Inspired by her children’s budding interest in the sport, Kalei Barbour figured it was time to reacquaint herself with volleyball.
Earlier this spring, the mother of three was selected as Andy Robertson’s replacement as head volleyball coach at Shorewood.
“I’ve been wanting to get back into volleyball. I love the game. Volleyball is my passion,” Barbour said.
“Two of my daughters are playing now and I wanted to teach them the right way to play, to make sure they’d have a strong background.”
Barbour boasts an extensive resume both as a player and a coach. After graduating high school, Barbour played for select and semi-pro teams in her native Hawaii and coached at the high school level.
“Volleyball is huge in Hawaii,” Barbour said. “By middle school, girls already have all the basics down. Kids learn at a young age how to play. Everybody’s playing on the beach.”
When Barbour and her husband moved to Spokane in 1979, Barbour accepted a volleyball scholarship to Spokane Falls Community College. The 5-foot-3 setter went on to earn a full-ride from Gonzaga and joined the Bulldogs coaching staff after graduation.
Most recently, Barbour was a varsity assistant at King’s High School during the 2000-01 seasons.
To prepare for the 2004 season, Barbour is currently running open gyms at Shorewood two nights a week. The Thunderbirds will take part in a summer league hosted by King’s.
“I’m a big conditioner,” Barbour said. “I’m hoping the girls will respond well to that.”
Shorewood has advanced to the district playoffs twice since reaching the state tournament in 1998. The Thunderbirds went 3-11 overall in 2003 and finished eighth in the 10-team Western Conference South Division.
“I know Shorewood is a big basketball and soccer school,” Barbour said. “I’m hoping to add volleyball to the mix.”