Every week LWSN highlights a coach.This week we highlight North Bullitt head volleyball coach Keith Higgs
What is your history with athletics in your personal life?
I grew up playing sports in the Catholic School Athletic Association system at St. Rita. I participated in basketball, football, soccer, softball and track there. I also dabbled in baseball at Blue Lick and Okolona. I played in my first volleyball league at 16 when I joined my parents in a family co-ed league at St. Bartholomew.
How did you obtain your current coaching position?
I obtained my current position after having joined the staff as the JV coach prior to the 2015-16 tryouts. The coach who hired me, moved on after her first season, so I applied and got the head coach position prior to last season. We have a senior who played as a middle schooler and this will be the first season she has not had a new varsity head coach. We hope to add some stability and continuity moving forward.
Who do you look up to?
That one is easy, my parents, Patty and Lin Higgs. They are shining examples in every facet of life. They inspire me as a man, as a Christian, as a spouse, as a parent, literally every facet. God has truly blessed me with them as parents, I can only hope to be half the parents they are, and live up to their standards. I pray that I make them proud.
What are two primary goals you have/had for your team this season?
Two primary goals we have for this season are to regain our district crown after a rebuilding year last year where we had to replace 5 starters. We also want to continue to grow the program and change the culture at North Bullitt volleyball.
What is the hardest part of coaching for you?
The hardest part of coaching for me is that I cannot do everything for everybody. That is to say, I cannot make everyone happy, at least not all of the time. I love all of my girls like my own children, and it is hard to look down the bench and see disappointment. At the end of the day though, we are trying to improve all of these individual ladies, but we want to do so within the concept of the TEAM.
What qualities do you hope to instill in your players that they can take with them to their families, careers, and society?
The qualities we wish to instill in our players are much the same as those we wish to impart on our children. We talk a lot about accountability, coachability, and responsibility. Additionally, honor, honesty, and integrity are big tenets in our program. The middle and high school athletic stages are so much more than wins and losses or Xs and Os. Many of our discussions often turn into “life lesson” sessions, those are the things I will always cherish and pray that they remember.
How do you motivate your best athletes to work even harder?
We try to motivate our athletes based on a couple of notions. Number one, are you as good as you want to be and what are you prepared to do to be better? Number two, do you want to take the life that the world has offered you or are you going to go out and make the life that you want? These choices are almost entirely under their control, but they have to choose.
What’s your favorite memory as a coach?
One of my favorite memories as a coach goes back to when I was coaching the minor league baseball Dodgers at Blue Lick. We had one particular young man that was a HUGE UK fan, as was his Dad, and they were slated to go to a father/son overnight basketball camp at UK when Calipari first got there. He talked about it for weeks. As we got down to it, we earned our way to the tourney finals against the team that won the regular season title, the only team to beat us thus far that season. One problem, the finals were on the first day of his camp. To hear his Dad tell it, it was a no-brainer, Mark was going to stay and play with his team and go to the camp when we finished. Long story short (if we haven’t blown that already), not only did he stay and play, he made the final out in the bottom of the last inning, with the tying run on first. I am rarely at a loss for words, especially in a post-game celebration, but I was completely unable to speak to him when giving him the game ball, my assistant coach had to do it.
What does coaching bring to you or your family?
Coaching has brought so much to our family. I have been blessed to coach all 3 of my children, and my daughter still plays for me now. It is a bond that can never be broken and one I hope that continues as they get older and start having families of their own.
What is the greatest philosophy you live by?
I have always been a big believer in the Golden Rule, as it covers so many bases, even in its simplicity. Lately that has kind of evolved to reflect the tolerance our changing world demands: As long as whatever floats your boat doesn’t capsize mine, we will be just fine.