A familiar face to the Logan-Rogersville volleyball program is prepared for the challenge of sustaining its excellence going forward.
Emily Hutcheson was recently named head coach following the departure of longtime coach Tammy Miller.
“This was a pretty easy decision for me,” Hutcheson said. “[L-R Athletic Director] Joe Spurlin contacted me about the position, and when you have an opportunity like this, they don’t come very often. You have to jump on it, and that’s what I did.
“It’s been a dream of mine to come back and play a role in some facet. … I went to Rogersville schools K-12. This is home.”
A member of the Class of 2003, Hutcheson played under Miller in her early tenure with L-R, part of a team that produced a runner-up finish in the program’s first state final appearance (2000).
“[Tammy] just had high expectations, and we’re going to continue to have high expectations, too, ultimately with the goal of going to state and continuing the tradition,” Hutcheson said. “Who better to continue it than someone who was part of that tradition being built? It’s nice to give back to the team that helped make me who I am as a coach and a player.”
After her time at Rogersville, Hutcheson played one year at John Brown University, then two seasons at Southwest Baptist University before completing an undergraduate degree in athletic training.
Since then, she’s developed a coaching philosophy by working with some of the state’s premier names. After heading to Central Arkansas as a graduate assistant under Steven McRoberts, named Missouri State's head volleyball coach in January, Hutcheson spent eight seasons as JV coach under Willard's Jamalee Hancock, the 2017-18 MSHSAA Coach of the Year. In the past several seasons, she served as junior high head coach in Nixa, also assisting throughout the playoffs under varsity head coach (and Seymour grad) Annie Zimmerman, named Class 4 Coach of the Year after the Lady Eagles won a state title last fall.
“I got to take in their knowledge and learn from them, and now I get to take all of that and put it into what my philosophy is as a coach — pave my own way so to speak,” Hutcheson said. “Getting to learn from all these ladies is something very special to me. I just want to make them proud.”
Miller, a Class of 2018 inductee into the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, was hired in early April to become the new head coach at Rolla High School following the resignation of former coach Stephanie Pritchett, also a graduate of West Plains.
A player at Drury and Missouri State, Miller spent a year at Mountain Grove before over two decades in Rogersville. In her time with the Wildcats, she guided the program to over 500 victories, headlined by a Class 3 state title in 2018. Miller also led L-R to the Final Four on seven other occasions, collecting over a dozen districts and conference titles in the process.
Hutcheson was at the high school Monday evening for a short meet-and-greet and to hand out summer calendars to players.
“We met pretty much all the girls interested in coming out,” Hutcheson said. “I think everyone’s nervous, too, but excited. It’s a new opportunity, and there are new philosophies. We’re also faced with the challenges of navigating everything with COVID, but you just have to take it day by day and approach it in a positive way.”
Bryan can be followed on Twitter @BryanEversonMF.