Rapid City Central assistant volleyball coach Hope Owens has been promoted to head coach, the school’s director of activities Jordan Bauer announced Friday morning.
“It’s a great day for Cobbler Volleyball,” Bauer said in a statement. “Coach Owens is a highly regarded young coach who has worked and proven himself. Coach Owens has tremendous relationship building skills and has an unparalleled passion to serve as the next leader of the Cobbler Volleyball program.
Owens, 25, spent the 2021 season as an assistant coach for the Cobblers under former head coach Jayna Morrill. She also managed one of the school’s freshman teams, held off-season practices, and coached the Black Hills Juniors Volleyball Club.
“I’m truly honored,” Owens told the Journal. “I have always had a very deep commitment to Central High School and building our program to be unified and successful. I believe our student-athletes deserve this. I feel like they have the potential to get there.
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Owens grew up in Gettysburg and played volleyball in Potter County. After graduating from Northern State University in Aberdeen in 2019, she moved to Rapid City and worked for the State of South Dakota before becoming a teacher at schools in the Rapid City area and joining the Cobblers coaching staff, where she fell in love with the role.
“I just have such a passion for watching our kids succeed and seeing them grow,” she said. “Our athletes are people before they are athletes, and just seeing these kids grow into respectful and responsible kids is really what motivates me the most.”
Owens said she wanted to bring more communication and organization to the program, two skills she said she was strong in, and create a positive mentality within her team.
“What interested me the most (in becoming a head coach) was to have a bigger impact,” she said. “I’ve always had that leadership spark since I was younger, and I’ve always had a passion to be a role model for our student-athletes, as well as our coaches.”
At 25, Owens said she understands there can be doubts from those outside of her abilities as a young head coach, but she is on a mission to prove to them the opposite.
“I want to prove that your age doesn’t matter. I feel like that doesn’t define anything,” she said. “With the connection with our athletes, we can serve as a good role model.”
Central Volleyball hasn’t produced a winning season since 2012 and finished 18th in the Class AA standings last year, out of 19 schools, with a 7-27 record. Owens said transforming the program will start with laying the foundation for success.
“We can’t count to 10 if we haven’t counted to five,” she said. “It’s really important that you develop these basic skills before you expect your athletes to progress to 10.”
The Cobblers can begin official practices on August 12 and begin playing games as early as August 23.
Contact Matt Case at [email protected]