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Los Alamos High School didn’t have to look too far to find its new head volleyball coach.
Assistant coach Robin Reynolds, who has been with the program for the previous three seasons and has been involved in local volleyball since 1994, was named the head coach Thursday.
Reynolds replaces Garry Maskaly, who resigned in February.
Since 2010, Reynolds has coached the C team under Maskaly and for his efforts with that team and with the 2011 sale of sod from Sullivan Field’s remodel, was named the 2012 Assistant Coach of the Year for the school’s athletic program.
The big question around the program in the previous three years is how Los Alamos can get past St. Pius X in the playoffs and get to the championship round.
It didn’t take long for Reynolds to be hit with the question. In fact, it was one of his interview questions.
“My challenge, initially to get there, we need to unite the team,” Reynolds said. “They’re used to a different coaching style, so we’ve got to unite the team and the expectations the girls have of us to coach them to the next level.”
Reynolds isn’t wasting any time getting the team prepared. The official announcement was made Thursday morning that he was taking over and on Thursday afternoon he had several of his players in Griffith Gymnasium for a workout.
Los Alamos won four consecutive District 2-4A titles under Maskaly and advanced to the semifinal round three times, falling to St. Pius’ Sartans every season.
While the team has dominated the district ranks in recent history, Los Alamos has lost two of its primary weapons in two seasons, Chase Ealey and Erin Kirk.
Reynolds said he may find that, after doing player evaluations during the summer, he may have to modify the current system, but he wants to maintain a lot of what the Hilltoppers have done.
“We will continue to run a fast-tempo, middle attack and we’re going to have some crosses off the middle,” he said. “But we need variation like going high and outside to the pin.”
Reynolds said he was excited to see the development of sophomore-to-be outside hitter Brianna Montaño last season and said she could be a key to the team’s outside attack.
Reynolds started his coaching career with the Atomic City Stars, a local Junior Olympics team, in 1994, working with U12-U15 players all the way until 2000.
He then took a job coaching the Hilltopper junior varsity under then-head coach Diana “Deedi” Stokes for one season before an illness in his family forced him to leave coaching for nearly five years.
Reynolds returned as a coach for the Los Alamos Fusion club team in 2006 and was an assistant under Maskaly for a regional competitive team during the 2008 season. Maskaly was given the head coaching job at Los Alamos in 2009 and Reynolds joined him the following year.
Along with learning the craft of head coaching under Maskaly and Stokes, Reynolds has also been tutored by Brian Ainsworth, the head coach during the dominant reign of Pojoaque Valley and the current head coach of the emerging dynasty at Cleveland. Reynolds said he wants to employ much of what Ainsworth has deveolped, particularly his defensive strategies.
He said he has also got in touch with Sally Shockey, the winningest volleyball coach in Los Alamos history, who guided the Hilltoppers to two straight state championships in 1995 and 1996, as well as its only other title, in 1987, to get her insight into the position.
For the next few weeks, Reynolds will work closely with LAHS trainer Mick Matuszak to develop an injury-prevention workout program. This summer, Reynolds’ players will be working on conditioning twice a week and he will hold open gym sessions twice per week.
Reynolds said he wants to make sure the Hilltopper program maintains the high standards it has set during its history.
“Being selected for this job, it’s exciting,” he said. “I consider it an honor. I’ve worked at the lab for 29 years and I’ve always wanted to find ways to give back to the community. I feel honored and I want to work toward making this a great program.”