After achieving 1,000 career wins, Zavala says it's more than just wins and losses
After reaching 1,000 career wins, a Grand Island volleyball coach was recognized for changing the culture of women's sports in central Nebraska.
Saturday, the community held a 1,000 win ceremony for head coach of Grand Island Central Catholic Volleyball Coach, Sharon Zavala.
Zavala got her 1,000th win on October 21.
She’s been coaching at GICC for 43 years.
"When I first started, nobody knew very much about the game and it was at ground level. I just had to kind of had to grow with the sport and make sure that I stayed current," Zavala said.
Ironically, she only played volleyball one year in high school, but says when she was asked to coach the Lady Crusaders she took it upon herself to learn everything she could about volleyball.
"Well I did a lot of reading on it and I tried to go to two clinics a year. Even if you just go away with one or two points it always helps you and you just see the current trends and you kind of decide, 'can my players do this or can they not?'"
Since then, she has won nine state titles, nine runner–ups, one 3rd-place finish at state, and of course 1,000 wins.
Zavala gives the praise to her supportive husband and talented athletes.
"When you coach for 43 years and you've had as good of players as I've had and they buy into the program the wins are going to add up," Zavala said. "She has been a big impact on both of our lives growing up."
Coaching 43 years, it’s not unusual to coach two generations. Steph Brand and her mom Mary Brand both won state titles under Coach Zavala.
"One of my mom's favorite memories growing up through high school was the state championship; that was coach Zavala's first,” Steph said.
She said Coach Zavala made such an impression on her life that she followed in her coaching footsteps.
"Biggest thing I've learned from Coach Zavala is just how to be a good person on and off the court and taking that back to my players has been huge and I think that that's something that has carried over from coach to coach," she said.
This year's team got runner–up at state, but the Lady Crusaders will be returning all of their players except one next season.