North Tahoe volleyball | Former college coach Mike Welch takes over Lakersand#8217; program |

North Tahoe volleyball | Former college coach Mike Welch takes over Lakersand#8217; program

ISU Media RelationsMike Welch, shown coaching at Idaho State University, recently accepted a position as head volleyball coach at North Tahoe High School. Welch has an extensive collegiate coaching background.

Before vacating his post as longtime head coach of the North Tahoe volleyball team this past spring, Tom LeFevers wanted to be sure the program was left in good hands.

He can rest easy in his coaching retirement.

Mike Welch, a former Division I college coach with nearly 20 years of experience, accepted the position to lead the North Tahoe volleyball program, bringing with him impeccable credentials and a wealth of knowledge in the sport.

and#8220;I think heand#8217;s great. Heand#8217;s pretty much overqualified,and#8221; LeFevers said of Welch. and#8220;He has a good crew coming in, and heand#8217;s going to bring new life to the program.and#8221;

Welch takes over after a 13-year run by LeFevers, who said he has been looking for a replacement for the past year. The coach said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He also didnand#8217;t want to coach another year against his daughter, a to-be senior on the Truckee volleyball team.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s something that Iand#8217;ve been trying to work out for a year now, but I wanted to make sure the program would stay alive. So I wasnand#8217;t just going to quit,and#8221; LeFevers said. and#8220;I waited until they found a good replacement.and#8221;

The Lakers scored just that, the coach said.

Welch boasts 267 career wins as an NCAA Division I and Division II head coach. During head coaching stints with Morehead State University, North Florida and Idaho State, he led his teams to six nationally ranked seasons, five conference championships and four NCAA Tournament bids. Heand#8217;s twice led the USA Youth National Team, and has coached five years in the USA National Team development program.

The Southern California native decided to get out of college coaching a couple of years ago and#8220;and recover my life,and#8221; he said, explaining how the recruiting process alone was a full-time job. and#8220;I wanted to see my kids more.and#8221;

So he moved his family to Truckee in August 2010.

and#8220;We love it,and#8221; said Welch, whose wife teaches at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. and#8220;Moving here was the best decision we ever made.and#8221;

Once settled, Welch said he wanted to offer his expertise to the youth volleyball community in the Truckee and North Tahoe region, but he was reluctant to immediately associate himself with any particular high school.

and#8220;When I first moved to town, I wanted to really establish myself as a coach who was there for everybody,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I wanted to make sure that nobody thought I had any agendas with the girls, because that happens when you get involved with a high school. People think that everything you do is going to be based on the best interest of serving your school, and thatand#8217;s not my motivation. My motivation is to help all girls pursue their dreams in volleyball.and#8221;

The coach got his feet wet by leading youth summer volleyball camps and volunteering his time with the North Tahoe, Truckee and Incline high school teams. He then became club director of the Pinnacle Truckee Volleyball Club, which he renamed Pinnacle Tahoe Volleyball Club to better reflect the greater North Lake Tahoe/Truckee area. He coached the Pinnacle Tahoe 14U and 16U teams this past season.

After two years in the area, however, Welch gave in and accepted the North Tahoe coaching position at the request of LeFevers.

and#8220;I had talked with Tom ever since I got here, but I told him it wasnand#8217;t a good time back then because I didnand#8217;t want the close association yet. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was here for all the girls,and#8221; Welch said. and#8220;But eventually, after a couple years had passed, I was like, and#8216;OK, I can do this now, because everyone knows me and knows I have the best interest at heart.

and#8220;Iand#8217;ll still be a big fan of Truckee High School and Incline High School and#8212; except for the two days we play against them.and#8221;

The timing is ideal to take over the North Tahoe program, LeFevers said, as the Lakers graduated 10 seniors from last yearand#8217;s team and#8212; only seniors Kylie and Lauren Wilson and junior Taylor Briggs return and#8212; and they have a number of talented young players coming up through the middle school program, several of whom played for Welch in club.

and#8220;It was great to get to know a lot of the girls (in club). They are an eager and hard-working group. Iand#8217;m very excited about getting started this fall with them,and#8221; Welch said. and#8220;We are going to be young, though. We graduated (10) seniors last year, which was a lot of experience. But at the same time, losing a lot of girls to graduation also means that we get the opportunity to really refresh the program and built it up with youth.and#8221;

North Tahoe volleyball has won four state championships at the 2A level, all consecutively from 1985 to 1988.

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