Panthers are volleyball’s finest


Photo provided by Sam Hargett

Sam Hargett showing off his vertical while getting ready to yam the ball to the ground

The Elder Panthers have won the state title!

That is a line that Coach Sean Tierney ‘93 has heard six times as head coach of the varsity volleyball program here at Elder. Recently, the volleyball program has had a lot of success winning the state championship in 2014 and 2016. The volleyball program is one of the most successful athletic programs at Elder.

Being a part of the program, I know Coach Tierney more than most do. I sat down to interview Tierney, and I learned a lot about the fantastic coach and teacher.

I asked him about what led him into coaching. Tierney said, “I have known the game of volleyball for my whole life. As a kid, I was always just an average athlete, but when I started to play volleyball I was one of the better kids in my class.”

I asked him about his introduction to the sport, and he said that his parents played when he was a child. Therefore, he was forced to go to games and practices.

Later, I asked him about what makes a team special and he said, “The difference between a good and great team is not talent. Obviously a team must have talent to even be competitive, but when a team comes together and build chemistry, the team takes off. When we come together as unit, the kids realize that team is more important than individual stats. The most important lessons I can teach as a coach are in a loss.”

His lessons have very clearly been understood proven by his eight first team all-state all-stars in his career. The most recent being last year’s captain and former Quill editor, Wyatt Albers.

Tierney said, “On all of my state championship teams, they were talented, but developed chemistry with each other and had the drive to win.” That is what the ultimate goal is, when playing under Coach Tierney.

Just a junior, I have not actually played under Coach, but I hope to make the team this year. I interviewed returning stud outside hitter, Sam Hargett. Hargett recently committed to Urbana University to continue his volleyball career. The senior was recognized as first-team all GCL last year as a junior. He is looking forward to another successful season this year.

I asked Sam about what makes Coach Tierney so special and he responded,” His will to win is insane. He has taught me determination and perseverance more than anything. If you’re playing poor, then Coach knows that you need to take a quick break and give you a little motivation to go out and play your best.”

Sam has high expectations for both the team and himself this Spring, “My personal goal is to be 1st team all-state, 1st team all-GCL and aim for player of the year.”

In my opinion, there is no question Hargett is talented enough to achieve all these goals. Hargett’s plate will be full this year being a senior leader with the new players and trying to build the chemistry necessary to succeed.

For the team, Sam said,“I would love to get out of our region this year and to hopefully make a state run.” As a potential part of the team, I agree with what he said. There is a serious chance of us making another state run as Coach embarks on his 16th season as head coach.

The hype for this year’s squad is real. Tierney and Hargett both hope that more people come out to support the Panthers this year than they did last year. All the guys who came last year said that it was very entertaining. There should be more of the same for this season and for seasons to come as long as Coach Tierney as at the helm.