KEYSER - Familiarity. It's the word that best describes Keyser High School's new volleyball coach's relationship with her players, mostly, well, because she's not really new at all.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - Familiarity. It’s the word that best describes Keyser High School’s new volleyball coach’s relationship with her players, mostly, well, because she’s not really new at all.
For the last two seasons, Breedlove served as the head coach of the junior varsity team, and assisted with the varsity. Her relationship with this current crop of Keyser volleyball players, however, goes back much further than that, the direct result of Breedlove heading the youth volleyball program in Keyser from 2008-2016.
“As assistant coach for the previous two seasons, I have a good relationship with the returning players. We have six seniors, three juniors and three sophomores on the varsity squad for this season; I have coached all these players for the last two to five seasons,” Breedlove explains.
Coach Breedlove’s volleyball journey began when she was a sophomore at Fort Hill High School. “I played on the varsity team for three years at Fort Hill as a setter. I earned a scholarship to continue play at Potomac State College. While attending Potomac State College, I was nominated by staff to attend the World Scholar Athlete Games in Rhode Island. This was my first experience playing a 5-1 offense,” Breedlove details.
Breedlove’s playing days did not end when play concluded for her at Potomac State. After her collegiate career, she began playing on recreational women’s and co-ed teams in the area, and continues to play as her schedule allows to date.
While her playing career continues on occasion, coaching is where Breedlove mostly makes her mark on the volleyball court today. Breedlove began coaching while attending Frostburg State University to obtain a math and physics degree for teaching, her chosen career path.
According to Breedlove, “I was named assistant coach at Beall High School and coached at Beall for the 1996 and 1997 seasons. I then accepted a teaching job in Montgomery County (Maryland) and stepped down from coaching temporarily.”
Breedlove is beginning her 21st year of teaching; currently, she teaches eighth grade math and Algebra 1 at Braddock Middle School in Cumberland. Prior to Braddock, Breedlove taught sixth and eighth grade math at Keyser Middle School for 11 years. For five years prior to that, she worked part-time as an adjunct professor at Potomac State College in math and computer science.
It was during her tenure at Keyser Middle School where Breedlove re-started her volleyball coaching career. “In 2008, I returned to coaching volleyball, but at the middle school level. The youth program was new to the area and Keyser did not have a team. I was asked by a parent to put a team into the league,” Breedlove explains. That began her volleyball coaching career in Keyser, albeit at the lower levels.
As the new head coach of Keyser High School’s volleyball program, Breedlove believes in being in service to others, not herself. “My job is to do everything I can to help those I coach grow, develop and succeed. I can only get what I expect if I set forth those expectations and ensure that they are always lived up to in practice, on and off the court,” Breedlove explains.
“Everyone involved in the program, coaches, players and parents, have a hand in the success of the program. These players have put in time during the off-season playing on a travel or recreational team and are coming into the season prepared to compete,” Breedlove stated.
During the summer, Keyser’s Volleyball team had a total of nine practice days. Unfortunately, as the gym was being refurbished during that time, they lost five practice days. Breedlove, however, insists that the days were used effectively, “All practices began with conditioning and focused on refining skills and game play. We concluded our practice with team camp. Coach Abby Stoner and players from the Alderson Broaddus volleyball team worked with our team to prepare them for this season.”
On the court, it sure looks as if Breedlove will have her team ready for the season ahead. Off the court, she is married to husband Rel Breedlove; the couple has two children, Kyle and Gini. Kyle graduated from Keyser High School in 2019 and will be attending WVU in the fall; Gini will be a junior at KHS.
Keyser’s 2019 volleyball season kicked off this week with the beginning of practice. The Golden Tornado will play their first official game on Sept. 4 on the road at county-rival Frankfort. At the helm will be Kara Breedlove, new to the head varsity coaching position but no stranger to the program and the girls within it.
With Breedlove’s coaching philosophy of service to others, facilitating and directing the growth of her players, and soliciting involvement from all involved for program success, no doubt she and the program will enjoy success.