By Dr. Jerome Stewart | SPECIAL to KBEC Sports
Jim Wood began his high school volleyball coaching career with one personal goal: Record 500 wins. The longstanding Maypearl head coach has always put team successes above his own, of course.
But inside the gymnasium at Tolar High School on Friday, Wood reached the 500-win plateau in thrilling three-set fashion, 21-25, 25-11, 27-25. He now carries a career record of 500-315 following the Lady Panthers’ 8-1 start to the 2020 season.
“I’m speechless,” an emotional Wood said when asked about his feelings after the win.
Wood began his volleyball coaching career at Ingram ISD in 1993 at the sub-varsity level. He then had a few other stops along the way before arriving at Maypearl six seasons prior, accumulating a record of 150-63 over his first five seasons leading the Lady Panthers.
And though wins are important for Wood, he stressed that his goal is always a little higher for his student-athletes.
“In the long run, I just want kids to be successful,” Wood said. “I want them to…learn a life lesson, not just the Xs and Os, so that when they get 10, 15, 20 years down the road, they remember something that I taught them while coaching.”
Wood also noted that his coaching staff at Maypearl has “been tremendous. The administration has been tremendous. The teachers, the community, the kids they just work so hard.”
Sam Riepe, who serves as the head football coach and athletic director at Maypearl ISD, added that, “Maypearl ISD is very lucky to have such a great coach and person on staff.”
Maypearl High principal Eric Janszen echoed Riepe, adding, “coach Wood is a man who provides care and attention beyond the call of duty. His success is due to the inspiration, guidance, and encouragement he provides his athletes and students.”
MISD superintendent noted Wood does an exceptional job to “build relationships and genuinely care for his athletes.”
To that regard, Wood said, “I want the kids to be successful, regardless of the wins and losses, if they’re successful I’m happy. [I want them to be] confident in themselves — not having any self-doubts, not putting yourself down.”
It’s a narrative and lifestyle that Wood preaches and lives daily, too
“Don’t ever tell yourself you cannot do something,” he added as the newest member of the 500-win club.
The Lady Panthers return to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the road against 4A Midlothian Heritage.
To view photos from Friday’s win, visit: https://bit.ly/2DfhjL8