When asked what makes a good coach, George Halas, the Hall of Fame founder, owner and coach of the Chicago Bears is said to have replied, “Complete dedication.”
While such commitment can be seen in many coaches throughout this county, the ranks have gotten a little smaller recently, after Colusa High School volleyball coach Tina Lyons formalized her decision to step down after six seasons at the helm of the RedHawks earlier this spring.
“It’s been a great run,” said Lyons. “I’ve made some incredible memories and had the chance to coach some exceptional student athletes, but at this point, I’d like to spend more time with my family and embark on some new adventures.”
Lyons, who took over a struggling program in 2014 after being hired as a teacher at Colusa High School, made an immediate impact, guiding her team to the section championship game for the first time in school history.
Although the RedHawks didn’t come away with the section title in that inaugural appearance, a precedent was set, from which Lyons proceeded to build Colusa into a perennial contender, competing not only with Sacramento Valley League powerhouses Pierce and Willows, but additionally making two more trips to the championship round.
It was in what was to be her final game coaching volleyball for the RedHawks last November that her team claimed its first NSCIF crown with a resounding win over Etna, fulfilling one of the few accomplishments that had eluded her.
Over six seasons, Lyons accrued a record of 148-84, was twice The Appeal Democrat All-Area Coach of the Year and is the reigning Northern Section Coach of the Year.
Colusa athletic director Eric Lay summed up the influence of the program’s most successful coach saying,
“Coach Lyons was able to take a program that toiled in mediocrity prior to her tenure and build a well-respected program in the Northern Section. She set an example of hard work and dedication for her athletes and it permeated through not only our high school program, but also the club program she started in Colusa County. Tina will be sorely missed as a volleyball coach at CHS, but she has left the program in a great place to enjoy future success. As her colleague, athletic director and parent of a player she coached, I can’t thank her enough for the sacrifices and efforts she made for our young ladies.”
Lyons, who has coached volleyball for a total of 17 years overall, without question passed on her passion for the sport, a fact not lost on former player Abby Huskey, a 2019 Colusa High graduate who plays for Sierra College in Rocklin.
“Tina taught me how to love volleyball, and because of her I am still playing in college. She truly cares about the kids she coaches. We are so lucky to have had Tina in our program,” Huskey said.
Yet despite stepping away from the RedHawk program, Lyons, an embodiment of the dedication Halas described, will remain active in the local volleyball scene by continuing to coach for the Colusa Volleyball Club and also refereeing high school games. ■