KINGMAN - Now that Lee Williams High School has a class of incoming juniors, the Volunteers are full speed ahead with getting a complete set of varsity teams ready for competition this August.
Last year, LWHS had eight teams that competed at the varsity level and are now looking at 17. The Vols had football, boys and girls cross country, boys golf, boys basketball, wrestling, and boys and girls track. The school is ready to add volleyball, girls golf, girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls tennis to the varsity mix.
LWHS athletic director Cory Williams led a team that had to make some tough decisions when adding such a large number of varsity coaches. Williams and his team filled almost all of the spots but are continuing the search for girls soccer and boys tennis coaches.
Former Kingman High volleyball coach Traci Rosenbach has agreed to take over the Lee Williams program. Rosenbach coached the Bulldogs for three seasons (2010-2012) and compiled a 24-27 regular-season record, including 10-7 her last year. She stepped down at Kingman before last season and admits to having missed the action on the court.
"I was gone for a year to be with my family," Rosenbach said. "I actually missed it (coaching) a lot, getting out of the house and being with girls."
One reason Rosenbach chose Lee Williams (Kingman's coaching position is open) was because of Julia Lasiloo. The two worked together at Kingman and Lasiloo will be the JV coach for the Lady Vols.
"Julia really wanted me to be here," she said. "We like each other and work well together."
When Williams heard that Rosenbach was interested in the position, it didn't take much to convince him and the hiring team to get her on board.
"I was excited when I saw her name," Williams said. "I know what she is going to bring us and was excited to jump at that chance. She is going to be really good for our girls. When Traci is knocking on my door, I'm going to answer it."
A season ago Lee Williams didn't get enough interest from the student body for a girls golf team, but there is a coach in place. Haley Bradley is all set to lead the Lady Vols on the course, if the school can get participation.
Lee Williams has also brought in James Mayfield to lead the girls basketball and baseball programs. Mayfield has coached at Glendale Ironwood and Cactus, and Williams knows Mayfield from coaching against him when Williams was at Kingman.
"James has a background in everything," Williams said. "He's got compassion for student athletes, he's organized and he brings the ability to coach younger coaches."
Mayfield was unavailable for comment.
While the school is still searching for a girls soccer coach, Ray Tapia has been promoted from the boys JV job to lead the varsity team.
Mike Cummings is coming from the state of Washington to take over the softball program. He'll teach social studies and will be the JV football and assistant wrestling coach. Cummings has more than 20 years wrestling coach experience and nearly as much softball experience.
"Mike has had a lot of success taking summer (softball) teams to Junior (Softball) World Series and tournaments," Williams said. "He has the ability to communicate and take young coaches and build them. He knows everyone has to learn and build, and he was very adamant about that."
The lack of teaching jobs in the Aberdeen, Wash., area led Cummings to search out employment in other locations and to leave the place where he was born and raised. A visit to Kingman sold Cummings on Lee Williams.
"I went down to see the community and Lee Williams and just fell in love with it," Cummings said. "Though it's spread out, I like the hometown feel to Kingman, and Lee Williams is a beautiful campus."
Jordan Cummins moves from the JV tennis coach to the girls varsity coach. Williams is impressed how Cummins kept her players interested in practicing everyday despite only having five or six matches on the schedule.
"She had to have had the toughest job on our campus," the athletic director said. "She's got some talent now due to her hard work. Holy cow, I saw a lot of improvement."
Though Lee Williams bypassed a couple of coaches who have been with the school during its first two years, Williams said he did that to give them a better chance at success when the time comes for them to be varsity coaches.
"We made decisions first and foremost that were the best for our athletic department and our student athletes," he said. "But all of this wouldn't be possible without the hard work by Coach Lasiloo in softball and Coach (Jeff) Fiero in baseball over the past two years. We wouldn't be where we're at without them."