Meg Bohn could never really stay away from the game she loved.
When she stepped down as Pinecrest’s head volleyball coach in the summer of 2015, she wasn’t doing it because she wanted to. She did because it was the right thing to do at the time, with family issues forcing her hand.
Even after resigning from her position, she remained at Pinecrest as a teacher and occasionally helped out with volleyball-related tasks like scheduling. As time passed, she began to miss the grind of being on the court more and more. One particular moment stuck with her more than most: A former player invited Bohn to the Paladins’ senior night, and going to the event reminded Bohn of what she was missing.
“I was just there as a guest,” Bohn said. That tugged at me a little bit.”
Bohn is no longer just an honorable guest, at least for the time being. The Paladins have tapped her to lead the varsity volleyball team again, now on an interim basis.
“It was always my desire to leave the program in the hands of someone who could take it to the next level,” Bohn said. My untimely departure didn’t enable me to do that, so hopefully now that I'm back in, I can encourage the program to grow and leave it in the hands of someone who could take it to the next level.”
For the volleyball program, that transition period has gone on roughly since Bohn left her position three years ago, with two varsity head coaches over that stretch. The most recent head coach, Geno Acevedo, resigned after just one season with the team, which prompted yet another coaching search for Paladins athletic director Chris Kane.
"He was great with the volleyball, he just didn't realize all that was involved with high school volleyball as opposed to club volleyball,” Kane said. “He stepped down because he didn't think it was fair. He couldn’t put the attention to it that he wanted to."
Pinecrest wanted a teacher to fill the position, but didn’t get many qualified applicants. Bohn had begun working with the middle school team, which gave Kane the idea of asking her to fill the varsity slot. She was excited for the opportunity, but had her doubts at first.
“I hesitated because I didn't know if I was the right person for the job,” Bohn said. “I have really high standards for myself, really high standards for the girls when they're on the court (and) really high standards for the program. It's hard to maintain those standards. It takes a lot of energy to maintain all of that. I wasn't sure I was capable of that anymore."
Kane eventually offered her the position of interim coach, which she eventually accepted after some thought. Officially, the search for a head coach is still ongoing, even if Kane not-so-secretly hopes his search is over.
"We’re continuing the search, but Meg has it on steady ground right now just because our girls know Meg,” Kane said. “A lot of these girls, she knew when she was going through the middle school program. She gives them that stability.
“My hope is she has such a joy of a season and it brings back such fond memories that she wants to stay. We'll see how that goes."
Bohn herself doesn’t put the proposition of being on the court next fall outside the realm of possibility. To her, the only thing she needs to find out is if she still has that same youthful spirit that she says is required to coach volleyball.
“I think every coach has their day,” Bohn said. “Mine might not be done. I'm more than open (to come back) if the Holy Spirit wants me to be out there with those girls. I'll take my cane out to the court if I have to do that."
Rising freshman Alex Shapiro had Bohn as a middle school coach. Drawing from firsthand experience, she’s excited to see what she can do with the varsity squad.
“She definitely challenges you,” Shapiro said. “She puts you where you have your weak spot but it helps you get better in the long term.”
Bohn has plenty of support from the Pinecrest community, with parents and others showering her with congratulatory texts, some from names she didn’t have saved in her phone. For Bohn, the only thing to do next is to live up to all the excitement.
"It feels great to have that type of support and I'm happy that everyone thinks I can do it,” Bohn said. “Now I just need to deliver.”