Kim Davis is familiar with challenges. The veteran volleyball coach has taken the helm of the struggling Riverton Lady Wolverines in a late contract with the program.
Davis comes to Riverton after an illustrious career, first as an outstanding high school player for the Merino Rams in Colorado, then two years of JUCO volleyball at NJC in Sterling, Colorado before entering the coaching ranks.
The bulk of her career was at Wheatland High School where she coached four state Lady Bulldog volleyball state championships, and appeared in three more state finals. At Wheatland, she experienced a similar challenge to what she faces in Riverton, competing as the smallest school in the classification.
“I think to be the smaller school is a challenge. I’ve had that experience before. I definitely have my work cut out for me. I have to get into the younger kids and work on developing them early,” Davis said. “I know the program needs some work here to get it where I want it to be. I’m not here to coach if I’m not going to be successful.”
Being hired late in the year, just before school was out for the summer presented even more challenges.
“I’ve been trying to contact kids and getting this organized this summer,” Davis said. “I’ve got good kids to work with.”
Playing in Class 4-A, Riverton routinely faces teams with setters and liberos taller than the Lady Wolverine front line.
“One of our key things is ball control, whether we run a 5-1 or 6-2,” Davis said. “Hopefully defensively we can keep putting the ball back over.”
She doesn’t know a lot about the team, but has done a little research.
“I watched the girls on tape a little bit from last year,” Davis said. “I have some homework to do. I’m looking forward to it.”
Working with younger players in recreation level leagues and in the middle school will be a point of emphasis.
“It’s something that’s important. I’ll run camps, but so I was hired so late in the season, it’s hard to get them going this year. There is still summer league. Next year I’ll hit the ground running,” she said. “I want kids in the junior high level able to transition, that’s crucial.”
Starting from scratch has its benefits to a new coach. “It’s nice not knowing anybody’s name,” Davis said.
The age of a player doesn’t matter to Davis.
“I will start a freshman, I don’t have a problem with it. Winning is the utmost importance for varsity level, JV is still developing and preparing them for the varsity level. Freshman is still experimenting ,” she said.
The numbers are down in the Riverton program, something she hopes to improve as well.
Played at NJC – at Sterling – 2 years JUCO
Moved to Wheatland – I learned a ton the first few years, then developed a great program 4 state titles, 3 runner-ups
Aside from her dozen years in Wheatland, she was also an assistant coach for the Division II Chadron State College Lady Eagles, and coached freshman and junior varsity teams at Chadron High School.
Her coaching resume also has time spent at the junior high level and coaching the varsity for the tiny Hay Springs High School Hawks in the Nebraska Panhandle.
“I had to be very creative just to adjust to the numbers at Hay Springs, Davis said.
She moved to Riverton with her husband Dr. Devin Davis, a 1984 RHS graduate and optometrist at Riverton Vision Center.