Rachel Croley was only the head volleyball coach at Oak Ridge for three seasons, but she had an immense impact on the program during those years.
Croley is leaving her post after recently accepting the same position at her alma mater, Princeton High School, in the north Dallas area.
“I think even when I moved down here five years ago, I knew this wasn’t home,” Croley said. “This was an opportunity at the time that I felt I needed to take, moving down here. But my plan was always to work back in the Dallas area, closer to my family. This opportunity came up, and it is very close to home, being my hometown, and I just felt like I couldn't pass it up.”
Croley originally came to Montgomery County as an assistant coach for Terri Wade at The Woodlands. When the Oak Ridge job opened up, she jumped at the opportunity and had plenty of success.
The Lady War Eagles posted an 87-33 overall record during her three seasons and won at least one playoff match every year. The team finished with a 19-5 record this past season. Croley was named All-Montgomery County Coach of the Year in 2018, her first year leading the program.
Croley is being replaced by her predecessor, Tommie Lynne Sledge, who is coming back to Oak Ridge after a three-year stint at Lake Creek.
“I am definitely very grateful that I got the opportunity,” Croley said. “I didn’t have that much coaching experience, and there were people willing to take a chance on me. We were able to do really great things and be really competitive. I definitely learned a lot as a coach and a person. I grew a lot, and they really supported me while I was here, whether I made mistakes or did something great. The administration was awesome.”
Despite the excitement of her new gig, Croley will miss the players she is leaving behind at Oak Ridge.
“I think it’s just the competitiveness and the attitude of the kids,” she said. “They work really hard, and they kind of have a chip on their shoulder, like they have something to prove. Being in a competitive district every year and having kids that just want to outwork everybody, it’s really special.”
McCall grateful for Splendora
When DaVette McCall became the head volleyball coach at Splendora, there was a lot of work to be done.
McCall rolled up her sleeves and turned around the struggling program in just three seasons. Now she is moving on to the next chapter of her career as the head coach at Dayton High School.
“I was looking to move up to a bigger classification, and Dayton is just in a really good location for me and my family as well,” McCall said. “To see that their program is how I kind of started out at Splendora, I really want to bring the values and push these kids to better themselves.”
Splendora went through some growing pains during McCall’s first season at the helm, and the Ladycats finished with just eight victories. The 2019 season brought results, however, as the team finished 31-15 and advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time in school history. McCall was named the All-Montgomery County Coach of the Year for her efforts.
Splendora went 24-7 this past season and made the playoffs once again.
“This is always going to be one of my forever memories,” McCall said. “It was my first real job coming out of college, and being a business major, not really knowing that I ever would want to teach, this has shown me why I’m here and why I’m teaching and why I really enjoy being around kids. The kids here, the faculty and coaching staff is always going to be something I remember and cherish for sure.”