PLAS names softball, volleball coaches

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pike Liberal Arts School named new volleyball and softball coaches on Friday.

Robert Rollan will coach softball, while Kellen Shirley will coach volleyball. Shirley will also lead the Lady Patriot’s strength and conditioning program and be an assistant coach for the softball team.

“We are excited to have them on our staff,” said Becky Baggett, head mistress. “I think we have a very good group of coaches all the way around now, and I think we will see the Pike-Liberal athletics soar.”

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Rollan comes to PLAS after spending one year at Hooper Academy. Before his brief stretch at Hooper, Rollan had a successful six-year stint at Holtville High School in Deatsville.

“I am very excited to come to Pike Lib,” Rollan said. “They have several real quality ball players, and they have just an outstanding school. The opportunity to coach a team with their kind of depth is something any coach would be interested in. I look forward to the opportunity to develop those girls and to see what they are capable of doing.”

During his six years at Holtville, eight of his players signed college scholarships including three at the Division 1, 1A, and NAIS schools.

Rollan brings a certain philosophy to the Patriot program that preaches playing with fundamentals and playing the game the right way.

“I am a very fundamental coach, I believe doing the little things the right way, all the time,” Rollan said. “I believe that defense wins championships. One of the things I have learned coaching softball is that some days your hitting could go cold, and your pitching may not always be on; but the one thing you can always do is play great defense.”

That style of play proved to be beneficial for Rollan during his tenure at Holtville. The Bulldogs won three area championships from 2011-2013.

During his time at both the ASHAA, and the AISA level, Rollan won the Coach of the Year award three times.

The Pike Lib opportunity is Shirley’s first as a head coach. She has extensive experience coaching and playing in various volleyball clinics throughout the state.

“I am hoping to start from the bottom, and start fresh,” Shirley said. “I want to bring a renewed passion to this volleyball team and get them off the ground. I want to win some games and lead them into a new year doing the best that I can.”

Shirley will fall back on her relationships with her past coaches to help make her career with the Patriots a special one.

“My volleyball coach was a mentor, and a disciplinarian,” Shirley said. “She had all types of assets. If you needed something you could go to her, but once we hit the court we were all business. I want to be like that, I want to be there for them, but at the same we are here to work hard and win games.”

Shirley will be relying on community and school support to see that the program gets on the right track.

“I want parents to be involved,” Shirley said. “It makes the biggest difference. It helps rally the girls and gives them more of a want to, to win. I want them to be as into the match as the players and the coaches.”

Shirley has a double major in physical and health education from Troy University. Shirley is also a certified physical trainer.

Both coaches will be introduced to their respective teams at Monday morning’s workouts.