Laurie Quigley grew up around Greater Spokane League athletics. Such is the fate of the daughter of two longtime coaches.
She’s the offspring of former longtime Lewis and Clark and current Ferris football coach Tom Yearout and former Lewis and Clark and West Valley volleyball coach Julie Yearout.
So it’s safe to say she has coaching in her genes.
Quigley was announced as the new head volleyball coach at Mt. Spokane a couple of weeks ago, before high school sports – and everything else across the country – was shut down.
Quigley, 29, already has built an impressive resume.
She played for her mom – who followed legendary coach Buzzie Welch – at Lewis and Clark, graduating in 2008. Quigley played at Western Washington University and took her first coaching position right out of school at Squalicum in Bellingham.
She guided the Storm for two seasons before landing at Central Valley for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. She has assisted Dave Whitehead the past three seasons at Mt. Spokane, where she has taught English for five years.
Quigley inherits a two-time consecutive State 3A title winner and the head spot from a coach inducted to the state Hall of Fame before he had officially retired.
So no pressure.
“It’s funny because actually I feel really comfortable,” Quigley said on Thursday. “Because I already know all of the girls and our staff, which is very different than the last two places I coached.”
She knows there won’t be much of a grace period taking over one of the top volleyball programs in the state.
“There’s obvious pressure and nerves that go with taking over such a successful place,” she said. “But I think the comfort that I already know a lot about the program is something that makes the transition feel a lot more natural this time than it has before.”
She has leaned on Whitehead, a 2019 inductee into the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, who announced his retirement from coaching in January.
“I’m really thankful for Dave, letting me coach with him for the last three years, and I’m really excited to get started with these guys,” Quigley said.
“He’s been awesome through this whole process and helped me with anything that I have needed,” she said.
“But now we’re all kind of in our separate places, and so it’s weird because I would love to go down the hall and talk to Dave about camps and budgets and all of that.”
Quigley has no shortage of support in her coaching career. If she needs advice, all she has to do is pick up the phone and call her folks.
“They are both incredibly helpful,” she said.
“My mom, obviously with the volleyball side, but my dad is awesome at building programs and all of the – maybe not volleyball specific – but like, ‘Hey, I have this idea for you on parent nights or conditioning stuff.’
“They both give me really great ideas, and I can go to both of them for help, which is, I think, rare.”
But that’s not where the family aspect ends. Mt. Spokane athletic director Paul Kautzman is Quigley’s uncle via his wife, Julie – Tom Yearout’s sister.
Kautzman was excused from the hiring process while Mt. Spokane principal Darren Nelson handled the search.
Quigley’s mom Julie and aunt Julie both played volleyball and basketball for state Hall of Fame coach Linda Sheridan at Shadle Park.
“Laurie’s aunt is beyond ecstatic for her,” Kautzman said on Friday. “Julie went to all of Laurie’s matches in high school and is a devoted and vocal fan.”
Quigley said despite all the experience in the family, she doesn’t worry about any of them coaching over her shoulder in the stands.
“My mom, obviously, knows a lot of volleyball,” she said. “So she’ll be like, ‘Hey, have you thought about, you know, trying this?’ But yeah, it’s been great. They’re not critical.”
With all the accolades for the program the past few years, including back-to-back state players of the year, Quigley is anxious to put her stamp on this team.
Quigley said Whitehead had her and fellow assistant coach Drew Wendle plan practices last fall.
“I think it’ll be pretty seamless transition-wise,” she said. “They already kind of know some drills I like to run or how I like to form practice.”
Whitehead told his assistants before the season he would retire from coaching but didn’t tell the players until after state.
“He didn’t want to tell the girls and make it about him,” Quigley said. “He just was, I think, letting us know so we could start looking ahead. ‘What are we, where are we going?’ So, yes, the girls didn’t (know).”
Seven seniors depart from last season’s undefeated Wildcats squad, including 2018 state player of the year Malina Ama.
“We will definitely miss our seniors a lot,” Quigley said. “They were all key people in their own ways, and they all were all important.”
The cupboard is far from bare. Tia Allen, the 2019 state POY, and fellow all-state picks Taylor Miche and Teila Allen, as well as rising sophomore starter Leilani Ama, will return in the fall for the Wildcats.
“I think the challenge is, how do you figure out the new dynamics and let those underclassmen that got to play against those seniors all year fill some roles? That’s the exciting part, but it’s also the hard part.”