Lady Cats Ranked Number Seven Nationally In Latest Prep Volleyball Super 25; Coach Shari Campbell Named An American Volleyball Coaches Association Region 2 Coach Of The Year (Posted 11/19/20)

(Above photo) Coach Shari (holding commemorative volleyball and flowers) and the 2020 Lady Cats celebrating win 400 as Clarion mentor.

In what can only be described as a “Magical Year” for the Clarion Area Lady Cats Volleyball Team, the awards and accolades just keep coming.

The Lady Cats will play in the PIAA State Championship Game on Saturday (November 21st).  They are 23-0 and have been ranked Number 1  in Class-A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association since the preseason, are ranked Number 9 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Region 2 standings (in their latest release on October 29th) and had two players Brenna Campbell and Erica Selfridge named to the AVCA All-Region 2 Team.

(Image by Nate Girvan) It’s always about the team with Coach Campbell – Lady Cats with District Nine Championship Trophy/Plaque

And adding to the list are two more accolades, one a team honor and the other an individual honor. In the latest Prep Super 25 national rankings, the Lady Cats are ranked 7th (up from 18th last week and 25th two weeks ago) and Head Coach Shari Campbell has just received a very fine individual honor, been named an AVCA Region 2 Coach of the Year.

The Lady Cats trail only Lovejoy from Lucas, Texas; Klein, Texas; Perry from Gilbert Arizona, Mount Notre Dame from Cincinnati; Flower Mound, Texas and Lyman from Longwood, Florida (1st through 6th  respectively) in the Super 25 rankings.’s Power 25 National rankings Prep Volleyball is an Elite Group promoting High School Girls Volleyball by  putting on recruiting showcases, highlighting All-Americans, working with Club programs and so forth.

This is the second annual Regional Coaches of the Year class named by the AVCA.

And just how big of an honor is this for Coach Shari? Well, Region 2, one of ten Regions nationwide, consists of most of the Mid-Atlantic States – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, along with Washington D.C. She is one of only four Region 2 coaches selected. The regions, from throughout the United States, cover from Maine to Florida, to Alaska to Hawaii. There was a possibility of 40 coaches being selected nationwide, but only 30 coaches were named.

The association, in announcing this year’s class on their website, on Wednesday, November 18th, stated, “The AVCA is thrilled to announce the second annual class of AVCA High School Region Coaches of the Year. A total of 10 regions represent the 50 states, with each region naming up to four honorees for a total of 40 coaches awarded. Due to COVID-19 causing the postponement of some of the 2020 Fall seasons, regions in which some states were not competing this Fall had the option to name a portion of their Region Coaches of the Year at this time, with the remainder chosen following the Spring competition season.”

(Nate Girvan photo) Coach Shari and family at gathering in the Lobby during 400th win celebration: (L-R) Coach Shari, daughters Brenna, Addiwin, Hadley and husband Jim

And about Coach Shari in particular, the AVCA said, “In 2020, Shari has led Clarion to a 22-0 record thus far, a District 9 Championship, as well as a berth in the State Semifinals at the time of publication. Shari has led Clarion for the past 22 seasons, reaching over 400 wins this year. During that time, Clarion has been the District 9 Champion 13 times, appeared in 3 State Championship matches, and earned a State Championship title in 2012.”

(Photo by Nate Girvan) Coach Shari at courtside as focused as players Jordan Best (L) and Aryana Girvan (R) in PIAA Semifinal against Bishop Canevin

Coach Shari, the lone Pennsylvania coach named to the Region 2 Team, is joined by Elizabeth Powell from Northern Valley High School in Demarest, New Jersey, Bill Pribac from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C. and Gary Troy from Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Maryland.

A look at the other Region 2 coaches’ bios from the AVCA Website gives insight into how special a “fraternity” this is and also shows how deserving Coach Campbell is to be a member:

Coach Powell:

“Beth Powell has been at the helm of Demarest Volleyball since 1996, leading the Norsewomen to multitude of championships during that timeframe. Most recently, Powell led Demarest to a 2019 State Championship, State Sectional Championship, and League Championship for the second year in a row. Powell was also the 2019 Coach of the Year.”

Coach Pribac:

“Pribac is in his 21st season at St. John’s College High School. During that time, he has compiled over 350 career victories, including a WCAC Conference Championship and six DC State Championships. In 2019, the Cadets went 33-3 while earning a DCSAA State Championship win as well. St. John’s was led by Honorable Mention Under Armour All-American Rachel Richardson.”

Coach Troy: “In his first year at the helm of the program, Troy led Mount de Sales to a 18-2 record and IAAM A Conference Championship. Mount de Sales was led by Honorable Mention Under Armour All-American Mary Grace Goyena.”

(Complete list of all 30 Regional Coaches of the Year are at the bottom of the article.)

Coach Shari shared her comments on the honors coming the Lady Cats way.

(SC) Our stats and everything are so clean, our (high) hitting percentage and our error average is so low. Erica is number one in the state in kills (percentage). Korrin is number four, Brenna, they’re really up there, so we’re getting a lot of recognition.”

How does it feel getting this great team and individual recognition?

(SC) I’ve been at this for a long time, so it is just nice to get recognized because I’m coaching at a small school. I really believe that you can have excellence and you can be as good as a great big school, at a small school.

