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Mesa’s Bagwell back on scene

VOLLEYBALL: Former player has returned to coach team that is need of leadership and stability.

February 28, 2008|By Soraya Nadia McDonald

Ryan Bagwell always thought he would like to coach volleyball. He just had no idea it would be this soon.

Bagwell, 20, was a senior on the 2006 Costa Mesa High volleyball team that went to the CIF Southern Section Division III championship match, under Chris Komer. It was the farthest a Costa Mesa boys’ team had ever gone in the volleyball postseason. The Mustangs lost to Santa Monica in four games after winning their first league title.

Now in his second year at Orange Coast College, Bagwell elected to forgo playing volleyball for the Pirates to coach the Mustangs boys’ team this year. He’s the team’s fourth coach in as many years.

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“It’s definitely different on the opposite side of the court,” Bagwell said. “There’s a different mental outlook. You’re explaining what you used to do.”

Junior outside hitter Ben Lefebvre has the unique experience of now being coached by his former teammate. When Bagwell was playing, the Mustangs could count on him for double-digit kills, and sometimes double-digit aces, Komer said.

“He was the constant leader on the team,” Komer said. “He was the rock. He knew when to lead by example and when to speak up and talk with motivation. He’s going to be a great coach. He’s well-organized. He’s well thought-out with what he has to say. He has a great character.”

Now, Bagwell’s expected to tell his team how to do the same thing. Lefebvre said the team had some dust-ups last year with Coach Gray Bailey, who was around the same age as Bagwell.

Bailey was charged with filling the enormous shoes of the 29-year-old Komer, who left after he couldn’t get a teaching position at Costa Mesa.

After going undefeated in league the year before, Lefebvre said, the losing was difficult to swallow. The Mustangs finished third in the Orange Coast League last season with a record of 3-6.

“We need to keep our morale high this season,” Lefebvre said. “I think that’s something we had trouble with last season. I think there was a little bit of selfishness last season and discontent with our coach. It was hard having to adapt to a younger coach after Chris Komer.”

However, Lefebvre doesn’t see that problem arising because of Bagwell’s youth, and so far, the neophyte coach hasn’t experienced any problems, either.

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