This particular transition, Amelia Brown said, was a pretty smooth one.

Brown is the new Santa Ynez High School girls varsity volleyball coach. She coached in the school's freshman and junior varsity girls volleyball programs last year.

"I would sometimes coach some varsity practices once the JV practice got over last year, and a lot of times the varsity and JV would scrimmage against each other," said Brown.

"I'm excited about the core group of varsity players we have coming back and the JV players coming up," the new Santa Ynez varsity coach said. "There's a lot of talent.

"As the situation with COVID-19 unfolds, we find ourselves in unprecedented times," a statement posted to the booster website read. "With the current and unpredictable lockdown situation, we are unable to proceed with planning activities for the 2020 Rio Memorial Golf Tournament this year. After careful and thoughtful consideration we have decided to cancel the event.​

"I love the girls, and I can't wait to get to work and see how this goes."

Brown takes over for former veteran Santa Ynez coach Tom Wright. "Tom has been given a big promotion at Todd Pipe & Supply, and we wish him the best of luck in his new position!," Santa Ynez athletic director Ashley Coelho wrote in an email.

The Pirates were 10-17, including 4-6 in the Channel League, last year. They have a lot of returnees.

Returning seniors include Michaela Baker, Lauren Bradley, Ginger Huddy, Peyton Pratt, Jasmine Rudd and Lauren Swing. Returning juniors include Dakota Blunt, Brooklyn Fletcher and Tsering Hauenstein.

Baker was second on the team in kills last season with 72 and Bradley was fourth with 52. Bradley was also third on the team in digs with 118.

Blunt was one of two regular setters for the Pirates last year.  

When it comes to getting to work with her new team, that has been complicated for Brown. Schools across the state closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and no team workouts have been allowed under the statewide shelter-in-home directive California Governor Gavin Newsom issued in March.

"I haven't been able to be in contact (with her new team) over the internet yet, but I'm planning on sending out a big massive email, a welcome kind of thing," said Brown.

"I want to send them a workout to help them stay in shape. I'm going to try to help them stay positive by reminding them that staying home, staying safe can help get us on the court as soon as possible."

The new Santa Ynez varsity volleyball coach has been an agriculture teacher at the school for two years.

"When the opportunity came for me to coach, it was an easy 'yes'," she said.  

Brown played middle blocker during her playing days. Brown was a three-year varsity volleyball player for San Luis Obispo High School and was an All-State selection her senior year. The Tigers won two PAC 7 League championships during her time there.

Brown played for the Cal Poly Collegiate Club volleyball team for four years, and the squad won four league titles.

"We went to the nationals all four years," said Brown. "Our best finish there was fifth my senior year.

"Since we were a club team we paid for our own hotels and travel. We still played teams throughout California, Stanford, Cal, UCLA, UC Davis, San Jose State. We played teams like Ohio State and Michigan at the nationals."

Coelho wrote in an email, "I've observed Amelia coach this last season and I know that her skill set, positive energy and love for the game will make our program successful. Her enthusiasm for the sport is infectious."  


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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