GRAND RAPIDS — Rebekah Morris is back home and she likes it.
Morris, a 2014 graduate of Grand Rapids High School, was recently named head volleyball coach of her Alma mater and she said she is excited to take over the program. She served as the Thunderhawk junior varsity coach last season and also has coaching experience at the club level.
“I am super excited and it’s kind of a surreal feeling to be back in the hometown that I grew up in,” said Morris. “Obviously something about it has made me stick around and love it so I am super excited to help get these girls to the next level in volleyball and also to teach them some life lessons that I have learned from my career in college.”
Anne Campbell, Grand Rapids High School activities director, said she is excited to have Morris taking over the head coaching position.
“We are excited to have her,” Campbell said. “She was a great player for us, she went on to play collegiately and she was the captain of her college team for three years. She coached the JV team last year and we look forward to Rebekah and her staff coaching our Grand Rapids High School volleyball teams.”
Morris was an All-Conference member of the Grand Rapids High School volleyball team that went to state in her senior year, the first time a Thunderhawk team had reached that level in 17 years. She said playing in the program prepared her for the future.
“Because the Grand Rapids program wasn’t a program where it was easy to make varsity, that definitely helped me even in my experience playing DIII volleyball because it wasn’t easy to make a team or to play,” Morris explained. “You really had to work hard, have a good work ethic and a good attitude in order to play and get where you wanted to go.”
Morris said she wants the Thunderhawk volleyball team to continue to be competitive on the court and she also wants to cultivate a culture that promotes players being supportive toward one another.
“Everybody knows that everybody wants to play,” Morris explained. “But since this is a team sport, all of our goals should be in support of the team.”
Morris said she is excited with the young team that is returning next season. She said the future looks bright with a number of young athletes ready to make a make a difference on the court. She said a new class will be developed for Minnesota high school volleyball in 2021, which may allow Grand Rapids to play against teams more its size.
“I think we have a lot of talent coming back and now it is going to be about sharpening that talent and making it more consistent,” Morris said. “In 2021, they are planning on adding another class so there will be four classes in Minnesota high school volleyball. That will be cool because right now we play some pretty big schools and it will be nice to be put in a class with schools that are similar to ours as far as size goes.
“I think it will be better for the whole state of volleyball to have everybody matched up a little better.”
With the coronavirus restrictions that are currently underway, Morris said she is planning things with the idea that operations will be back to normal this fall.
“We have talked about doing more things online and maybe having some online workouts and team bonding things because right now that is all that is available,” Morris said. “But we are definitely planning that things will be open this fall and everything will be going good. If it doesn’t, then we will keep doing what we are doing and keep working hard.
“In the future when people think about Grand Rapids volleyball, we want them to think about young women who work hard and they fight for what they want. They are respectable, in control, and I want to put a team together were everybody has the same vision.”