Kit and Larry Maddox improves campus team athletically, spiritually
The girl’s volleyball season starts off strong with new players ready to learn, and new coaches eager to teach. The experienced coaches, Larry Maddox and Kit Maddox, strive to make the girls better than ever before. The father-son duo wants to improve the girl’s skills while also growing their relationship with God.
Head coach Kit Maddox was born in Fresno and raised in the Valley. He first got involved with volleyball as a child, playing everything from pool volleyball to indoor volleyball. He pursued the sport from there on, in high school at Buchanan and in college at Fresno State. He graduated in 2009 and won a National Championship with the Fresno State volleyball team.
After college, Kit traveled to Belgium to play in the Belgian Volleyball League for a year. He then came back and took a two-year break, then played in the USA Premier Volleyball League for three years.
The family got involved with Fresno Christian by speaking to FC Athletic Director Jon Penberthy, who suggested they coach the girl’s volleyball team in the fall. They enthusiastically accepted and enjoy coaching the girls so far this season.
“My first thoughts coming into coaching girls volleyball was that it’s definitely not boys,” Kit said. “But I was really excited. I’ve coached a lot of different teams and programs, and the most exciting thing was being able to work with such a great group of girls. When everybody has the right attitude it’s really easy to train, develop, and get better.”
I spent 32 years in Clovis coaching everything from football, basketball, and track and I learned that sports are a great way to learn about life. The lessons that you learn in sports, the habits you develop in sports translate very easily into a successful life. I’m hoping to teach the girls lessons about life, lessons about Christianity and then a winning attitude. — Lary Maddox, assitant coach
Kit wants to help the girls not only improve their volleyball skills but also in their relationship with God. He believes his career is a testimony to the importance of a great relationship with God and how far God took him on his journey. He hopes to teach the team teamwork, positivity, and to have great attitudes.
“I would have never made it as far as I did without God’s help and grace, that’s for sure,” Kit said. “A deep relationship with God is more than just some fictional thing, it’s actually a relationship; you can pursue it and build off of it. I hope the girls continue to pursue their dreams and try hard for it because anything in this world is doable.”
As a teenager, assistant coach and father figure Larry Maddox went to junior college in Merced and became interested in volleyball. He then played volleyball for Fresno State but transferred classes from Fresno Pacific. He played for a travel team in California and competed in national tournaments.
Larry always has the same expectations when he coaches: to win it all. He believes if the girls play for anything else, then they are not giving it their 100%. He hopes to teach the team about life through volleyball.
“I spent 32 years in Clovis coaching everything from football, basketball, and track and I learned that sports are a great way to learn about life,” Larry said. “The lessons that you learn in sports, the habits you develop in sports translate very easily into a successful life. I’m hoping to teach the girls lessons about life, lessons about Christianity and then a winning attitude.”
Coming into the sport as a freshman, Natalie Arndt loves getting the experience to play on a high school team and to compete on a higher level. She appreciates that the new coaches teach her new skills to use at this higher level of volleyball.
”I appreciate how they coach in a way that’s positive, encouraging, and uplifts the whole team,” Arndt said. “They have helped me build my endurance and gain more confidence on the court. I would love to see them help us grow as a team spiritually and also closer as friends.”
Sophomore Megan LeBlanc is grateful for coaches that help her improve even more in her skills, such as hitting, passing, and her attitude on the court.
“I think these coaches are very experienced and will be a huge help to the team,” LeBlanc said. “They have played and coached volleyball before which helps expand our knowledge of volleyball. They are very encouraging and know how to help us with our mistakes. I would like to see them help us develop new skills that will benefit our team.”
One of the things Sophia Kalugin, ‘19, loves about playing as an upperclassmen is mentoring and befriending lower classmen on the team. She is excited for league play, to begin with, Coach Kit and Coach Larry, as they help her improve her abilities.
“I really like the new volleyball coaches this year,” Kalugin said. “They have helped me a lot with my passing and hitting. I would like to see the coaches build our team up to shine God’s light both in and off the court.”
Team libero, Celeste Counts intends to make her last high school year count. She appreciates how much experience the coaches possess and how they have helped her improve in a short period of time.
“I think Coach Kit and Coach Larry are amazing at what they do,” Counts said. “They’ve helped me gain confidence in myself. Not only in my abilities but also to go with my first instinct on the court. This year my big goal is to get to playoffs, and my little goal for every game is to go all out and have no regrets.”
Training 16 girls on the team takes more than just two coaches. Kevin Polkinghorne, Clovis West graduate of ‘09, teaches the team how to use each of their strengths wisely and skillfully.
“When I agreed to help coach, I knew girls were pretty rough to coach,” Polkinghorne said. “But I was excited to coach at Fresno Christian because it’s God-centered. I hope I can make volleyball so that there would be a clearer connection between sports and God by the end of the season; that the two aren’t so mutually exclusive.”
Girls volleyball is currently 4-3 in non-league. They play at the Coast Union Tournament in Santa Barbara, Sept. 16. Their next home game is their first in league play against Fowler, Sept. 26.
For more articles about the high school volleyball team, read PROMO: Volleyball looks to build foundation.
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