Shannon Funk, a well-known figure in the local volleyball community, has been hired to take the reins of the Hays High volleyball program.
Funk started the Western Kansas Elite volleyball club and has been an assistant coach for both Hays High and TMP-Marian in the past.
Funk, a Hays High grad, was announced as HHS head volleyball coach on Thursday, replacing Christin Nunnery, who stepped down following last season.
"I’ve always had kind of a special place in my heart for the school," Funk said. "Just really excited about what the school can offer as a program in general.
"I’ve been an assistant varsity coach before, and I really liked that. With Western Kansas Elite, my volleyball club, I kind of enjoyed being the boss; that was really nice. Being a varsity high school coach is really cool because you get that connection with that community, too. I’m just excited to be a part of it."
Funk said she has been getting to know the current HHS volleyball players.
"Coming in, there’s a handful of girls I know about because of their participation in the volleyball club when they were younger," she said. "I’ve been watching a lot of film from the season to get an idea of where they’re currently at and where the knowledge level is."
Funk said she wants her team to have a high standard for the basics.
"I like to have teams that are really good at serving and passing," she said. "We like to using serving as an offensive tool. We’re real good at it at the basic freshman level, and by the time we reach varsity we are implementing it as an offensive, aggressive tool.
"I like to be really interactive with the kids; be respectful with each other. An authentic coaching style is what I incorporate."
As of now, Funk said COVID-19 guidelines won’t impact how much time she’ll be able to spend this summer working with her team.
"KSHSAA has opened up some of the summer so we can be with the kids a little bit more and longer into the summer," Funk said. "So I’m actually going to get the opportunity to work with them more this summer than what I would have."
Funk is the sister of Thomas More Prep-Marian head volleyball coach Natausha Dreher. Funk was an assistant coach on Dreher’s staff from 2014-17. The Monarchs won a Class 3A state title in the 2017 season.
"We’re really excited," Funk said. "We’re already kind of brainstorming ways we can bring the programs together and incorporate community and really grow volleyball in Hays in general.
"She’s my best friend. We talk to each other every day. It’s not been a negative rivalry; it’s been a super awesome thing and I think everybody’s just going to benefit from it."
There is a chance Hays High and TMP could face off in the Hays Invitational to start the season, though the teams are in opposite pools.
"Really, the only way we could see each other would be in the championship, which I’m hoping that would happen," Funk said. "It would be fun."
Funk has also previously been the head volleyball coach at TMP Middle School and has coached basketball at the middle and high school levels, including a stint as an assistant coach for the Hays High girls basketball team.