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

2023 WISL Award Honoree Glass Continuing to Create Leaders On Court & Off

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 2, 2023

Hailing from one of Michigan’s smallest communities, Laurie Glass has made an impact that continues to connect all over Michigan.

But her impact on women’s athletics began long before a career that has seen the longtime Leland volleyball coach become one of the winningest in her sport in state history.

As a high school junior in 1976, she recruited seven classmates and a coach to form Leland’s first girls sports team – for basketball – and the same group then played volleyball that winter. She was a senior and major contributor when, during their second season, the Comets won the 1978 Class D volleyball championship.

More than four decades later, Glass is a Michigan legend in that sport – a winner of 1,218 matches with Leland and Traverse City Central and three Finals championships with the Comets. She’s also a nationally-recognized voice in volleyball and women’s athletics as a whole – and this year’s MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership honoree for those many and continuing contributions.

“Because I’m a teacher and coach, that’s my desire to help the youth be the best they could be. And if I can impact a coach or impact another district or program, that means I’m affecting more youth in a positive way,” Glass said. “So for me, it’s just the ripple effect; it gets a lot bigger when I’m starting little drops in other places. So I can affect the hundreds of kids that I’ve seen go through Leland, or I can impact the larger audience by impacting coaches or impacting kids in other places that can then impact other people. It allows me a wider audience for wanting to help young women to be their best young woman self in however way I can make that happen.”

Each year, the Representative Council considers the achievements of women coaches, officials and athletic administrators affiliated with the MHSAA who show exemplary leadership capabilities and positive contributions to athletics.

Leland finished 49-13 this past season and reached the Division 4 Quarterfinals. Glass has a record of 1,218-393-122 over more than three decades as a varsity volleyball coach, having led the Comets for a combined 29 seasons over three tenures, the first beginning with the 1989-90 winter season and later picking up with her most recent return for Fall 2010. She also coached Traverse City Central for four seasons beginning in 1991-92.

Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.Glass led Leland to Class D Finals championships in 2002, 2006 and 2015, and runner-up finishes in Class D in 2014 and Division 4 in 2018 and 2019. She was named to the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Hall of Fame in 2006, and selected as national Coach of the Year in volleyball in 2014 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. She’s a three-time MIVCA Coach of the Year and was named Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Coach of the Year for volleyball in 2015. She also was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) national Coach of the Year in 2014. 

Glass has spoken multiple times at the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Conference and several times at the MIVCA Coaches Clinic, and among various other engagements was the featured speaker at the Nebraska Athletic Association Coaches Clinic. She will receive the Women In Sports Leadership Award during the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Basketball Final on March 18 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“Laurie Glass is recognized most on the statewide level for leading one of the most successful volleyball programs in state history. But she is known among her peers most for the way she teaches not only volleyball but life skills to her athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “Her leadership creates more leaders, be they the athletes who have the opportunity to play for her or the coaches who learn from her and receive her mentorship.”   

Glass’ roots are in one of the most accomplished athletic families in Michigan high school history.

Her father Larry Glass coached Northwestern University’s men’s basketball program from 1963-69, and later took over the Leland girls basketball program and led the Comets to a 388-110 record and three straight Class D Finals championships (1980-82) over two tenures from 1977-91 and 2000-05. Laurie’s sister Rebecca McKee played basketball at Leland and Michigan State University, and her brother Michael Glass played basketball at Lansing Community College before also becoming a high school and college coach.

Laurie also coached and parented arguably the most accomplished volleyball player – and perhaps top female athlete across all sports – in Michigan high school history. Her daughter Alisha Glass-Childress graduated from Leland in 2006 with national records for career kills, aces and blocks, and the first two still top those respective lists. Alisha, also an all-state basketball player, went on to star on the volleyball court at Penn State and as the U.S. Olympic team setter in 2016 in helping that team to the bronze medal.

Larry Glass’ lessons still ring true as Laurie passes them on to another generation. One of her favorite sayings from her father was “you can’t take money out of the bank until you put money in” – in essence, a coach can’t expect athletes to accept criticism or a hard ask if that coach first hasn’t invested in them. Another of her dad’s themes involved making sure players learned fundamentals at young ages and improved on them at all levels, whether they won games or not during those early years. As one of his middle school coaches, that stuck with her, and it remains a basic component of her coaching.

“I’ve always said that we compete with teams that are way more athletic, have all the things on paper that should beat us. And the fact that we know how to be a really good team is what allows us to beat people who on paper should be better than us,” Laurie Glass said. “I’ve always valued the time spent on culture and team because that’s the advantage we hold. We’re never going to be the tallest or most talented – Alisha being the anomaly, of course.”

Laurie Glass has served on the MIVCA Executive Board, including as president, and is a member of the MHSCA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Locally, her program annually hosts the Forever Dig Abby match in honor of former player Abby Gross, who died after a fight against cancer in 2015. Proceeds most years go to benefit another community member battling the disease, and this past season went to a fund for efforts related to ovarian cancer.  

Glass has served nearly 35 years in education and retired from her duties as a behavior intervention specialist and special education teacher in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in 2019. She has returned to the school setting, however, and is in her second year as a behavior intervention specialist at Leland.

Glass earned a bachelor’s degree in special education with an endorsement in emotional impairment from Western Michigan University in 1988, and has done master-level coursework in education administration and technology. She also is a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute. Glass first attended Grand Valley State University and played a season of volleyball before transferring. (NOTE: Glass also coached the Kalamazoo Central varsity for two seasons during the mid-1980s. Those records are unavailable currently but will be added to her overall record when research is complete.)

Past Women In Sports Leadership Award Winners

1990 – Carol Seavoy, L’Anse 
1991 – Diane Laffey, Harper Woods
1992 – Patricia Ashby, Scotts
1993 – Jo Lake, Grosse Pointe
1994 – Brenda Gatlin, Detroit
1995 – Jane Bennett, Ann Arbor
1996 – Cheryl Amos-Helmicki, Huntington Woods
1997 – Delores L. Elswick, Detroit
1998 – Karen S. Leinaar, Delton
1999 – Kathy McGee, Flint 
2000 – Pat Richardson, Grass Lake
2001 – Suzanne Martin, East Lansing
2002 – Susan Barthold, Kentwood
2003 – Nancy Clark, Flint
2004 – Kathy Vruggink Westdorp, Grand Rapids 
2005 – Barbara Redding, Capac
2006 – Melanie Miller, Lansing
2007 – Jan Sander, Warren Woods
2008 – Jane Bos, Grand Rapids
2009 – Gail Ganakas, Flint; Deb VanKuiken, Holly
2010 – Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2011 – Ellen Pugh, West Branch; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2012 – Janet Gillette, Comstock Park
2013 – Barbara Beckett, Traverse City
2014 – Teri Reyburn, DeWitt
2015 – Jean LaClair, Bronson
2016 – Betty Wroubel, Pontiac
2017 – Dottie Davis, Ann Arbor
2018 – Meg Seng, Ann Arbor
2019 – Kris Isom, Adrian
2020 – Nikki Norris, East Lansing
2021 – Dorene Ingalls, St. Ignace
2022 – Lori Hyman, Livonia

PHOTOS (Top) Leland coach Laurie Glass confers with one of her players during the 2019 Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.