Larry Deffenbaugh is going into his 43rd year of coaching, including 33 as a volleyball coach.
He is third on the all-time wins list for Colorado high school girls volleyball coaches, with 540 victories.
Deffenbaugh, who has been the head volleyball coach at Strasburg, Bennett, Rangeview and Castle View, is now the coach at Arapahoe High School in Centennial for girls volleyball, and is going through a first with all the restrictions in place because of the COVOID-19 pandemic.
He keeps in contact with his Arapahoe team through an app and plans to send out information to parents in the near future.
“What’s the old saying — safety first,” said Deffenbaugh. “It is what it is and it’s a very surreal time right now. I know some parents are chomping at the bit and some maybe not so much. Some may want to get their kids going again, some are a little leery and some are `no way.’
“It’s just like the virus itself. It has manifested itself in different ways. And we know people think in different ways as well. Certainly all of us have gotten down a little bit during this time. It is a different beast, so to speak. We’re frustrated but we can get outside a little bit at least.”
Deffenbaugh says communication with his players is important.
“I send out a memo pretty much on time every week,” he explained. “I send out some positive quotes, some information on what is going on, where we are at as far as sports are concerned. On MaxPreps there is a lady and she has a bunch of workouts. So I send them a couple workouts and say they can alter them or do them every day.
“And then we are trying to create some simple competitions, Send me your times on this and see how you are doing. There is a lot to deal with here and they just got done with school. There’s a lot of their plate right now. We are encouraging them that this is the time to get going again because we don’t know what we don’t know. Let’s try to get in shape physically and mentally and communicate with each other.”
Deffenbaugh doesn’t know for sure if there will be a fall volleyball season.
“Here’s what I do know,” he continued. “I have seen some plans to reopen sports from the Colorado health department or CDC and I’ve heard Governor Polis say youth sports can open up again. I’ve seen all the guidelines and there are phases. There’s a phase one, phase two, phase three and phase four. I hope we can do something down the road if the kids want to, but most importantly, parents and athletes need to understand that if we are going to do this, it has to be done safely and the guidelines need to be followed strictly. The parents, athletes and coaches have to be patient.
“I don’t know what Littleton Public Schools is doing right now. I think they are putting together a task force to look at this. But I don’t know where we are. We don’t have any dates in mind yet. I’m waiting to hear from Littleton Public Schools and my athletic director Pat McCabe for guidance and direction to move forward optimistically one step at a time. Right now things are pretty much up in the air. We all need to take a deep breath and be patient. The CHSAA is trying to put together plans for fall sports. That looks different for all sports. There are a lot of parts to this engine.”
Deffenbaugh is optimistic about playing in the fall.
“It is OK to be optimistic, seeing the stuff I am seeing from CHSAA,” he said. “However I have to think about not only our players’ safety, where they have been and their parents, but also our coaches’ safety. I imagine everybody will be wearing masks, that’s in the guidelines, I can’t control what somebody else is doing, but in this environment, we have to be able to control it. We have to follow the guidelines
“We are in one of the toughest leagues in the state. We have a good group of girls coming up. We have two seniors this year, so we will be young. Amelia Davis and Myki McNutt will be good captains and leaders. We’ll get better as the season goes on. We will appreciate the things we take for granted when this is over.”
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