Coach Kyra Iannone announces her departure from Douglas
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It felt as if just yesterday, coach Kyra Iannone was discussing her plans for the team’s future in the upcoming season. Things were looking good with a young squad of hungry athletes. Her fifth year coaching the Royals volleyball team was by far the most successful, in terms of records and accolades. The team was poised for a record setting season coming up, but that will all have to be put on pause.
Starting September 1, Iannone will be starting at her new position as assistant coach at the University of Arizona. The decision may come as a surprise to some, but those who knew her saw this coming. After all, it doesn’t take long for a coach of her skill to be noticed by larger teams. For Iannone, the decision to leave was a difficult one, but in her heart, she knew the answer. “I was offered a position for full time coaching in the NCAA Division 1 league, and to be honest this is a dream of mine. I have never had the opportunity to coach as my full time position and it has been my goal for a long time to make coaching my career. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am so very blessed, honoured, and excited for the chance to make my mark on NCAA beach volleyball.”
Looking back at her five years behind the bench at Douglas, there are a lot of memories to sift through. It would be nearly impossible to pick a favourite, though some players would be quick to mention specific trips or moments. However, the coach’s favourite memories go a little deeper than a singular instance. “In all honesty, my favourite memories were the more intimate and meaningful memories I have with each girl. The moments we share after a big win, or a big loss when an important hug or kind word was needed. It was watching my players bond, or make a big play, or the moment they realized they were something special.”
Yet, for as long as five years is, there are still some things that have yet to be accomplished by the team. For Iannone, it was the big prize. “I would have loved to win a championship. These girls improved, changed culture, and changed expectations, but they deserved the respect of the league and their peers that is earned when you win a championship.” Despite not being able to obtain the coveted prize of a championship win, the team can be proud that they were able to stand toe-to-toe with some eventual championship winners during Iannone’s time with the team.
They say every career stop teaches you a valuable life lesson. For Iannone, the lesson she learned is perhaps one of the most valuable. “I learned that family is the most important thing, and we, the team, were a family.” It was that passion that kept her going through the tough times, and allowed her to do the work that she did for them. As she leaves her post, Iannone imparts this bit of wisdom for fans of the Royals: “This is a special group of girls who are serious about their dedication to the program, and each other. Be proud of them and stand by them because they are worth it.”