as somewhere you will be or do you think you might want to try going somewhere else in the future?

KH: There is something (here). I’m not going anywhere. There is something so special about the Parkview community. We talk about it a lot. Kind of like The Parkview Way and it’s so special. I have so much support here from parents, my athletic director and my fellow teachers that I just feel like it’s such a gift. So teaching and coaching at Parkview, I certainly don’t see that as a starting point. I feel like I’m really excited to build. I can build here.

LB: What excites you the most about being a head coach? Congratulations, by the way.

KH: Thank you. I’m excited about the talent. I was truly blown away. I had been away from volleyball for years. And the club has grown so big in Gwinnett County that a lot of these girls play year-round. And Janelle Godfree has instilled such a hard work ethic in the program so far. But I’m really excited to see what these girls can do and the level at which they can play, or in which they can play because I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.

LB: Do you have any outstanding players that you think will be great leaders for the team this year?

KH: Yes, I would say Makayla Swearingen. She’s going to be a senior, and she seems like a leader on the court and she’s definitely worked hard in the offseason. Ainsley Gardner really is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to acting and I think I could put her in any position. We have a lot of young talent this year. We have sophomores and freshmen on our team, so I’m excited to see how they all come together under some of our strong leadership.

LB: As a coach, what do you appreciate most or make most apparent to your daughters when you coach them, not just about sports, but in general about life and everything?

KH: Parkview volleyball was such a big part of my identity as a teenager. I had such a passion for the sport and so much pride in playing for Parkview that I think I want to instill that in them, that if you’re going to do something, do it with passion, do it with passion. Work your tail trying to be the best you can at it. So yes, in the gymnasium, yes in class. But whatever skills you incorporate into lifelong learning or athletics, be passionate, work hard in whatever you try to accomplish. And I think they’ll see a lot of results in that. I know I did.


About Author

Comments are closed.