Townsell named head volleyball coach at DHS |

Townsell named head volleyball coach at DHS

by Joey Crandall

In the past nine seasons, the Douglas High School volleyball team has appeared in seven regional title matches. The Tigers have won six of the seven Sierra League titles since the league was created in 2000.

The program has churned out a number of Division I athletes and have stocked college rosters across the country at all levels.

A good many of the athletes that have come through the blisteringly successful program had already been under the tutelage of Douglas grad Suzie Townsell.

It’s a fair bet now that a good many more will make that same claim.

Townsell was named the head volleyball coach at Douglas last week after two stints as an assistant on the varsity level and several tenures as the junior varsity coach.

She has also coached at Carson Valley Middle School since 1998 and plans to make at least a four or five year committment to the high school program.

“I just wanted to talk with (Douglas athletic director) Jeff Evans and (Douglas vice principal) Dave Pyle about what they were planning on doing to re-establish a complete volleyball program at the school,” Townsell said. “Before long, I was getting interviewed for the job. It kind of evolved from there.

“My vision is simply to make it a full program so that we make sure what’s happening at the varsity level is the same thing that’s happening at the freshman level. I just want the girls to know every year what kind of system they are playing in and what to expect.”

With all the success, the program has indeed lacked any type of continuity for the last decade.

Townsell becomes the Tigers’ ninth head coach in the last nine years. Current Damonte Ranch coach, Velvet Steel, coached for a year and a half before resigning in the middle of the 2005 season. She led the Mustangs to the regional and state titles last season.

“That was certainly a big attraction for us, that she was willing to give this four or five years,” Douglas athletic director Jeff Evans said. “She’s a known quality coach. She has tremendous enthusiasm for the game and she knows this community very, very well.”

Townsell played three seasons on the Douglas varsity squad, as well as two varsity golf seasons, and tried to walk on at the University of Nevada but was too short to make the cut.

“I think if they would have had the libero position back then, I might have had a shot,” Townsell said with a laugh.

She took to playing beach volleyball instead and got into coaching after she and her husband JoJo (a former wide receiver for the New York Jets) moved back into Carson Valley in 1996.

In total she’s helped coach two state championship teams at Douglas and as the Tigers’ junior varsity coach last season she coached a young squad to a 24-3 record overall and 16-1 record in Sierra League play.

This spring, she has been coaching a team made up of 14 CVMS and Pau-Wa-Lu students for the Capital City Volleyball Club.

“I coached on the club circuit before in 1999 and 2000 with Emily Haas’ class basically just to get the girls to keep up their skills during the offseason. I have all local girls this spring, which has been a lot of fun.

She said she plans on conducting open gym sessions and weight training workouts starting in July, if not earlier.

“This Valley has lots and lots of talent, it always has in volleyball. I’m looking forward to it and I hope the girls that come in are looking forward to it.”

— Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.