Past College Player Comes Back to Coaching at PHS


Cassandra Bundrick

In between sets, Mrs. Smith gives Varsity a pep talk.

Seth Walloch, Reporter

Longtime Peninsula teacher, Lori Jean Smith, is diving back into volleyball as the new head coach at PHS. Smith played volleyball competitively before stopping to raise her family. Now she is back at it, and she is loving her decision to get back into the game.

Smith has been involved in volleyball for almost all her life. Many students don’t know that Smith started playing volleyball in 1971, played through high school, and even went on to play college volleyball at Eastern Washington University. She stopped playing club in 1999, taking up coaching to stay involved.

“I wanted to get into coaching to get more girls out there, and I wanted to get more connected with kids that share the same passion as me,” said Smith. “This is my fourth time as a head coach. I’ve coached at Spanaway Lake and Sunnyside High School and this is my second time coaching here.”

Junior Lilli Harrison, who has played varsity for all three years of her high school volleyball career, thinks that Smith is a better coach than ones from past years.

“She has really made the team better even with the loss of our seniors last year. She makes us better than we could be by far,” said Harrison.

Shafer Newton, a junior, has attended every volleyball game since the start of last year and thinks that Smith is doing a great job as head coach.

“Being a spectator this year and last year, I can say that even though the team is not better according to their record, Mrs. Smith is leading them in a good direction,” said Newton.

Smith is looking forward to being a coach again. Her passion for the game has made her miss the sport and she cannot wait to share her excitement with the girls. Smith plans on coaching at PHS for several years.

“This is my fourth time being a head coach for a high school and I haven’t coached in a while,” said Smith. “I’m looking for ways to really bring excitement back into volleyball. I want to get more girls to come out and play.”