After a year as interim coach, Raelene Juarez has been named head women´s volleyball coach at Columbia College. Joining her will be first year assistant coach Loraine Neves, a Claim Jumper volleyball alumnus herself.
Juarez is a native of Madera and a graduate of Madera High School where she played volleyball. Her involvement in the game continued when she attended Fresno City College.
She earned both a bachelor´s degree in 1996 and master´s degree in 1998 in physical education from Chico State. While attending the university there, she did not participate in volleyball but her extracurricular activities included coaching club volleyball for girls 10 to 18 years of age. In addition, she spent a considerable amount of time as a volleyball referee at the high school and junior college levels, and was an assistant volleyball coach at Butte College for a year.
Following a brief period in Virginia, Juarez returned to California and the Madera area to teach math and work as a technology resource specialist at Chowchilla High School before accepting the interim position last year at Columbia College.
“We are looking forward to a very competitive volleyball season and are working on building a strong offensive team,” said Juarez. “My goal is not only to develop a reputable junior college program but I am also personally trying to promote volleyball in our community, for example, by creating stronger ties with high school and elementary school coaches and players.”
She´s already made some headway there. Juarez taught evening volleyball classes during the spring and summer sessions for people in the community who love the sport, but work all day. Unfortunately, these classes will not be offered in the fall due to the volleyball season. Juarez also helped establish the Central Sierra Volleyball Club, which is open to junior high and high school girls. There are currently three 16-and-under teams in the league. Tryouts will start on Nov. 23, and more information can be obtained by contacting Juarez at 588-5183.
The season opener for the lady Claim Jumpers will be the Pacific Union College Tournament in Angwin on Monday, September 2. Their first home game will be against Porterville College on Thursday, September 26 at 5 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion.