Ken Wunderley has this week's High School Boys Volleyball Notebook. Read his story below.
(Photo: Peter Barakat is the new boys volleyball coach at Bishop Canevin. Ken Wunderley/Tri-State Sports & News Service)
Kevin Walters and Peter Barakat are back for a fourth season as coaches of the Bishop Canevin boys volleyball team, but the two have switched positions.
Barakat has taken over as head coach after serving as an assistant to Walters the past three years.
"I just found it tough to be head coach of both programs, along with running my club team," said Walters, who also serves as girls coach at Bishop Canevin. "I don't have enough time to give both programs the attention they deserve."
Walters also wanted to give Barakat a chance to be a head coach.
"Assistant coaches are always looking to take the next step," Walters said. "He's done a great job as my assistant. He deserves a shot at head coaching."
Walters returns as Barakat's assistant.
"I still want to be involved in the boys program, but I need a little flexability," Walters said. "I missed Saturday's North Hills tournament because we had a girls club practice."
Walters heads up the Southwest Pa. Volleyball Club.
"I welcome the opportunity," Barakat said. "The two jobs are similar, but the head coach has more behind the scenes stuff to deal with."
Walters also convinced a long-time friend to return to coaching.
"I haven't coached since 2007," said John Lawrence, who ended a 10-year hiatis from coaching to take over as head coach at Seton-LaSalle. "My two good friends, Kevin Walters and [Latrobe coach] Drew Vosefski, convinced me to come back."
This will be the 27th year for Lawrence, who has previous coaching stints at Point Park, La Roche, Wheeling Jesuit, Montour, Bethel Park and Seton-LaSalle.
"Ray Bobak and I started Seton-LaSalle's program in 2006," said Lawrence, who played volleyball and football at Mt. Lebanon. "I coached the team for two years, then got out of coaching in 2007. I turned down several job offers to come back, both college and high school, but I needed a break."
During his 10-year hiatus, Lawrence become a very accomplished wildlife artist.
"It's a good thing for men's volleyball to have John Lawrence coaching again," Walters said. "John is an excellent coach who is highly knowledgeable. I was glad to see him take the job at Seton-LaSalle."
A mini reunion of Deer Lakes' 2011 PIAA Class 2A championship team is taking place this year. Three members of that team are now leading the Lancers program. Brady Schuller is the head coach, Sean McTigue is the junior varsity coach and Kody Buttyan is the middle school coach.
"That was my senior year," Schuller said. "Sean was a junior and Cody was a sophomore. It's great to be working with my former teammates. We know each other like the back of our hands."
Schuller served as junior varsity coach last season. He applied for the head coaching job when Zak Roberts stepped down after two seasons at the helm. Buttyan is back for his third year as middle school coach. McTigue is the newcomer to the group.
"Having worked with the program last year has made the transition from assistant to head coach easier," Schuller said. "Kody is also familiar with everybody. That really helps."
Deer Lakes entered the season ranked No. 2 in WPIAL Class 2A. The Lancers began Section 2 play this week. A showdown with No. 4 Derry is scheduled for Tuesday.
"That's a big match for us," Schuller said. "Our two matches with them could decide the section title."
Mars starts fresh
Mars is fielding a WPIAL team for the first time. Michael Nypaver, a 2005 North Allegheny graduate, has the challenge of building a program from the ground up.
"I was an assistant at OLSH [Our Lady of the Sacred Heart] the last two years," Nypaver said. "[OLSH coach] Mike McDonald told me about the job. He said it would be a great opportunity to build a program from the ground up."
Experience is the biggest challenge for Nypaver.
"The biggest challenge of starting a program from scratch is not having a pipeline of players with volleyball experience," he said. "I don't have junior high or junior varsity players moving up to the varsity. I'm teaching the basics of volleyball to everybody."
Nypaver is still teaching science, chemistry and biology at OLSH.