ILWACO - Candy Johnson is taking the helm as volleyball coach of Ilwaco's program for the first time next fall, but the Naselle resident is not short of coaching and volleyball experience.
Johnson has 13 years experience as assistant volleyball coach to Doug Rogers and was on the bench for three state tournament appearances and a second place finish for the Comets in 1998. Johnson has also coached two years of club volleyball, five years as assistant softball coach, and seven years of middle school basketball. She has volunteered as a baseball and basketball coach at the junior high level as well.
Johnson graduated from South Bend in 1981 and was a star performer under the tutelage of veteran mentor, Bertha Koplitz. She earned a scholarship and played volleyball at Grays Harbor Community College. Besides Koplitz, Johnson says Rogers has been a big influence on her coaching career.
"Doug has been wonderful to work with over the years. It got to where he would start a sentence and I could finish it," Johnson said.
Rogers helped with a camp for Lady Fishermen volleyball hopefuls in mid-June. Linda Raaymakers will continue to assist.
"Linda has been super in giving me ideas and helping me to get acquainted with the players," Johnson said. "I met her at a volleyball clinic last year and our e-mail has been burning up with ideas for our team."
Johnson says, "In order to have a good volleyball program, the kids have to enjoy what they are doing. They learn much better and work harder if they are having fun and achieving goals. We have a lot of work to do, but we have already seen a huge improvement in the girls from volleyball camp."
The new coach adds, "Team bonding, communication, respect, and sportsmanship are all very important for not only volleyball but beyond. I'm looking forward to an awesome year." Johnson replaces Grant Chinn who has moved to Colorado to work in youth ministry.
Johnson is the mother of four children; Jeff, Derek and Chelsea are out of high school and Kyle still attends school in Naselle. Johnson works as a resident aide at Coast Rehabilitation for the developmentally disabled.