A familiar name and face is back in charge of Laramie High School volleyball, as Jill Stucky has been hired as the new head coach.

This will be Stucky’s second stint in charge of the program. She was previously the head coach in 2013 and 2014. Laramie went 18-48 overall in her two seasons, which included a 4-16 mark in 4A East Conference action. LHS qualified for the state tournament her first season, but not the second.

Ironically, Stucky is replacing the person that took over for her, Becky Baker, who was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming on Jan. 30.

Laramie High School Athletics Director Ron Wagner announced the hiring in a release to the media on Thursday night.

“Coach Stucky brings experience guiding and teaching youth through Division 1 college athletes. She spent the last year helping in the program as the Sophomore Volleyball Coach and did a phenomenal job. She adds an immense amount of knowledge as a coach with 28 years of experience and her personal playing history.”

Stucky told WyoPreps’ David Settle that she has a different perspective this time around versus her first time taking the position.

“Last time I had just come off of coaching Division 1 athletes that had tons and tons of experience. Moving back to the high school realm, I think that it was difficult for me to transition into a group that their experience level was much, much lower.”

She realized that motivating a high school player versus a college one is different.

To address that, Stucky’s been coaching at a club level in the Rocky Mountain region for the past five or six years. That provided her experience coaching youth from nine through 18-years old.

That’s why Stucky is looking forward to this opportunity.

“I just feel so much more comfortable with the level of kid that you get at that age group.”

Stucky also knows what comes with coaching at the varsity level, it’s more about wins and losses.

“I’ve been coaching for a club down in Colorado. I’ve been coaching the highest level of teams at every age group and that’s what it’s all about at the club level, so this will be nothing new for me.”

Laramie’s volleyball team has become one of the upper-tier programs in Class 4A. In the last five years, the Lady Plainsmen have made five appearances at the state tournament. That resulted in a pair of third-place trophies and a runner-up finish in 2018.

In 2019, LHS was 19-17 overall and 4-2 in the Southeast Quadrant. They finished in second place at the 4A East Regional tournament and went 1-2 at the state tournament. After a victory over Star Valley, Laramie lost to state champion Kelly Walsh and Riverton.

Stucky knows the success the Lady Plainsmen have had. She feels that helping get more players involved at a younger age has benefitted the high school program.

“I started a club program a long time ago here in Laramie. I had 40-50 kids in that program, and I think that really helped in the last five years because I got the kids started much earlier. The kids that were being pushed up to the high school had a whole bunch more experience than they did when I was coaching in 2013 and 2014.”

The Lady Plainsmen lost only two seniors off last year’s varsity squad, which was primarily freshmen and sophomores, so Stucky believes it will be really fun.

“It helps that I’ve had my hands on a couple of those kids since they were babies (her daughters, Alexis and Maddy), two of my own. I’ve been in carpools with a number of them (Laramie players) just trying to get out (to play) regionally, so I know these kids really well. I have a really great feeling about how far we can get into the season, and I know where we’re starting the season. I know our baseline of skills, our baseline of things that we can improve. Just the fact that I know these kids really well is going to help.”

Stucky believes that will aid her in having more success. She also knows Laramie might be one of the more experienced teams in the state at the varsity level.

“I feel like we’re a pretty good contender next year (season) to have some great success and get deep into the state tournament.”

So what led to her coming back, it’s more than you might think.

“I feel strongly about the Laramie community, and I feel strongly about the development of skill at all the levels… I just feel like the development of every kid in Laramie is something that I would like to put a bigger emphasis on, instead of just a handful of kids.”

Wagner added, “We are glad to have Coach Stucky come aboard to continue the tradition of excellence with LHS Volleyball."

Stucky will be filling out her coaching staff in the coming weeks.

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