GHC to reinstate volleyball next fall

Grays Harbor College will reinstate its volleyball program next fall, athletic director Tyler Gaston announced this week.

College officials informed the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges recently that the school plans to add volleyball beginning in the 2013 season. The Chokers dropped the sport following the 2008 campaign. Volleyball will be the only fall sport offered by the college.

Choker women’s basketball coach Christine Nelson will add volleyball to her duties, Gaston reported. Nelson recently resigned her position as Hoquiam High School’s head volleyball coach.

Nelson is already employed by the college as its Student Success Coach and said that it made more sense to coach two GHC sports than to divide time between Grays Harbor and HHS.

“After coaching college basketball, I decided I really liked working with college kids,” she said Wednesday. “It wasn’t that it was too hard to do at the high school level (but) it’s hard to go back and forth. Logistically, it’s easier to do it this way. I don’t think it’s something I’m going to do for an extended period of time.”

A Montesano High School graduate, Nelson was the head volleyball coach at Yelm for eight years and completed her second season at Hoquiam in November. She was an assistant on a state 3A championship Bethel team in 1996.

Nelson said her contacts within the area volleyball community should help her with recruiting, a task she enjoys.

“I’m excited to bring it back,” she noted.

Gaston said federal Title IX gender equity requirements factored into his decision to reinstate the volleyball program.

While the college currently offers an equal number of sports for men and women (basketball and golf for both genders, men’s baseball and women’s softball), a Title IX provision requires athletic participation to reflect the campus population as a whole.

Because the baseball roster outnumbers that in softball, the majority of GHC athletes are male. In contrast, some 60 percent of Grays Harbor College students are female.

“We wanted to come closer to the percentage of women on campus,” Gaston said.

An active club volleyball program has formed at the college since the sport was dropped intercollegiately. Gaston said that GHC’s student government also signed off on reviving volleyball.

“We felt like there had been a resurgence of interest in volleyball on campus,” Gaston observed. “We’re excited about it. We’ve had some pretty good (high school) teams locally.”