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TCU volleyball faces a change in leadership

TCU volleyball faces a change in leadership

The TCU women’s volleyball team was already going to venture into unchartered territory this spring with an inaugural sand volleyball season.

Now they must transition without the coach who has been the face of the program for the past 13 years.

TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte announced Monday that Prentice Lewis will not return as head volleyball coach.

“We very much appreciate the contributions Prentice made to TCU and our volleyball program over the last 13 years,” Del Conte said. “However, we have not reached the level of success that we expect, and it’s time for a change in the leadership of our volleyball program.”

The Frogs finished this season with an overall record of 17-15 and 6-10 in Big 12 play.

In 13 seasons at TCU, Lewis was 245-176 with one NCAA Tournament appearance. Lewis registered six 20-win seasons in her time at TCU.

However, in spite of the 200+ wins and the 20-win seasons, Lewis had zero conference championships and a lone postseason appearance during her tenure.

TCU sports broadcaster Chuck Lamendola pointed out Lewis’ lack of tangible evidence when it comes to championships.

“If you look at Gary (Patterson) or Jim (Schlossnagle), the success they had in the Mountain West, I think that buys you time,” Lamendola said. “So when people say that they’ve won in another league so it’s only a matter of time, well Prentice didn’t have that kind of success.”

While Lewis doesn’t have any evidence to point to in regards to championships, she was great at getting the most out of her players individually.

In Lewis’ time at TCU, she coached 14 all-conference performers and had seven players honored by the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association).

Senior sports broadcasting major Logan Mittie has broadcasted TCU volleyball games for the last three years. She said Lewis knew exactly how hard to push her players.

“I felt like she had a great handle on knowing when to be hard on her players and when to ease up a little bit,” Mittie said. “Any good coach knows how to balance the two, and she did.”

Lewis transitioned the program into three different leagues starting with Conference USA, before heading to the Mountain West. Then, after six years in the Mountain West it was time to pack up and move again.

“We have moved leagues two times in 10 years and started at the bottom in each league, but moved up to the top three within three years,” Lewis told TCU Magazine.

Now, instead of Lewis transitioning conferences, she must transition to her next job.

Lamendola said he’s sad to see Lewis go.

“You have to feel sad when you see a colleague leave and especially now because it wasn’t her choice,” Lamendola said. “The prevailing opinion in the athletic department is that she’s such a good person and so is everyone on her staff, so everyone is sad about this.”

Lewis isn’t the only one being replaced on the staff. Associate head coaches Jason Tanaka and Lauren Otto will also not return, according to Abigail Norman, assistant director of media relations.

A national search is underway for a new head volleyball coach. They will oversee the sand volleyball program as well.

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