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Davis steps down at Hedgesville

November 19, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Fourteen years ago, Susan Davis helped start a volleyball program at Hedgesville that, as of Saturday night, became the best in West Virginia.

Starting next year, the Eagles will experience another first for their program - a new leader.

On the heels of Saturday's four-game victory over defending Class AAA champion Capital in the state title game, Davis confirmed she will be stepping down at Hedgesville during a telephone call Monday night.

"I just look at it as I was going down the road, and now I've come to a Y," Davis said. "You have to go one way or the other, and at this point in time, I wanted to go in a different direction.

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"I don't want to take away from what the kids have done. I probably should have waited until February (to announce this), but I was pretty sure of this."

Davis said her decision was all but final before the Eagles won the first state title in team history.

"It was pretty much decided before that, and that was just a nice way to end it," Davis said. "I would have never known (what it was like), but when you coach, there's not too many people who get to win a state title. It's always something you're working for."

When Davis arrived at Hedgesville in 1989 to help build the program, there were two simple goals: Teach students about the game, and enjoy doing it.

"We tried to have fun with it, teach the basics and as we got better and better, it was important for us as coaches to teach the technique part, but never to forget it was still a game," Davis said.

The Eagles' program grew gradually over the first nine years, including the school's first regional title in 1994.

In 1998, Hedgesville became a player at the state level, reaching the state semifinals that year. Having set a standard of excellence, the Eagles strived to live up to it and returned to the semifinals in 2000 and 2001.

"Always on the forefront was playing to the best of our ability," Davis said. "For a long time, we'd put a saying on the wall: 'Eagle volleyball: A winning tradition.' We've always tried to maintain that."

Finally, Davis watched Saturday as Hedgesville completed the cycle from first-year program to state champions.

"The state title was the icing on top of the cake, the period at the end of the sentence, however you want to say it," Davis said. "It completed the process."

It also completed Davis' coaching career.

Davis, who currently officiates in Virginia and has experience in West Virginia and Maryland, said she would like to become more involved in the tri-state area as an official.

"(Volleyball's) been my first love, and after you're done playing - you can only play for so long - I've had some good experiences with officiating," Davis said. "You're still involved with the kids, and you're still involved with the game."

As for the Eagles, Davis says it's the program itself - and not her - that allowed Hedgesville to be successful.

"It's not about me, it's about the program, and it will go on, and it will be a success," Davis said. "It's just going to have a new leader."

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