A member of Oakman’s 2007 Class 2A state championship team, Cole (former Kayla Bowmaster) took her talents to the collegiate level, where she had a successful career playing for Miles College - winning a SIAC championship in her second year.
Her newest challenge?
Guiding the Parrish Tornadoes, which won the school’s first AHSAA State Championship in softball this year back to Lagoon Park in Montgomery and turning the program’s volleyball team into a top contender.
For Cole, who has been hired to lead both teams, the challenge will be difficult — but it’s one she is looking forward to.
“It’s hard to come into a program that is coming off of a historical year. If you do perform to the level that they expect, there is going to be a lot of criticism on you,” Cole said.
“I understand that there’s going to be adversity on the road in front of me, but I’m more than willing to step up and face the challenge head-on.”
A key aspect to Cole’s ability to bond with her new team is the shared championship experience — experience that she hopes will help shape the upcoming season.
“The players will have to understand that I am new to the post and that I have coached before, but not to this level and with this age group, so it will be a learning experience for me, just like it is for them” Cole said.
“As long as they stick with me, we’ll all grow together. I haven’t had a great deal of time with the team members thusfar, but from what I can tell, everyone is very enthusiastic. I’ve been welcomed with open arms and the response has been warm.”
Another one of Cole’s goals is to turn around the Parrish volleyball program, which has struggled in recent years.
Though her experience is limited in volleyball, the new coach is eager to lead the Tornadoes to prosperity.
“I’m really hoping to get the team going and get us on the map — with me being hired so late, there hasn’t been much time for us to get the team formed up,” Cole said.
“I don’t have the knowledge in volleyball like I do in softball, but I’m willing to learn and as long as everyone shows dedication, we’ll get this program to a level to where not only the players, but the school, students and the community can be proud of.”