By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Karla Gaines has returned to coaching volleyball at the high school level.
Gaines is head coach at Diamond and is pleased, she said on Monday, with what she’s seen so far with the Wildcats.
Gaines resigned in March after two seasons as an assistant at Missouri Southern State University.
Gaines had spent the previous 12 years at Joplin College Heights Christian School.
Gaines replaced Leah Ingram at Diamond. Ingram moved to Joplin South Middle School and also will coach girls basketball this coming year, Joplin athletics director Jeff Starkweather said.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the players on the Diamond team,” Gaines said. “I’m looking forward to this season.
“We (Gaines and assistant Attalie Neal) appreciate the attitudes and hard work by the players. They have been awesome. They’ve done everything we’ve asked.
“I really believe they want to turn around the program,” Gaines said. “I believe we’ll have seven seniors.”
Summer work has just begun for the Wildcats, Gaines said. They’ve been in a league at Springfield Hillcrest. July will bring participation in another league — Carl Junction — and team camp at Missouri State.
“We already have had a good summer,” Gaines said. “The players have improved.”
Gaines won more than 200 matches at CHC. The Cougars had seven seasons of 20 or more wins. They won four district championships and twice reached the MSHSAA semifinals.
Gaines coached five all-state, seven all-region and 13 all-state all-academic athletes at CHC. Fourteen Cougars went on to play at the collegiate level.
Gaines, originally from Nebraska, was a standout at Evangel University in Springfield. She secured her degree in nursing from Missouri Southern.
“I appreciated the support of the administration at Missouri Southern and the experience of getting to know those players,” Gaines said of the stint with the Lions. “Those players are amazing.”
Diamond and CHC are members of the Spring River Valley Conference. Good friend Mary Colin is guiding the Cougars.
“It will be interesting when we (Diamond) play at College Heights,” Gaines said. “I look forward to another good match.”