Prentice Lewis, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, will be resigning in order to spend more time with her family, effective Feb. 28.
For members of the University of Dallas volleyball team, this is nothing new. Lewis was the third head coach in the team’s last four seasons, so members of the team have gotten used to the unpredictability.
“Right now that’s the most unstable position,” Athletic Director Dick Strockbine said.
According to Strockbine, Dr. Bob Howard was with the program for several seasons, including three as head coach. Since he left after the 2012 season, it’s been a revolving door of coaches coming in and out.
“[Howard] left, and then we hired Amy Byfield, and she quit at the end of the season,” Strockbine said. “Emily [Holombek] was here for two seasons and she thought she had reached a point of her life where she wanted to do something other than coaching.”
Holombek coached at UD for the 2014 and 2015 seasons before resigning, and then the university hired Lewis. Lewis was an interesting hire, since before coming to UD she held only Division I coaching positions, including head coach at Texas Christian University 2002-2013. After coaching and teaching at Midlothian High School, she came to UD this past season, hoping she could balance college coaching and family life.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.
“My family comes first, and I need to be able to spend time with my 5-year-old,” Lewis said. “It’s always tough to leave a job, and that’s what’s hard about coaching … you never know when another opportunity is going to come up that’s going to be a better fit for you and a better fit for your family, and for me, family comes first.”
She says that the time commitment of coaching at the Division III level was not a surprise to her, though it wasn’t quite as extensive as it was at Division I.
“In Division I, you’re gone every weekend [recruiting],” she said, adding that because of the connections she’s made throughout her coaching career she was able to do a lot of recruiting at home by watching videos of girls.
Strockbine doesn’t worry about how the revolving door of volleyball coaches will impact recruiting.
“If [the student-athletes] have chosen the University of Dallas for the right reasons, then it shouldn’t have an impact,” Strockbine said. “If they’ve chosen the University of Dallas because they wanted to play for Coach Lewis, then that’s probably not the right reason.”
Strockbine doesn’t believe there’s a central factor as to why the school has had trouble retaining volleyball coaches. He said that every coach at the time of hire indicated that they wanted to be at UD long-term.
“It’s unfortunate for the kids because that’s not how you make a program move forward,” Strockbine said.
Strockbine was surprised to learn of Lewis’ resignation. He said that she told him Tuesday, Feb. 14, and that the school made an official announcement the following day.
Lewis will be taking a position at Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas, but still feels like the UD volleyball program is in good shape.
“I really enjoyed the athletes I had this past season,” Lewis said. “I know we’ve improved a ton and I feel like I’ve put these athletes in a very good position for the future. I wish UD volleyball the best of luck, and I know they’re going to have a good season next year.”
Strockbine says his target date for hiring a new coach is April 1.