Steamboat volleyball coach Hall honored for longtime role in girls sports |

Steamboat volleyball coach Hall honored for longtime role in girls sports

— Steamboat Springs head volleyball coach Wendy Hall’s name is synonymous with wins and longevity.

The reigning 4A Western Slope League volleyball coach of the year’s name is also now on a list that represents both wins and longevity but also much more than that.

On Saturday evening, Hall was named as the 24th winner of the Helen D. McCall Memorial Award, given out during the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Basketball weekend. The criteria to be selected is fairly simple — the winner must be involved in girls sports, promote good sportsmanship and the “total student-athlete” and have been active in athletics for a minimum of a decade.

But a rundown of the names on the past recipients list shows the magnitude and importance of being a Helen McCall Memorial Award winner.

“It’s an incredible list of women,” Hall said. “That in itself, to be included on that list, is incredible.”

The Helen McCall Memorial Award dates back more than two decades, not long after Hall made her head coaching debut. McCall served as the first president of the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, is now in the CCGS Hall of Fame and is widely considered a pioneer in advancing girls sports in a positive direction across Colorado.

Legendary Evergreen High School volleyball coach Lo Hunter was the award’s first winner in 1992. The award has carried on every year since, and the recipient list carries many names Hall knows as role models, and a few she knows as dear friends.

“A couple ladies on it I’m very good friends with,” Hall said. “And every volleyball coach on there, I’ve known for years. They’re legends in the profession.”

As Hall reflects upon her 29 years of coaching experience — 27 as a head coach — she also remembers what’s important in her line of work. It’s easy to get caught up in wins, losses and title runs as a young coach, she admits, but with nearly three decades now under her belt, she realizes the behind-the-scenes details that can go unnoticed to outsiders of the Sailors volleyball program.

“I think over the years that I’ve coached what I continued to realize is that it’s first and foremost about teaching character and teaching players to be good people,” Hall said. “Volleyball gives me that vehicle to teach them to be good people. The wins make it a heck of a lot more fun and exciting, but the most important thing is who you are as a person and how you treat others.

“That’s how I want our girls to be remembered. The more I coach and the longer I coach, the more I realize how important that is.”

Advancing girls sports

Longtime Montrose High School volleyball coach Shane Forrest is not surprised that her close friend Wendy Hall is the 2015 Helen D. McCall Memorial Award winner but she thinks its an overdue honor.

“I found out a couple weeks ago that she was the recipient,” Forrest said. “I thought how fitting. I was actually wondering why she wasn’t recognized earlier.”

Forrest — the 2014 McCall Memorial Award winner — said as much as anything, being a part of the 24-coach list puts you into a select class of female sports advocates, a list she humbly wonders if she should be included on herself.

The two met during their time as student-athletes at Colorado Mesa University and have since served as instrumental girls sports coaches at their high school alma maters.

Together, they’ve helped play small parts in the larger picture of advancing girls athletics, the foundation on which Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports and the Helen McCall Memorial Award is built upon.

“The opportunity for girls is every bit available as it is for boys. It’s just taken us a long time to get there,” Hall said. “I think CCGS is a big part of that in Colorado. They’ve really helped to promote girls athletics in our state.”

And within her own program, Hall hopes the players who graduate, move on and pursue life beyond sports exit as positive role models in their own right. These program goals are what Hall emphasizes and will continue to teach as a Sailors mentor.

“The graduates have those tools,” Hall said. “They’ve learned how to persevere, work hard, communicate, follow rules and be loyal. All those things carry over to being a good employee, life partner and friend.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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