Prep Volleyball

This coaching icon is coming out of retirement. It was a short break

John Lengphounpraseut's last name is longer than his retirement from coaching high school volleyball.

Lengphounpraseut, who coached at Southridge High School for 16 years, stepped down in January with the intent of focusing on club volleyball.

Late last week, he accepted the coaching position at Tri-Cities Prep.

"I wanted to take the year off, but I'm going to give it a try," Lengphounpraseut said. "I hope it will be a good venture for me."

TCP athletic director Dan Whitsett contacted Lengphounpraseut about a month ago about the possibility of coaching the Jaguars.

"It took me three weeks to decide," Lengphounpraseut said. "I feel good about it."

John L mug.JPG
John Lengphounpraseut

As does Whitsett.

"We were fortunate to be able to change his mind," Whitsett said. "It never hurts to ask. One thing leads to another and you get lucky."

Lengphounpraseut met with his new players Wednesday. The Jaguars have a young team, but return five starters from last year's team that went to the 2B state tournament.

"The girls are excited," Whitsett said. "He has been around the block a few times, and we have a good group of girls coming back. It's a good match. We had 25 girls at the meeting, and only three are juniors."

The Jaguars have height in 6-foot freshman standout Talia von Oelhoffen and 6-1 freshman MaKenna Brandner. Sophomore Emily Dickson and juniors Hannah De Smet and Nicole Carey round out the returning starters.

"He coaches people up, and we have a group ready to be coached," Whitsett said. "We have expectations for these girls, and you don't want to leave anything on the table. I'm excited for the matchup. They will play good volleyball together."

Joining Lengphounpraseut at TCP will be two of his longtime assistant coaches, Sal Dumo and Kris Seffens.

One thing that will be new to Lengphounpraseut is the EWAC, which has teams from Walla Walla to Kittitas.

"When we sat down and went over the schedule, I had to explain where schools were and how long it took to get there," Whitsett said.

Lengphounpraseut also runs the highly successful Columbia Junior Volleyball Club. He has coached some of the top talent in the Tri-Cities and beyond for the past 29 years.

Annie Fowler: 582-1574; @tchicequeen