Herron hits 300 wins

Eric Smith

The season before Lady Blues head volleyball coach Chris Herron came to Washburn, the team went 12-22. In his first season with WU, in 2002, he led the team to a 29-5 record. And the Lady Blues and Herron haven’t looked back since.

Herron picked up his 300th career win as a college coach last Saturday morning at the Rockhurst Fall Classic in Kansas City, Mo., an achievement that says a lot about the seven-plus years he has put in at Washburn.

The coach, who is very dedicated in his work, said he didn’t even know it was approaching and said he is always focusing on just the things he can control.

“I’m so wrapped up and focusing on who I play next, that I don’t have any idea of what’s happened,” said Herron, who is 226-44 in his career at Washburn. “Because there’s nothing I can do about what’s happened before. I just worry about what’s in the future. So that’s just kind of how I prep myself and my team.

“Basically what 300 means is that I’ve recruited well. I mean that’s just really what it amounts to. Because I got good players, and I’ve had good players. And I’m lucky enough that we’ve been successful. So that’s just what that means.”

Senior setter Kate Hampson has gone 107-19 in her four years playing under Herron and she understands how big 300 wins are.

“That just shows that he’s a really good coach and he knows what he’s talking about especially if you look at the record books and you look back before he was here and Washburn wasn’t very good,” she said. “So that says a lot about him.”

Herron, now 301-73 for his college coaching career, changed the Washburn volleyball program from a team with a career win percentage of .389 to one of .829. Before he came to Topeka, the team had only three winning seasons in the 15 years prior to 2002. Some highlights that he’s been a part of include leading the Lady Blues to five-straight NCAA tournaments, its first two conference titles and earning himself three MIAA coach of the year awards. And he said he wants to keep doing the job he loves as long as he can.

“I don’t want to think about when it’s over with,” said Herron. “I’m enjoying so much what I do. And I’m very lucky and very fortunate to be able to do what I like to do. There’s a lot of people that don’t have that opportunity. And so I’m grateful everyday that I get to come do this.”

The No. 6 Lady Blues, 12-0 and one of only two teams still undefeated in the MIAA, are back in action at 7 tonight on the road for their first conference game of the season at Northwest Missouri (7-5) in Maryville, Mo., as Herron goes for win number 302.

“They’re 7-5 right now,” he said. “They have a Division I transfer at the setter position that they didn’t have last year. And other than that, they have everyone back so they’re going to be much better this year than they were last year. Last year we went up there and handled them pretty easily. But we played them in the spring and they were a different load than they were last fall. So we’ll have our work cut out for us. Plus first conference match is on the road. And they always have a big ‘ol crowd when we play up there for some reason.”

Washburn volleyball fans have their first chance to see the Lady Blues in action 7 p.m. Friday in Lee Arena when they play their first home game of the year versus MIAA foe No. 19 Truman State (9-3).