Ready to lead: Blevins takes over Crothersville volleyball program


It didn’t take long for Carly Blevins to ingrain herself in Crothersville’s volleyball community.

When she joined the program as an eighth-grade coach in 2018, the kids magnetized to her.

Blevins rapport with the youth was on full display this past week, as 20 kids attended a youth volleyball camp at Crothersville High School. At the camp, Blevins was assisted by members of the high school program.

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"I really wanted to learn about volleyball," fourth grader Ava Hodge said. "I’ve learned how to serve, and my favorite part is playing with my friends. We have also worked on our passing."

Fourth grader Teagan Cutshall said she learned a lot about a new sport at the camp.

"I knew that I would have fun if I came," she said. "You get to play with your friends. This is my first time playing volleyball, and I think I’m going to keep playing. It’s a lot of fun."

Having that continuity with players of all ages will pay off big time for the Tigers, as Blevins has stepped into a much larger role with the program.

One year after first getting involved with the program, Blevins will now lead the Tigers’ varsity team.

She is the third coach for the Tigers over the past five years.

She takes over for Kourtney Settle, who coached the Tigers the past two seasons. Linda Luedeman was the Tigers’ head in the 2015 and ’16 seasons.

The Tigers finished 10-13 last fall under Settle.

Blevins is a native of Monroe, Michigan, and works at Cummins Inc. full time. She said she moved to Jackson County after getting married to her husband, Kyler, who is a Crothersville native.

"My husband went to Crothersville, and my sons go here," Blevins said. "There was an opening last year as the eighth-grade coach, and I went for it. I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed getting to know the girls and creating bonds with them.

"Once I heard of the opening for the varsity position and was asked if I would be interested, I jumped right on it knowing the girls I had last year would eventually move up with me. I really didn’t know many of the high school girls, and it was a little nerve-racking, but throughout the last few months, we have gotten to know one another, and it has been just as awesome."

Blevins played volleyball in high school and on intramural and sand volleyball teams in college. She also has played a few years in the Brownstown summer league.

"I have always loved the game, and I have always wanted to work with kids/teens," Blevins said. "Since I do not have that opportunity with my career, volleyball is my way of getting to. The game is great, but I enjoy helping these girls not only grow on the court but off the court, as well, to help them become leaders, to push themselves to their limits so they know they can always do what they put their mind to.

"To me, coaching isn’t just about winning on the court. You learn just as much from losing. It is about being a leader for them to give them another person that cares about them and wants nothing but the best for them."

In her first year at the helm, Blevins expects the team to work hard and grow.

"I think my biggest goal is for them to find their chemistry," she said. "Once they do that, most of the other things will fall into place. Obviously, it is always a work in progress, and we will have to continue to push forward, but I am excited to see what they do when they find it.

"Another would be helping create mature players. We have a young team with only five upperclassmen (two seniors). They have big shoes to fill as we will be losing our setter and strong middle hitter, who are also excellent leaders."

She describes her coaching style as "hands-on and active."

"I love practicing with them and growing right along with them," Blevins said. "Being a newer coach, I learn something new every practice. I am constantly online looking for new drills, picking my friends’ brains for ideas to create an environment for them to learn. I put a lot of time and thought into making it enjoyable for them.

"If you don’t enjoy going to practice, you are not going to give it your all. How you participate in practice is how you will play in a game. I am also very team-oriented, I believe team bonding is one of the best things you can do for a group of girls. Having that support and each other to lean on off the court just makes it more magical on it."

Blevins fully intends to stay involved with the youth programs while she works with the high-schoolers.

"I am very excited to be a part of this and help it grow," Blevins said. "My sons go to the elementary, so I know almost all those kids and have had such a great week at camp. Last year, we had a six-week program, which we were lucky enough to have one of the elementary teachers put on, to help the third through fifth graders with the fundamentals. That helped immensely for the fifth graders who are now sixth playing in middle school. They went in knowing what to expect and how the game worked."

She said feeder programs like that and having camps throughout the years in elementary will improve the program.

"I also feel having the strong coaching staff that we do is a great asset to the program," she said. "We are lucky to have them. They genuinely care about the program and the kids involved. They want to see it succeed as much as I do and are willing to put in the effort to do so."

The Tigers will open the season Aug. 17 at Scottsburg with matches against the Warriors and Switzerland County.

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"To me, coaching isn’t just about winning on the court. You learn just as much from losing. It is about being a leader for them to give them another person that cares about them and wants nothing but the best for them."

Carly Blevins, Crothersville volleyball coach