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Former Sierra standout is new volleyball coach for Lathrop
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First-year Lathrop High varsity volleyball coach Heather Anderson gets her players organized before a drill on Thursday. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

LATHROP — Few people get to live their dream, but everything comes at a price.

Heather Anderson — known to many in the area as Heather Scharmann, the 2009 All-Around Senior Female Athlete at Sierra High — at 25 years old is assuming a role some many years her senior have found to be daunting.

She’s the new head volleyball coach for Lathrop High.

It will not be easy. Anderson becomes the Spartans’ third varsity coach in the last four years, and in the last five the Spartans have won just five Valley Oak League games.

“I just hope to make a difference for these girls at Lathrop High School like so many coaches did for me,” Anderson said. “The girls I coach at LHS have so much heart; they deserve a coach who is dedicated to their success. I am excited to change the culture of our program and create an interscholastic experience that is as memorable for these girls as mine was for me.”

Anderson lettered in basketball, volleyball and softball for Sierra and the opportunity to turn things around for the Spartans represents a long-term dream coming true.

“I always wanted to be a head coach,” Anderson said. “As a seventh grader I had very vivid thoughts of me being a teacher and a coach. I didn’t think I would be a head coach at 25 – I definitely didn’t think it would be that quick – and I didn’t think it would be volleyball.

“But I am really excited. It was more than I was ready to take on but the timing was right and I just had to do it.”

A 2013 graduate of Fresno State, this is Anderson’s second year at Lathrop. She coached the sophomore squad last season after two years at a junior high in Las Vegas.

Anderson credits coaching she received in her formative years as helping give her the passion for athletics she has.

“One of the reasons I was so invested in my sports is the fact that I had great coaches,” Anderson said. “From Ed Fang and Christina Jones at Nile Garden who coached me in basketball to coach (Nick) Hobby at Sierra, who pushed me physically beyond what I thought I could ever do in basketball. And, of course, Nick Olmo at Sierra in softball.

“I have had so many great coaches, to include my brother Brian in ASA softball. I think I have learned from some of the best coaches in town.”

Anderson was on the All-City Softball team coached by her brother Brian that won the Little League Northern California championship and went on to travel to Tuscon, Ariz., and Missoula, Mo.

Anderson even tried track and field in junior high, but things did not work out.

“I tried track for a year in seventh grade,” Anderson said. “But I never found a way to understand a sport that in my mind was running without a purpose or a ball to chase.”

Anderson proved the naysayers wrong when she received an athletic scholarship offer as well as academic. She was repeatedly told throughout high school that she would need to focus on one sport if she hoped to gain an athletic scholarship. She attended Fresno State on an academic scholarship.

“I just could not eliminate any of these three games from my life, even knowing that this could mean a sooner end to my athletic career,” Anderson said. “Sports made high school the most memorable experience possible for me.”

Softball was Anderson’s passion, although her diamond career began playing with the boys in organized softball was not available at the time. However, once the Scharmann family got a hold of things, that all changed.

With reference to her All-City softball years, Anderson said, “Those summers were some of the greatest of my life growing up. My family was incredibly supportive during this time, with my mom serving as the league president, my dad as a volunteer umpire, both brothers as volunteer coaches and multiple aunts, uncles, and cousins coaching as well during this time.

“Softball was family and family was softball.”

Anderson recently married her high-school sweetheart Josh Anderson, a sixth-grade teacher at Great Valley School.

“I am a very plan-oriented person,” Heather Anderson said. “Where you can’t plan everything out, I feel like the pieces are starting to come together.

“Josh and I were together eight years and we waited until we graduated and until we got jobs. The timing feels really good.”

Her husband is a sixth-grade teacher at Great Valley School in Weston Ranch.