By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
In the 20-plus years of coaching, Belton coach Stacy Meyers has given her life to educating young people, especially female athletes.
Not only has she touched the lives of athletes on the volleyball courts, she has touched their lives off the court in teaching, character, life-skills, decision-making and so many other traits.
Meyers quietly announced her retirement from coaching volleyball and assistant coaching girl’s powerlifting at Belton a couple of weeks ago. The coaching search is on and should be finalized within the next month. She will finish the school year before moving to Germany to be with her husband, Jeff.
Meyers went to school in Arizona, played volleyball and ran track at Abilene Christian University, helping ACU to two national championships in track. She also was the program record holder with 12 solo blocks against Oral Roberts in October 1985 and has the ninth-best single season kills mark with 493 in 1984 and is in seventh-place in single season total blocks with 144 in 1985. She is tied for sixth all-time in most kills in a game with 29 against Howard Payne in 1985. She recorded 15 total blocks twice and 14 total blocks twice in 1985, occupying four of the programs top 10 spots for total blocks in a game.
She was Honorable Mention All-Lone Star Conference in 1983 and First Team All-Lone Star Conference in 1984 and 1985. She was ACU’s Most Valuable Player in 1983, 1984 and 1985.
Meyers knew the game on the court and looked to perfect her coaching outside the rectangle.
Shortly after graduating from ACU, she moved back to Arizona. For 11 years, Meyers taught and assistant coached volleyball in Tucson.
“I learned a great deal from being an assistant,” Meyers said. “Then we moved back here and I was an assistant at China Spring for four years. We made three regional tournaments and a state tournament. I had a chance to coach my daughter, which was an amazing experience. It’s awesome when you get to coach your own kids anyway. It’s very special when they are a legitimate Big 12/Division I athlete in two sports. It was a privilege and a great blessing. “
She also was an assistant with now Waco Midway basketball coach Teresa Durham on China Spring’s Class 3 State Championship team in 2005-2006. She went from China Spring to Waco Reicher to coach volleyball, coaching for three years and made the playoffs all three seasons. Durham asked Meyers to be her assistant basketball coach at Copperas Cove and she made the move to Bulldawg Country for a year before the Belton volleyball job came open, after a 5-25 season in 2001. A culture change was direly needed. She accepted the job in the spring of 2012 and went to work.
“Because they were coming off such a discouraging year, there was a lot of ‘losing isn’t that bad’ mentality,” Meyers recollected. “They were used to it…it’s just going to happen…it’s not that big of a deal. The first hill I had to climb was to tell them that ‘no, you deserve to win, just like everyone else.’ If we get beat that is okay, but losing is not okay. We had to change that mindset from ‘we played okay, so all is good.’ No, that’s not enough. You have to do more. It really did take a full year, I think. That first year, I thought we had a really good year. It took until our first district game in 2012 to really start believing that we can make the playoffs and we worked hard enough to make the playoffs. We can’t be settling for losing and that’s what we did for the first round of district that year. Once we got past that hurdle, it got easier.”
The 2012 team set the foundation for Meyers’ 2013 team. It was a team that had solid, senior talent led by libero Kinsey Williams and outside hitter Bri Brown.
“I think the 2013 team really did a great job of building onto what we established in 2012,” Meyers said. “They were very fired up and showed that winning mentality that started to trickle down into the middle schools. Because middle schools saw the excitement and the numbers at our camps have grown exponentially. We have so many kids playing in our middle school volleyball night now and have never played before. I think those first two years, and even our third when we missed the playoffs after being in contention, I think we were winners now. I hope the winning mentality stays alive at the middle school level.”
The 2014 team was a good team. However, it was a team that found itself in a three-way play-in situation and they lost the first game, missing the playoffs. It was a case of unfinished business for the Lady Tigers. It set the 2015 team up for success
“I think there was a couple of big things,” Meyers said. “First, there was the unfinished business. It was the first year of my coaching career that I had not made the playoffs. They knew that they should have made the playoffs. They were disappointed…and they did not want that to happen again. They learned from that. The biggest thing was the seniors that had previously played on the 2014 team…Brey (York), Allison (Waits), Abbey (Morgan)…the maturity of those seniors and the disappointment that they went through their junior season, having gone through that disappointment really helped them to become great leaders in 2015.”
