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PIRATES NET TIGER

Former RC coach now heads MJC program

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PIRATES NET TIGER

RC’s former volleyball coach Tiger Shelton has stepped down and accepted the job to coach at Modesto JC this 2013-14 season. He held his first official practice as head coach on Thursday evening a...

JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS/The Bulletin


POSTED August 16, 2013 1:33 a.m.



MODESTO – Tiger Shelton rebuilt a volleyball dynasty during his nine years at Ripon Christian.

The school’s former head coach led the Knights to five straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles (2007-11) and a runner-up finish in the 2012 D-IV championship.

Shelton is leaving the RC program in good hands with his wife Michele, who has co-coached alongside him the last four years.

Tiger has moved on to Modesto JC now, replacing former Sierra coach Tevani Liotard at the helm of the Pirates’ program. His hiring was made official on Thursday, when he held the Pirates’ first practice of the season. He inherits a squad that went 1-13 in Big 8 conference play last season.

“Turning that around is obviously a challenge to me and I’d like to see if I could pull that off,” said Shelton, whose coached volleyball for the past 33 years. “I think it was a good time for me to leave because I wasn’t leaving the cupboard bare, so to speak.”

The cupboard is looking pretty full at Ripon Christian, which will be taking aim at a sixth section title in the last seven years. The Knights are returning University of Pacific commit senior Andie Shelton, one of the top ranked setters at the high school level nationwide.

They’re also returning an athletic senior outside hitter in Teagan Manus.

“They’ll still be a legitimate team in the Southern League,” Shelton said. “It was extremely hard (leaving), especially because my daughter is a senior and I’m going to miss a lot of her games this year.

“We achieved a lot at Ripon Christian with a lot of good people and a lot of support.”

The Pirates’ athletic department took notice and approached Shelton with an offer.

It wasn’t about the money, either.

“Coaching volleyball has never ever been about the money,” he said. “I can tell you right now picking jobs has never been about money, it’s always been about the job. I remember the first time I got a check it felt terrible. It still feels weird, I just love working with the kids.

“Our whole idea is to build a winning program and put people in the seats. We want to make it fun and bring people back to the school and for other teams to come support us -- and we’ll support them.”

Shelton didn’t get a chance to recruit because of how late in the summer he was offered the job. He did get to steal a few players, on a short notice.

Tiger picked up former Ripon Christian standout Kristi Van Diver, a 2013 graduate an incoming freshman at MJC. According to Shelton, Van Diver was headed to MJC to play tennis only, but he convinced her to play volleyball for him this fall.

He also picked up Sierrah Miller, a 2013 Pitman Turlock graduate who also played at the club level for him and his wife Michele.

Miller was on her way to play at Chico State University, but something happened academically with her credits that forced Miller to opt for MJC and compete at the JUCO level.

Shelton also picked up former Ripon High standout, 6-foot, 1-inch Siera Daggett.

“Siera did not play for Ripon her senior year, for whatever reason,” Shelton explained. “But I saw her in Jake’s (Coffee, Tea & Sandwiches) in Ripon, and she’s a 6-foot girl.”

Shelton already has a few pieces put in place and plans to recruit year-round for the Pirates’ benefit.

That’s the first step to building a program.

“I didn’t get a chance to recruit, not the way I would have liked to,” Tiger concluded. “This year I’m going to try and make it to more high school games in the area and see who is around. I didn’t get to do any of that. Whenever you’re a new coach coming in it’s never easy and not to have anything is tough.

“It’s good for my family because it gives us an opportunity to switch gears and move in a new direction volleyball-wise.”

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