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Myers, Townsell to coach Tigers

by Chuck Smock

Dave Myers and Suzi Townsell have big plans for the Douglas volleyball program.

Myers, who has been named the new varsity head coach, and Townsell, who will coach the junior varsity team, are already thinking of ways to continue the success the Tigers enjoyed last fall when they won the Nevada state championship.

“We’re going to work harder on technique and the finer points of the game,” said Myers, who takes over a team that followed a second-place finish at the state tournament two years ago with its first title in 15 years. “The team will continue to feature defense and some explosiveness on offense. I think we have the personnel to do that.

“One of the team goals is to repeat as state champions. We also hope to unify the program by improving communication among the three teams and getting more program-wide participation and cooperation than there has been.”

Myers was a DHS varsity assistant coach for two years before agreeing to coach the Douglas freshman volleyball team last year in its inaugural season. His wife, Karen, will assist him.

Townsell assisted junior varsity head coach Karen Green during the past three seasons.

“Suzi has good experience at the junior varsity level and in the program,” Myers said. “We’ve both been involved in the program for a few years, so I don’t think there’s a big change.

“We do have different coaching styles than our predecessors. There will be some changes, but that happens with any coaching change. We have a familiarity with the girls. We feel it should be a fairly smooth transition.”

Myers is a sales manager for Perm-Cal Industries. He moved to Douglas County 3 1/2 years ago with his wife and son, Hunter, 4, when Perm-Cal relocated to the Valley from Southern California.

Myers played water polo and swam competitively at Pepperdine University. He was a member of the U.S. National water polo team for five years.

He taught and coached water polo, swimming and boys’ volleyball at California’s San Ramon Valley High School, near the Bay area, from 1981 to 1985.

“Our goals include winning a state championship, but they also include other aspects, like teamwork, academics and having fun,” Myers said. “I want the program to be successful and fun for the girls.”

Townsell’s ties to the DHS volleyball program go back more than two decades.

She played volleyball and golf at Douglas before graduating in 1983.

Her mom, Josie Graham, was the DHS coach and her sister, Coco Graham, was a player when Douglas won its second state volleyball championship in the fall of 1983.

Josie Graham was Suzie Batcher’s high school PE teacher and volleyball coach. Batcher, with Townsell’s older sister, Patti (Graham) Speer, as a player, coached the Tigers to their first state volleyball championship in 1977.

Batcher also was Townsell’s high school PE teacher and coach.

The fact that Townsell and Batcher share the same first name – albeit with a slight variation in spelling – is no coincidence.

“My mom loved the name ‘Suzi’ and she had a ‘Suzie’ to name me after,” Townsell said.

After high school, Townsell went on to college Cal State Fullerton, where she played a lot of beach volleyball and graduated bachelor of science degree in child development in 1990.

She said the decision to become a coach was an easy one.

“I just felt I had some good stuff to offer,” Townsell said. “I learned a lot from Suzie.”

And she’s looking forward to helping Myers build a program that can compete with the best teams in the state, year in and year out.

“There’s a lot of talent in the group that’s coming up from the two middle schools, and from the freshman team that did so well last year,” Townsell said. “I really want to challenge them. I want them to learn to work hard and learn the team aspect of the game.”

Townsell currently works as a substitute teacher at the elementary- and middle-school level.

She and her husband, JoJo, have two daughters, Mysta, 7, and Mia, 5.

Douglas administrators are still looking for a head coach for the freshman team to replace Myers.