The Illinois high school boys volleyball season tips off in a few days with tryouts scheduled to begin March 8. Already, several new faces are dotting the volleyball landscape as several veterans depart for family and other reasons.
In the far south suburbs, Kris Fiore succeeds Dawn Murphy at Lincoln-Way East. Murphy stepped down after 17 years to spend more time with her three children and fulfill her obligations as a member of the Manhattan school board.
Fiore is a Lincoln-Way East graduate and former all-conference volleyball player. Fiore's three assistant coaches are also East graduates.
"I am proud to leave such a strong program in the hands of these former players," Murphy said.
Also stepping down after a long run as boys coach is Dennis McNamara at Oak Lawn. McNamara, too, will be succeeded by a former player in Brad Skendzel, who most recently starred at NAIA powerhouse Lindenwood (Mo.) University.
Perennial south side powerhouse St. Rita will have a new coach as Kathleen Mixan takes over for Jill Nagel. Mixan also coaches at Mother McAuley and will bring some of that tough vaunted Mighty Mac defense and passing with her to the home of the Mustangs.
Finally, Roger Strausberger, who took Naperville North to the 2006 finals where the Huskies were upset by Maine South, yielded the reigns of the very successful DuPage Valley power to Nate Bornancin.
But Strausberger's exit was a little more complicated. Last spring, he accepted an administrative position at rival Naperville Central High School, where he served as an assistant to the girls program this fall.