Volleyball coach Susan Dean steps down after 18 years with longhorns

The varsity girls volleyball team huddles around Coach Dean in celebration of her 1,000th game.

Warren Mayes

The varsity girls volleyball team huddles around Coach Dean in celebration of her 1,000th game.

After 31 years of coaching volleyball, 18  instructing the Longhorns, varsity coach Susan Dean has decided to step down for retirement after this season.

“It breaks my heart that this is Coach Dean’s last season,” setter/ right-side hitter and senior Jamie Poppen said. “I feel so thankful that I had the opportunity to have her for four years, and my heart aches for people who aren’t going to be able to have her as a coach. She is one of those people who you can go to, whether it’s volleyball related or not.”

Since starting her coaching career in 1998, Dean has won 12 conference championships and four district championships, as well as 11 district runner up finishes, four appearances at sectionals and two trips to the state final four.

“Everything that we do in games, we also do in practice. The preparation for games is a lot of drills, a lot of repetition, a lot of game situations,” Dean said. “It is just a game. It is not life or death, although we still obviously want to do our very best.”

The varsity team, which is made up of two sophomores, six juniors and three seniors, is ranked ninth in the most recent STL Today poll.

“Dean has told us that this year is a lot better than previous years because we have been doing really well. Everyone knows everyone on the team better, which makes it easier to play,” middle hitter/ rightside hitter and sophomore Rebecca Reinecke said.

This season, the girls have 11 wins, six losses and two ties. This makes a total for Dean of 572 wins, 367 losses and 46 ties throughout her coaching career.

“We have a great group of girls who come to practice everyday with great attitudes, and they work really hard, and they get better everyday. We are not so much as to focused on winning right now, as we are about getting better,” Dean said.

With Dean’s last season ending in two weeks, the varsity Longhorns are deciding how to make it count.

“I want to make sure she knows just how much she has meant to the volleyball program here at West,” setter/ right-side hitter and sophomore Tess Allgeyer said. “She has contributed to our individual growth as students, athletes, and people so much in the time that I have had her.”