In the summer of 2002, Jenna Persinger knew she wanted to be a volleyball coach.
On Monday night, the Wilmington City Schools Board of Education helped Persinger realize her dream. She was hired to be the next varsity volleyball coach at WHS.
“I think back to the summer before my senior year of high school and I specifically remember working at our Miami Trace youth volleyball camp,” said Persinger, a 2003 graduate of Miami Trace High School. “Working with younger girls who were just being introducted to the game and watching them learn new skills while sharing my passion and love for the game … that’s whenI knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Persinger, a 10-letter varsity athlete at Trace, will take over a program that has struggled to win a handful of matches in a season on a consistent basis since legendary coach Gary Downing retired.
“Our program will be built on the foundation four Ds of success – desire, determination, dedication, and discipline,” she said. “I believe there is a lot of potential within the program already and I believe that the passion and enthusiasm I bring will help get things going in the right direction.
“The support of the administration at Wilmington is phenomenal — everyone is on the same page as far as doing everything they can to make this program successful. I can’t thank Mr. (Troy) Diels and the rest of the Hurricane administration for the opportunity to lead this program.”
Persinger earned four letters in gymnastics, four in track and field, and two in volleyball. She also was a basketball cheerleader for the Panthers. She set the school record her senior year in the 300-meter hurdles.
At Wilmington College, Persinger was a cheerleader for the both the Quakers football and basketball teams from 2003 to 2006. She did not cheer her senior year to focus on her student teaching, she said.
“I look at my volleyball coaching philosophy as a set of principles upon which my own day-to-day efforts are based, and they are based on a quote from Olympic distance runner Steve Prefontaine … ‘To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift’,” Persinger said. “Perfection in anything we do is an unrealistic expectation, but what I expect from our staff and our players – and what they can expect from me – is perfect effort day in and day out. Our motto for this coming year will be ‘all in.’ I want everyone involved in the program from players to coaches to parents to believe in what we are doing and committed to making our program as successful as it can be.
“I believe in providing each student-athlete with every opportunity to be as good as she wants to be, to grow as a student-athlete and as a person. It is important there is a focus on hard work, dedication, confidence and consistency. Finally, every athlete and coach who comes into our program, from the seventh grade all the way up to the varsity, is a key contributor. We all play an important role in building this program.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports