500th win marks milestone for volleyball coach

After winning the first match in two straight sets, the varsity volleyball team fell to Tarkington forcing a third match. With each team taking one set and running neck-and-neck in the winner-take-all final set, the score volleyed back and forth. Tensions were high as the scored pushed passed 25, and then with a final kill, Coach Caroline Simpson earned her 500th win.

However, Coach Simpson wasn’t focused on the number of wins, and she was surprised by the big 500.

“I didn’t really think it was that big a deal, but when I finally got to the 500th win I had so many people congratulating me and telling me what kind of accomplishment [it] was,” Simpson said. “I realized that it was a bigger deal than I had originally thought.”

Earning that 500th win was not only an amazing accomplishment for Coach Simpson, but also for the players.

“We all wanted it so bad, and we wanted it for [Coach Simpson],” senior Rachel Ullman said. “We played a really tough team, and we all came together to beat them. I felt like we had won the championship because we were in the smallest gym in [Tarkington] High School and it was so loud. We all jumped around.”

The entire team rallied around Simpson to celebrate the win as a family.

“[The win] was great,” junior Halle Banks said. “It was one of my first tournaments on varsity, and being a part of it, seeing all the love everyone had for each other, was really great.”

The varsity volleyball team wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for Coach Simpson and her love of coaching and her way with the players.

“She is such a great coach,” Banks said. “She always has faith in us. [Coach Simpson] always pushes us to be our best.”

Ullman agrees with Banks on Simpson’s positive philosophy as a coach.

“She really works so that we know what we’re doing, and so that we’re on the right track,” Ullman said. “She always makes [volleyball] enjoyable in some way, and somehow she’ll make sure that we’re giving it our all.”

There are plenty of challenges along the way to becoming a great coach; starting from her humble beginnings at Caldwell to her stellar team at Bryan High, Simpson has faced her share of troubles.

“When I first came to Bryan, it was a pretty big challenge, building this program from the bottom to where we are now. It’s had it’s challenges, but it’s been very rewarding and I wouldn’t want to be any other place right now.”

Even though the 500th win was an amazing accomplishment, Simpson still cares more about the children.

“I think most of all, as a coach, we need to teach kids not just about the wins and losses, but about the lessons they can learn and the journey they can make throughout their years.” Simpson said. “We’re not just teaching them how to win, we’re teaching them how to win in life and how relationships they build with their teammates are more important than wins and losses.”