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Evans begins at new volleyball coach at Incarnate Word Academy

Volleyball coach Jean Evans looks to be busier this fall.

The Westminster Christian Academy boys volleyball coach also will coach Incarnate Word Academy’s girls volleyball team.

“I heard that IWA was looking for a coach, so I asked my friend, Lisa Orlet, about the position,” Evans  said. “Lisa coached there years ago and is now at McKendree (University).  She put me in touch with the AD — Chris Jaco.”

Evans, a Westminster alumni. She has led the boys team to the state championship. She will keep that job.

“Absolutely. I’m staying at Westminster with the boys’ program,” Evans said. “I love it there.”

Jaco is happy to have her coach the Red Knights. He said she was a good choice for the program.

“I liked how Jean was all about team in her interview,” Jaco said. “She was very eager to learn our values and traditions here at IWA. We had some great candidates for the position, but after all the interviews we kept talking about coach Evans.

“I think Jean will fit in great here at IWA. I think she will be here for awhile. She’s excited and so are we here at IWA.”

Incarnate Word has had three coaches in the last three seasons. The Red Knights went 7-26 last fall.

The program has been solid in the past, however. Evans remembers.

“I played with a lot of IWA grads in my 20’s, and they were all winners,.” Evans said.  “I love the tradition, the high expectations, and the commitment to excellence in the program.  IWA has more state championships than any other team in St. Louis, and there’s only one team in the state that has more (Hermann).  Incarnate Word has always been known for having hard-working athletes, who fight for every point. Those are the kind of kids I love to coach.”

Evans played in college volleyball at Missouri-St. Louis. In addition to coaching the Westminster boys, Evans has coached several club teams, including in the USA Volleyball High Performance developmental program.

Evans believes the program can win again and do it sooner than might be expected.

“The program is in great shape with a lot of talent,” Evans said. ” The varsity did not win many games last year, but they have tons of talent returning.  The players are committed, the families are committed, and the administration is committed.  The JV program did very well last year, and both the JV and freshmen coaches are returning.  We have work to do, but we have a good foundation.”

Courtney Hendrickson again will be Incarnate Word’s JV coach. Lucas Allen will remain as the freshmen coach.

Evans has added Christian Wagan as her assistant coach. Wagan went to Parkway South alum and played for High Performance, an elite area club team.

The plans and hopes for Incarnate Word are big.

“Our goal is to be one of the top programs in the state, year-over-year,” Evans said. “Of course we want to win more state championships, but it’s about building the program back to where it once was. Every time we walk into a gym we are going to compete as a team.

“I want to see the stands filled for all of our games, and opponents to look forward to playing against us. For the athletes, it’s about helping them to be the very best that they can be.  Developing kids, bringing out their individual greatness, that is what drives me.”

Evans is looking forward to the season. The Red Knights begin play Tuesday (Aug. 26) with a home match against Parkway South.

“I cannot express how excited I am about this job,” Evans said. “I cannot wait to get into the gym with the girls this summer.  It will be a challenge, of course.  Like all athletes and coaches, I love a challenge.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to be a part of the IWA family.”

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