From player to spectator to referee to assistant coach, Brady native Rebecca Stearns has run the gamut when it comes to high school sports. So it was only natural that her passion for the game would eventually lead her to the volleyball head coach position at Brady Public Schools.
“I always played sports,” she shared, “but in a small school, that’s what you do. If everyone doesn’t play, then you don’t have a full team! But I really loved it. Well, maybe not track so much, but I loved to play basketball and volleyball.” That love translated on the court, as well. She humbly refers to herself as ‘a solid player, not a star’, but her commitment to hard work and earning her spot on the team has informed her coaching style even to this day.
Reflecting on her coaching philosophy, Stearns commented, “I want them to enjoy the game, but I also want them to understand that you have to work for what you want. I love to win, don’t get me wrong! But sometimes, the personal wins these girls get are really the most important to me. Even just the small wins or improvements that happen in practice mean the world to the girls.”
That focus on attitude and grit in large part came from years of being coached well, and then serving alongside those same coaches as an adult. It’s a unique situation to be in, and it’s given Rebecca a new appreciation for what a coach is trying to accomplish.
“All of the coaches that I had in high school I’m still friends with now. But they will always be ‘Coach’ to me. Jeralyn Callahan was the head volleyball coach my senior year, Lynn Johnson was the assistant; Bob Fattig was my head coach in basketball and Mrs. Callahan was the assistant there. There’s little things you pick up from each one. Jeralyn and Lynn both have this deep love of the game. I think that’s so contagious from coaches. They help kids develop that passion for the game itself.”
Each one of those coaches has influenced Rebecca in other areas of life as well. As a para-educator at Brady Public Schools, and as a member of a close-knit community, she has been mentored by them not only as an athlete, but as a parent, teacher, peer, and co-worker. “It’s hard to pinpoint just one way where they have helped me. They have influenced so much about how I coach, and also how I live my life. I remember my senior year in basketball, I didn’t have all-time record stats or anything, but I remember Coach Fattig saying, ‘She knows the plays, she knows what she needs to do. I don’t have to worry about sending her in a game, because I know she knows what she’s doing.’ I didn’t have to have to be the player with all the glory, and that was ok,” Rebecca said.
Above all, she tries to honor the wisdom her mentors have passed on to her. Volleyball is a sport she is passionate about and loves playing, to this day. Her goal as a coach is to teach the girls to work hard, support each other, and try to get better every day.
“Sports just teaches you so much about life. I like to see kids grow in the game and find what it is that they enjoy. When you find that groove, it just helps you grow, both as a person and as a player.”
Coach Stearns continues the coaching legacy passed on to her, and will greatly impact the next generation of Brady athletes with her passion, dedication, and leadership.