By Travis Smola
In a year filled with challenges, winning sub-varsity volleyball coach of the year for Division 1 and 2 was the last thing Kelly Fellows expected. But it came at just the right time.
“I feel honored that my name was nominated from other coaches and our district as well as head coach Katrina Miller of our Vicksburg program,” Fellows said. “This year was really different and difficult for everyone with COVID and being a coach through all of it was a huge learning experience,”
Miller was the one who put Fellows’ name forward for the award. The year 2020 is going down as a doozy for high school athletics as teams struggled with strict health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volleyball players were required to wear masks in competition. Aside from being an adjustment to how they normally play, the masks sometimes caused communications problems between coaches and players on the court. It wasn’t just hard for student athletes, but coaches too.
“Putting her (Fellows) up for coach of the year was the easiest decision I made this year,” Miller said. “She gives one hundred percent of herself to our program, and to her team, and it’s has just always been committed to everything we do at Vicksburg and everything we stand for.”
Miller cited Fellows’ work ethic and her usefulness to the program, saying that it felt like they have been working together forever. Fellows started off in the middle school volleyball program before making the jump over to the high school.
“I think she’s well-deserving of it and I’m excited for her because she works very hard,” Miller said.
Court challenges aside, Fellows said she was already facing numerous pressures from starting a new business and making sure her own three children were educated at home in a virtual environment.
“It gets busy, so when she (Coach Miller) told me I had won this award, I was in complete surprise. I didn’t even know this type of thing existed and so it was very overwhelming. I feel very honored I was given it and it came at a great time,” Fellows said.
Fellows also said she feels she’s grown as a person and coach under Miller’s leadership, especially this year where, for a while, coaches and athletic directors were uncertain if there would even be a season due to the pandemic.
“I always go out on the court to coach the girls and give them the direction that they need and then also push them a little more each day in every practice,” Fellows said. “That’s what makes them better. They don’t always love me for it, but when they see the success individually and as a team, I know that I’m doing my job as a coach.”
By Travis Smola