Tevani Liotard had 2009 in mind when she accepted Sierra High’s head volleyball coaching position back when the school opened in 1994.
Sierra’s first and only varsity head coach, is stepping down after 15 varsity seasons at the helm. With her youngest daughter, Jaslynn, graduating next spring, Liotard had planned all along to also make this her final year.
Her eldest child, Mahlynn, graduated last spring, and the siblings will try out for Modesto Junior College’s volleyball team next year.
“I told (then Sierra athletic director) Vern Gebhardt that in 16 years when Jaslynn graduates I’ll be graduating with her,” Liotard said. “I said that if my daughters are going to play at the next level that I want to be a part of it.”
Liotard coached her final match Tuesday, when Sierra was eliminated in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs by Del Oro in Loomis.
Liotard taught physical education at Sierra and is in her second year as the district’s elementary school P.E. coordinator. She will continue her involvement with the Manteca Unified Student Trust middle school athletic league and Interact.
Among her greatest achievements was earning the Sac-Joaquin Section Model Coach Award for the 2005-06 school year.
Two of her former players are now coaches. Eryn Bowers is the varsity head coach at East Union, and Trinity Johnson coaches Sierra’s sophomore team under Liotard.
“To lose someone with the experience, skill and knowledge that she has leaves a big hole on our staff,” current Sierra athletic director Greg Leland said. “It’s going to be very hard to replace somebody like Tevani. Those kinds of people aren’t just walking around on the streets.”
Liotard compiled a 142-158 career record, but her program has been a consistent force in the Valley Oak League in recent years. Sierra qualified for seven section playoff appearances under Liotard — the first coming in just its third year of varsity play, and the rest in succession starting in 2004.
The Timberwolves’ best season was in 2007, when they went 11-3 and finished second in the VOL and 16-4 overall.
What makes Liotard’s coaching achievements impressive is that she encourages her athletes to play multiple sports in an age of specialization.
Many of the top volleyball programs around are stacked with players that stick with the sport year-round.
The 1983 Manteca High graduate played volleyball, basketball, softball, badminton and track during her prep years. She went on to play volleyball and basketball at Delta for two years before accepting a scholarship to play volleyball at Sacramento State, where she was an All-American selection in 1988.
“It’s a joy to sit there at the end of the season and notice the improvements the team made from the beginning of the season,” Liotard said. “The girls I have are good athletes and are able to hang with the teams that have players who pay lots of money to play competitive, year-round volleyball.
“In today’s athletics you need to do that to be competitive in high school, but as an athlete myself I enjoyed playing multiple sports in high school and in college.”
Liotard said that her she will miss her daily interaction with the athletes the most.
“There are so many memories of all the different athletes I’ve coached,” Liotard said. “There were so many ups and downs, but it was great being a part of the athletes’ lives and seeing them grow.
“As a coach, you have an extended family for four months. It’s a lot of the little things I’ll miss.”
To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (209) 249-3538.