It’s that time. Like the great Alice Cooper song, “School’s out for summer.”
Though for high school athletes, the summer means off-season workouts, running, lifting, and sweating under the sun as they prepare for the next season whether it’s football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling or much more.
For some teams, it’s time for players to meet their new head coach. That is the case for the Flathead volleyball program and new head coach Nicole Fairclough. I spoke to the Bravettes’ new coach as she gets ready for her first season this fall.
Nach on Sports: Tell us about yourself.
Nicole Fairclough: I grew up over south of Seattle, went to Kentridge High School in Kent, Washington. I played varsity volleyball for four years. I was an outside hitter and a libero and then played for a couple different clubs out there. The last club I played for competed nationally a couple of times. Then, I moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State. I started coaching as a sophomore and I coached seventh grade and eighth grade teams. I coached the sophomore team at Bozeman High School for two seasons, and then, in the offseason, I coached club volleyball with Big Sky volleyball.
NOS: When did the love for volleyball start?
NF: I started playing in sixth grade. I did a couple of different sports when I was young: soccer, gymnastics, and volleyball. When I started playing volleyball it definitely beat out the others as my passion.
NOS: What was your reaction when you found out you would be the new head coach?
NF: This is something I have always wanted to do and dreamed of being a head coach at a program. I was definitely excited and excited to get going, and knew that it was starting right away, which is awesome.
NOS: What is your coaching style?
NF: I’m not a yeller and screamer. It’s not my personality at all. I’m very passionate about the game and I have very high expectations for any player who is on my team or in my program. I find that in order for girls to meet those high expectations that I set, but they also set for themselves, we do goals as a team at the start of the season and will evaluate as the season goes on.
Focusing on the fundamentals, everyone in the program will pass the same way, do all their skills the same way. I feel like in order to have success as a team you have to all have that strong foundation. That is huge for me. Whatever the skill is, everyone on my team is going to be a passer, everyone is going to be a setter, hitter and then building all around athletes.
I care a lot about all the girls on my team. Volleyball (season) is August to November when the state tournament ends, but for me it’s year round. I stay connected with my players, go to their basketball games or their club games, we have spring practices, summer open gyms all summer. While the season is short, my part as a head coach is year round.
Anthony Nachreiner is the host of The Nach on Sports Show, Northwest Montana’s only sports talk show, which airs every weekday from 3-5 p.m. on 600 AM KGEZ and 96.5 FM.
For the full interview, visit: https://soundcloud.com/user-834730292/06082017-nicole-fairclough-fhs-volleyball