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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

August 24, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Surprising change at the top in Kennedy Catholic volleyball

I don’t know what I found most surprising at Monday night’s Seamount League preseason volleyball coaches’ meeting — who’s not coaching Kennedy Catholic this year, or who is.

Tom Muckerheide is out after 25 super-successful seasons and Joanne Uhl is in. That’s Joanne Uhl as in the former Joanne Gilligan, who led Bishop Blanchet to three state championships in her 18 years at the helm before getting married and moving to Louisiana in 2007.

But Muckerheide is still coaching in the Seamount League. Just last Thursday, he accepted the job at Lindbergh.

Muckerheide elected not to return as volleyball coach at Kennedy after his teaching contract was not renewed in what he believes was a cost-cutting decision. Kennedy is a private school and enrollment has declined during the on-going economic struggles felt nation-wide.

“Somebody had to go and I was the guy,” he said.

Muckerheide had hoped to find a teaching and coaching position, but finally opted to take the coaching-only job at Lindbergh when no teaching spots opened. He is looking forward to the challenge of starting fresh.

“I think it will be fun,” he said.

Lindbergh has never qualified for state in volleyball. Kennedy, on the other hand, made 16 trips under Muckerheide and took home 12 trophies. The Lancers never won a title, but finished second four times — most recently in 2006, when they lost to none other than Blanchet, coached by the then Joanne Gilligan.

Muckerheide coached Kennedy to 19 Seamount titles, including the last eight in a row. The Lancers ended a string of four straight state apperances last fall, when top player Jennika McPherson had to undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor at the end of the regular season and her team struggled without her. She apparently has made a full recovery and will lead a loaded Kennedy team this fall.

“I’m sure they’re going to be a powerhouse,” Muckerheide said.

He said Kennedy “couldn’t have done better” than hiring Uhl.

Kennedy will continue to compete at the 3A level this year, but Lindbergh has dropped to 2A.

I’ve had phone messages out to Uhl today (I didn’t have a chance to speak with her at the meeting). I don’t know what prompted her return to the area. But I’ll provide more details when I get them. In her 18 seasons at Blanchet, the Braves earned 13 state berths and eight trophies.

Upon her departure, former assistant Matt Chang took over the program and continued the rich tradition. Blanchet won last year’s 3A title after back-to-back third-place finishes.



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