The Alta Loma volleyball program has a familiar figure in sole charge as Cindy Gurney has been appointed the Braves head coach.
Gurney had helped Tishanna Pope with coaching duties the last several years but Pope has stepped aside to spend time with her husband and infant daughter.
Gurney headed the program from 1982 to 2006. She came back in 2009 to assist Pope and took the time off in between to support her daughter who was then playing at Cal Poly Pomona.
Gurney taking over was a no-brainer, although the school had to go the regular route of flying the position to any other in-house candidates.
The Braves graduated eight players from a team that won league and CIF Southern Section titles and finished as state runner-up.
Gurney expects her returning players to be able to defend the league title since its underclassmen teams both won league titles.
“After that I don’t know far we’ll go,” she said. “It depends on your draw and whether you have injuries and you have to see home much your young players improve.”
Gurney added that Caitlin Hall, another assistant on the staff will remain and help her. Two other coaches who handled the underclassmen teams have left.
Gurney, who was Pope’s coach when she played at Alta Loma, also teaches math at the school.”
“We had to go through the proper channels but she was obviously the person for the job,” athletic director Brett Proctor said. “No one knows more about this program or cares more than she does.”
Alta Loma High School volleyball coach Tishanna Pope has resigned, citing family.
Pope has directed the Braves volleyball program the last eight years and boasts a career record of 148-119 in that span.
The past season was the best in school history as the Braves went 36-3, cruised to a Mt. Baldy League title, won the Southern Section title (Division 4AA) and advanced to the state championship match before falling to Sonora in a five-set thriller.
It was the deepest run for any team in Chaffey Joint Unified School District history.
She was the Daily Bulletin’s Coach of the Year and the CIF nominee for Coach of the Year in volleyball.
Pope and husband Dubin had their first child in September, a daughter named Naomi.
“I can’t say it was a tough decision but it wasn’t necessarily either,” she said. “Volleyball has been part of my life for so long. But this seemed like the right time.”
Pope, a 1998 graduate of Alta Loma, also teaches math at the school and will remain in that role.
The job will have to be flown inside the school district first. The logical successor would be Cindy Gurney, who coached the team with Pope last year and headed the program from 1982 until Pope took over in 2006.
She returned to be by Pope’s side in 2011.
Pope also coaches club ball with Pacific Juniors but hasn’t decided if she’ll continue in that capacity.
Alta Loma volleyball Tishanna Pope is among the 2014 Southern Section Fall Coaches of the Year honored by the California Coaches’ Association.
These winners will be submitted to the state as finalists for the California Coaches’ Association State Coaches of the Year announced in June of 2015.
Pope, a graduate of Alta Loma, has been at the school since 2003, the last nine years as the head coach. As the head coach, her teams have gone 148-119.
The Braves are coming off the best season in school history, having gone 36-3, winning the Southern Section title and advancing all the way to the Southern California finals in Division 4.
Pope already earned CIF-SS honors as Coach of Year in Division 4AA
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