It is really gratifying to see that the body of work of these small school athletes to be recognized.

How great is it to have all this happen,  (Super 25 Ranking, AVCA Region 2 team ranking, Brenna and Erica – Region 2 All-Stars, Shari – Region 2 Coach of the Year honor) just as the Lady Cats are going to the PIAA Championship game?

(SC) When the team is successful, then those individual accolades follow. I really believe that and I think that is just the fallout from the team success. If the team wasn’t successful, I don’t think any of us would be getting the notice that we are.

I think, in particular, to see a team be so successful, in such uncertain times and too see a team with such a complete schedule, to go from start to finish during a pandemic, is really inspiring. To see it’s possible.

How great is it to be named after your Daughter Brenna and other player Erica were named to the AVCA Region 2 Team?

(SC) When you are among greatness, it kind of bleeds off. Their recognition brings me recognition and vice versa. I think it is really special (for this team) to be experiencing so much that’s positive. I know there are so many people who aren’t experiencing that right now. To me it is more meaningful in light of the year we are having.

How great is this for the team?

(SC) There are not a lot of places where coaches stay as long as I have. And to just put this team and this program on the map, in such a fashion, it’s great for the school, it’s great for the community, it’s great for the girls.

To have something to strive for, something to look forward to, we’ve got these young Junior High kids super excited that can’t wait for their season to start, because they  see what is happening around here right now. And that is what it is all about, for kids to find purpose. For the people that are around them to show them something that is great. And if you love something, put your heart into it and achieve something. I really appreciate that my work doing that has been recognized.

How about the Campbell Volleyball Family sharing with you?

(SC) I have a volleyball family. I come from a volleyball family. I started playing and my own family became a volleyball family. I was in the gym with my mom and dad supporting me, supporting my sister, she played. It just evolved to a lifelong love for our family. It’s something I love sharing with everyone.

You know, as well as anybody, the type of people that Martha (Coach Shari’s mother-in-law) and Jim (her husband) are. They love sports. And Jim is a great coach in his own right. To have him by my side, supporting me and challenging me; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Otherwise, I’d be in the gym by myself and I’d be missing my family.

It really is a family effort. I know what the game can give to individuals. So I’m happy to have my kids in the gym, gaining from the game.

Anyone you’d like to mention that has helped you along the way?

(SC) I’m fortunate to have come into volleyball at the center of the state. I grew up as someone who was influenced by Penn State and Juniata. So definitely Larry Bauch (her college coach at Juniata and a Club coach) and (Penn State coach) Russ Rose (Coach Shari grew up going to his camps) and my Club coaches, Jim Donaldson and Karan Price, who just retired at Altoona, those are lifelong friendships. For me, it was great to be able to coach against Karan also, having played for her as a player.

And then, I learned a lot while I was at St. Bonaventure, coaching with John Wasielewski. I was only there for two years, but to be close to those Division I teams, certainly gave me a lot of advantages coming into the High School venue. He (Coach Wasielewski) is coaching at Virginia Tech right now and played at Penn State.

I definitely have the Penn State – Juniata connection going on.

My high school JV coach who took over the program (at Huntingdon High School), after I left and was a true close friend forever and I rely on her for a lot of things, Priscilla Gibboney.

(CSZ) And just as those fine individuals nurtured, developed and spoke in to Coach Shari’s life, helping to make her the successful coach and person she has become, Coach Shari has devoted her life to helping young girls develop as athletes and into quality people.

Thank you Coach Shari!

(Thanks to Nate Girvan for his photos. Congratulations to Coach Shari and the entire Lady Cats’ Volleyball Family, for these incredible honors and all the best to you and the team on Saturday!!!!)

2020 AVCA High School Region Coach of the Year Recipients

1Curt BurnsAvon High School (CT)
1Justin HertzConnetquot High School (NY)
2Shari CampbellClarion High School (PA)
2Elizabeth PowellNorthern Valley Regional High School at Demarest (NJ)
2Bill PribacSt. John’s College High School (DC)
2Gary TroyMount de Sales Academy (MD)
3Barbara CampbellBrentwood High School (TN)
3Chris CamperHoover High School (AL)
3Alexis GloverWando High School (SC)
3Chris MurrayNorth Raleigh Christian Academy (NC)
4Ryan MitchellLovejoy High School (TX)
4Jennifer GoldenGreenwood High School (AR)
4Kate ZoraKlein High School (TX)
4Jessica ChatellierSt. Mary’s Dominican (LA)
5Stephanie BloomYorktown High School (IN)
5Chris LovettMount Notre Dame (OH)
5Dale GrupeHenry Clay High School (KY)
5Loretta VogelMercy High School (MI)
6Amber HallPleasant Valley High School (IA)
6Katie DowdenLiberty North High School (MO)
6Traci BuhrHamilton High School (WI)
7Renee SaundersSkutt Catholic (NE)
7Scott JacksonWayzata High School (MN)
7John DzubayStewartville High School (MN)
7Nora GroftNorthwestern High School (SD)
8Kristen ScanlenTexico High School (NM)
8Jeff BarkellKelly Walsh High School (WY)
8Kathleen RushBishop Miege High School (KS)
8Gwen ForsterEaton High School (CO)
10Chad ValentineSustina Valley Jr/Sr High (AK)