After 15 seasons serving as Kalama High School’s Head Volleyball Coach, Jeni O’Neil is ready to pass the torch. O’Neil, along with assistant coaches Britni King and Emmy Hodges, recently announced that the 2022-2023 high school volleyball season, which just wrapped up, will be their last.
During their tenure, O’Neil, King and Hodges guided the team to 13 state appearances, seven district championships, seven league titles, and a state championship (2016). In 2021, the team set records by sweeping every set and every match during the regular season.
“Our teams have had great success and shown grit, determination, and the love for the game that it takes to be successful on the court and in the classroom,” said O’Neil. “Being able to watch 16 players move on to play at the collegiate level is pretty incredible, and I am one very proud coach.
“The decision to step away did not come easily, and I still can't wrap my head around not being in the Kalama gym in August,” she added. “However, the timing is right as I now get to watch my own daughter, Rhegan, move on to play in college, so it is a bittersweet ending to this journey.”
Kevin Wright, Kalama High School Athletic Director, said the impact that O’Neil, King and Hodges’ had on the school’s volleyball program will be felt for years to come.
“I want to thank Jeni, Britni and Emmy for their outstanding leadership over the years,” said Wright. “In addition to embodying what it means to be a Kalama Chinook, these coaches have guided our student-athletes to become academic, athletic and life champions. Their impact on the Kalama High School volleyball program is forever in the record books, and will not be forgotten.”
O’Neil said she will look back at her coaching experience fondly, and thanked her assistant coaches for all of their support along the way.
"The past 15 seasons have been nothing short of amazing, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the love I have for the game of volleyball with so many amazing Chinook athletes, families, community members and fans,” said O’Neil. “Kalama is my alma mater, and building a program to compete at the level Kalama Volleyball has is something that will hold a dear place in my heart forever. I am so thankful for Brittni and Emmy, who have been so instrumental in the success of our teams… I couldn't imagine having done this with any other coaching staff.”
The search for a new Kalama High School Volleyball coaching staff is now underway.