Mary Ashlyn Grosjean went home again in more ways than one.
The 2011 Robert E. Lee graduate returned as a teacher three years ago and ultimately began coaching as an assistant to the volleyball program last year.
Grosjean worked under head coach Chelsea Taylor during a 4-21 season.
Now, a year later, Grosjean is REL’s new volleyball coach.
She replaces Taylor, who left last month to teach at Barbers Hill.
This is Grossjean’s first head coaching position.
“I am really excited being a product of Gander volleyball,” Grosjean said. “Being back where I came from is very cool. There are things to be nervous about, but I am looking forward to work with the girls. I already know so many of them, so I am looking forward to build and see where we go.
“Once a Gander, always a Gander. It brings back so many memories and things I enjoyed. A lot of it made me who I am. In high school you develop an initial love for a sport.”
Grosjean says that the team struggled offensively and the turnover of coaches – three in three years – is not ideal for building consistency. That is something the REL alum wants to develop.
“I want us to work toward what the girls can do and their strengths,” Grosjean said.
She graduated from Texas A&M in 2016 with a major in sports conditioning and minors in psychology and coaching.
Grosjean is looking forward to working with the defensive prowess the Lady Ganders showed last year.
“I want to focus more on our blocking defense,” Grosjean said. “We have some girls who have proven themselves in the offseason. I am proud of our defense. We have some smart hitters we hope to incorporate, and I am looking forward to seeing some good things.”
The new coach also wants to make her program more well known in the public.
“I want us to do more community-involved things this year,” Grosjean said. “What can we do to make these girls, better young women? I am looking forward to doing stuff like that. We are in the works for volunteering at a local food bank and we worked at an animal shelter last year. It’s doing stuff to give back and make us a well-rounded program that will benefit the girls.”
The Lady Ganders open the season on Aug. 6 at Houston Milby.
Practice for all teams is set to begin the earliest Aug. 1.