Stillwater News Press

High School Sports

July 3, 2012

Jason Webber named new Stillwater High volleyball coach

STILLWATER, Okla. — Two months after Stillwater High School volleyball coach Lisa Baumann resigned unexpectedly, the Lady Pioneers didn’t have go far to find their next coach.

Former assistant Jason Webber — who was acting as interim head coach in Baumann’s absence — was named the new coach for the Lady Pioneers following a special school board meeting Tuesday.

“We had some really great candidates — some with some head coaching experience at 6A schools,” Stillwater athletic director Tucker Barnard said. “But Jason was the guy we wanted. We’re thrilled to get him. It’s an exciting time for the program, and we believe that he’s the right guy to lead the way. He has a lot of experience and he’s done a great job so far in leading our summer camps.”

An assistant for the last eight years at Stillwater, Webber said he first learned that he was taking over the program after a meeting with Barnard in mid-June.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head of a program,” Webber said. “For that moment to finally arrive, I think I held back all of my emotions until after I met with Tucker. Then I think all the excitement broke loose. The Webber family went out and celebrated. It was a moment of great joy for us because we believe in what volleyball can do in the lives of these young ladies.”

Stillwater may have a new coach, but Barnard said the transition should be fairly smooth.

“We feel very confident in Jason’s abilities and his ability to lead the program in the right direction,” Barnard said. “As you know, he’s been an assistant here for a number of years. He’s familiar with the program and he’s familiar with the girls. I think that should make for an easy transition as he prepares for the upcoming season.”

Webber credits former coaches Ryan Webber and Baumann for building a foundation for Stillwater volleyball. Now it’s Webber’s job to build on that foundation.

“That’s exactly what it is — it’s building a legacy and a program off what has already been in place,” Webber said. “I learned so much from Ryan Webber and Lisa Baumann. There’s so much they gave to me, and it’s just a great opportunity to give back to our program, to the sport and to our Pioneers in general. It’s an honor to be a part of the coaching staff and just what we do for our kids.”

With nine seniors on this year’s squad — including a pair of players that are on the national team — Webber said his expectations are extremely high.

“We’re excited to do very well,” Webber said. “I think several people have mentioned a road trip to the state tournament is within our reach. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, but with the hard-working group that I have, I’m very hopeful and very positive. I know they’ve worked for me in the past and I’m looking forward for them to continue that tradition of working for me again.”

For Barnard, knowing how much Webber has developed as a coach and knowing what he brings to the table in terms of experience helps ease the worries about whether or not he chose the right candidate.

“He’s just such a learner. Jason enjoys talking to other coaches and picking their brains about strategy,” Barnard said. “He’s always trying to find ways to make his team better and that’s where I think he’s going to excel the most. He’s not going to get stuck in a rut because he’s constantly learning.”

Barnard also said having Baumann’s replacement in place a month before school starts helped take a big burden off his shoulders.

“It certainly is a relief not to have to worry about that kind of stuff a month before school starts,” Barnard said. “The season is coming up quickly. We’ve known for a while that he was the guy we wanted. The school board has been very supportive of me and the athletic department. It was actually a unanimous decision by the board to approve Jason, so when that happens it makes me feel like we got the best candidate available for the job.”

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