MHSA(Q&)A: Beal City volleyball coach Kelly David

October 6, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

When people in Michigan’s volleyball community hear the name Kelly David, they might think first of the standout from just a few seasons ago. A four-sport standout for the Aggies, she set the volleyball team into the 2009 Class D Semifinals before going on to play at St. Clair Community College.

David, 20, graduated from high school a little more than two years ago, but is continuing to have an impact on the volleyball court – although now from the sideline as coach of the No. 3-ranked team in Class D. She took over the Beal City program this fall from her former coach, Randy Gallagher and has the Aggies 26-5-1.

Coaching has come naturally for the former floor leader, who already has gained valuable experiences and knowledge to share with her players. She previously coached at the junior high and club levels, the former for her aunt Sue Frederiksen – who coaches Almont’s varsity and is a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

David is majoring in elementary education at Central Michigan University and sees teaching and coaching in her future for many years to come.

Why did you decide to become a coach?

I played at St. Clair (Community College) for two years, and my aunt had always been into coaching. I ended up coaching her seventh grade volleyball team for two years, and I coached in the Skippers AAU program over there. I found out I liked coaching more than playing.

How have you approached coaching a team that includes players who were freshmen when you were a senior in high school?

Going into it, I knew I wasn’t their friend; I was their coach. I wasn’t close to any of the girls except my sister (Monica, a senior). The people who coached me or were my teachers, (who said) go to class, do this, and you knew they received ultimate respect. I had helped out in previous years, and I knew what I had to do to gain that respect. And (my players) have listened to me.

Did you anticipate questions about you taking over the program only a few years out of high school?

I knew in my head, but I didn’t think it would be a problem in people’s minds. "She’s young, her sister is on the team;" that’s the stuff people might second guess. But I knew how to control the team, and having my sister on it wasn’t a big teal. So far (issues) haven’t happened. I’ve coached teams in previous years, and I’d always been the leader when I did play. I think that helps.

What were your goals coming into the season?

I had a lot of goals. Obviously, I wanted us to go far, like in the past. The biggest thing I noticed playing college from high school, the players knew the game of volleyball. They were smart. They had the same athletic ability as those I played against in high school, but they were just smarter. Knowing how to position the ball on the court, knowing the game, and I wanted to teach (my players) the game of volleyball. It’s important to know the game, and then we can work around the obstacles.

What did you learn by watching your aunt coach?

Just how strong you have to be. When I watch her coach, she’s very enthusiastic. But when someone does something wrong, she lets them know. That’s an important thing.

When did you first know you were interested in coaching?

When I was in high school, when I played, I’d help the other players. I noticed that was something I liked to do. I’d watch someone and pick up things they could fix. I thought about it in high school, and once I actually did it with the seventh graders, it wasn’t a job for me. It’s fun. Coaching is something I want to do. They want to be playing volleyball – that’s why they’re on the team. Everyone wants to be there, and we’re trying to accomplish the same thing.

What has been the biggest challenge during your first season?

The biggest challenge is handling the pressure. I know the team can do well. We’re ranked third in the state right now. But it’s getting them to perform the way they can perform, getting them to come together at the right time.

I’d also like to mention that Beal City (already) had a great program, from (former coaches) Randy Gallagher and before I came, Kelly Knuth. I’m just happy to step in and try to continue what they did.  

PHOTO: Beal City huddles during a break in its match against Shepherd this season. (Click to see more from

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)