Meyers has always been close to her players, knowing their capabilities on the court and knowing what they are capable of as young women away from the court. Assistant coaches Whitney Landers, Jordan Petter, Tiffney Barnes and Dorothy Payne have been under Meyers’ tutelage over the past four seasons, with Barnes and Payne switching spots over the past season.
“This is the first place that I have been able to comfortably relinquish duties and trust my assistants to get the job done the way I like it,” Meyers said. “I have had good assistants before. But these are proactive people that are always asking me if I need to get this or that done. It gives me time to concentrate on coaching and not worrying about transportation or food or emails about getting out of class early or laundry. They are all things that need to be done. I didn’t have to worry about it and they got it done. They were younger when they started (Jordan and Whitney) and both wanted to learn and do things right and find new things to try. They ask questions and I built an environment to where I want them to ask questions, especially in a game. I may not see everything, so I have really appreciated their inputs.”
In the short-term, Meyers plans on moving to Germany for about a year and a half with her husband. He has been there for about a year and business has grown to where they asked Jeff to stay another year. Stacy and Jeff discussed it and came up with the decision to have her move to Germany.
“We have a great marriage and I am independent, so I could be here by myself,” Meyers said. “But with both of our kids married off now, it’s time for us to enjoy our time. The coaching schedule has been crazy and his schedule has been crazy. I have been blessed because I have not had to work, but I coached because I love it. He’s always had a great job, so that I could really enjoy working with the kids. I just felt it was time to take the next step. For a little while. Coaching in the future may be an option, maybe club so that I don’t have to get back into high school. Sometimes I think when I don’t make plans, God plans things far better than I could ever think.”
With the opening of the volleyball head coach position, Meyers hopes whoever the district chooses to take her place in the head coach’s seat will continue with the teachings of character, work ethic, mental toughness and positive attitude in young women. Very much in the way that Meyers did with her four teams at Belton.
“Character is everything,” Meyers said. “Most of these kids will play four years in high school and that’s it. We have put an emphasis on doing the right thing and high expectations in them. I think that is important in any program in any sport. I continue to learn and evolve.”
There are many coaches that Meyers has coached against in her time coaching. But none has she enjoyed more than against Gatesville’s Rickey Phillips.
“I think the coaches in District 12-6A are doing an amazing job,” Meyers said. “The Killeen coach has done a great job in her two years there and the Ellison coach will be great as well once she transitions into her program. There are a lot coaches that I like coaching against and we have good relationships. But, straight coaching rivalry…Rickey and I have coached against each other in some of the best games of my life. Both when I was an assistant at China Spring in their district and here at Belton. We are friends and we talk about more than volleyball, as I know his kids. It is a healthy rivalry: he does not like to lose to me and I do not like to lose to him. But there is never bitterness before or after a game. He is a good guy and has done a great job at Gatesville. He works hard at getting all he can out of his kids. He always makes it work. He will be one of the ones I will miss the most.”
Two of Meyers’ mentors while she has been here is Belton athletic business director/track coach Denise Petter and athletic secretary Harmony Bramlett.
“The board has been amazingly supportive of our program,” Meyers said. “We changed athletic directors and both Coach Rodney Southern and Coach Bob Shipley have been supportive. I appreciate Brenda (Gomez) for calling me up and asking. I have had good support. One I will miss the most is Denise Petter. She is old school like I am and we think alike. She’s been a good sounding board, considering she has been in Belton for so long and has always had great advice. I have immense respect for her. Harmony Bramlett is the best at what she does of anybody. You can ask any coach in the district. People will not ever not want her to do the job that she does. She is there for the coaches…she has been there for me…I make a mistake and she forgives me. If this piece paper or that, she has been such a big help.”