A Coaching Era Comes to a Close: Bruce Betts Steps Down As Girls’ Coach

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Carlie Schwaeber ’12
Web News Sports Editor

After 24 years of coaching girls volleyball, Bruce Betts has definitely made his mark.

Next year, however, will be a little different.

In May 2009, Betts decided to resign as the girls’ varsity coach because, according to Betts, he didn’t want to coach two seasons of volleyball.

Starting off as an assistant coach in 1986, his career has been a great success, as he is now the head coach of both the boys and girls varsity volleyball teams.

“I wanted to end my coaching career with a special team,” said Betts.

Betts further explained that this past team nearly resembled a family, and he was happy to end his career with them. He also added that he didn’t want to tell the team about his resignation until after the season was over, so that the athletes were focused on playing.

It wasn’t until after the last game of the 2009 season against Fairfield Ludlowe that Betts broke the news.

“I would say, above all else, Betts was open, collected, and enthusiastic,” said Jenny Johnston ’10, who played on the Varsity volleyball team her junior and senior year.

“He was not the coach you saw yelling from the side lines after every play, but he knew when and where to change his demeanor,” Johnson said.

While some are concerned about who will replace Betts, Johnston is assured that the future varsity team has nothing to worry about.

“Girls volleyball is in great hands. [Social studies teacher Jonathan] Shepro will be stepping in as the varsity head coach and has had years of experience with both girls and boys programs, like Betts had,” said Johnston.

According to Betts and Shepro, who currently is the junior varsity coach for girls volleyball, this situation couldn’t have worked out any better. With Shepro already in the school system and involved in the volleyball program, the transition is set in stone. Betts and Shepro have known each other for years, and Shepro is happy to take over the program that Betts has left in such good shape.

“I couldn’t be more excited to coach the Varsity girls,” said Shepro. “I think that sports give kids an opportunity to learn more about life then just school does and I am most excited to begin to instill those life lessons.”

Yet, the question is, why is Betts going to coach boys next year, but not girls?

Well, the reason for this goes back to 1987. That year, ten coaches, including Betts, gathered in Conn. to try and start a boys volleyball league.

“It’s not that I like the boys more than the girls, it’s just that it’s not too often when you are one of the original people that start the sport in the state,” said Betts.

Though he will be missed by the upcoming varsity team, his effort and success have been crucial to the outstanding program of volleyball, and Shepro is ready to take over the program and continue the legacy that Betts has started.