Sue Grogan takes on head coaching job for girls’ volleyball
Gilroy – After assistant and junior varsity coaching stints at Gilroy and San Benito high schools, Sue Grogan is getting her shot as a varsity volleyball head coach.
Grogan, who has been an assistant with the GHS boys’ program for the past two seasons, has been named the new GHS varsity girls’ volleyball coach. She succeeds Sam Navarez, who resigned last season after three seasons as head coach.
“I’m just hoping that I can do (the team) justice,” Grogan said. “My life’s pursuit is I just want to bring volleyball up to a higher plateau so more people can find out about the game and learn how much fun it is and just start playing game, even just socially.”
Sound like Grogan has a deep love for the sport? She does. Grogan, who was the Hollister boys’ junior varsity coach for two seasons from 2001-2003, has played volleyball – both indoor and beach – since her elementary school days in Southern California, where she grew up. Over the years, she’s turned into a coaching natural of sorts.
“I always played and whenever I played, I helped people along,” Grogan said. “I’ve always had a knack for helping people learn how to play.”
GHS boys’ varsity coach Craig Martin, who recommended Grogan for the job, said Grogan caught his eye when she was coaching junior varsity at San Benito High.
“I spotted her when she coached JV at Hollister and when I found out that she was from Gilroy, I said ‘If you ever want to come to Gilroy, we’ve got a spot for you,'” Martin said. “She was doing some stuff with the boys there, with very little talent. They were very aggressive and scrappy.”
Grogan said girls’ junior varsity coach Kari Gonzalez also encouraged her to apply for the position. But in the past, Grogan and her husband, Jeff Jeske, had traded off coaching seasons, with Jeske coaching his nephew in Pop Warner football in the fall and Grogan coaching volleyball in the spring.
“I didn’t really want to take on much more (in the fall),” said Grogan, who has her hands full as a stay-at-home-mom.
But because Jeske’s nephew has now moved on to high school, her husband won’t be coaching Pop Warner. So Grogan decided to take Gonzalez up on her suggestion.
“I’m really excited,” said Gilroy athletic director Jack Daley. “I’m excited that we have another female on the coaching staff. That’s important. … She has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of excitement about the job.”
Daley was also impressed with Grogan’s love for the sport.
“I think that was one of things that was really attractive about her as a candidate,” Daley said. “She really has a passion for the sport of volleyball, which is super important in a coach at this level. She really loves the game and wants to teach the nuances of game.”
Grogan has never coached girls at the high school level before and is looking forward to getting a fresh start with the program. She’s told the varsity returnees as much.
“It will be interesting,” Grogan said. “I told them, ‘You guys are all starting with a clean slate.'”
Grogan will have some time to get acclimated to the team – and vice versa – at the GHS girls’ volleyball summer camp, which will take place from Aug. 8-11 and is open for girls entering grades 6-12.
Grogan will also get the opportunity to fine-tune her coaching skills this summer at a coaching clinic over the July 4 weekend. She’ll be learning from the best, including former Stanford women’s volleyball coach Don Shaw and volleyball coaches from Long Beach State.
“I’m hoping to pick up a lot from that,” Grogan said. “I’ve gone to a number of Stanford men’s and women’s games and kept up to date with all the changes within the game.”
Martin believes Grogan will easily make the transition from assistant to head coach and will greatly strengthen the girls’ program.
“She’s just an awesome coach,” Martin said. “She’ll no doubt put together a great team. Technically, she’s great, she knows the X’s and O’s and is really good with the kids.”