Maria Nolan is the most decorated girls volleyball coach in New Jersey high school history.
She’s the state’s all-time winningest coach in her sport with a 1,006-108 record, with 16 state championships during 27 seasons at Secaucus, and 12 more state titles and nine Tournament of Champions crowns at Immaculate Heart Academy, where she’s been since 2004. She’s also in the NJSIAA Hall of Fame, as well as the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association (NJSCA) Hall of Fame.
Even with all of her many accomplishments, she’s firmly aware that there’s always something new to learn.
That’s why Nolan was in the bleachers at Livingston High School on Aug. 25, along with several dozen of her coaching colleagues from around the state, attending the annual Volleyball Coaches Clinic sponsored by the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association.
The primary presenter for the clinic was Marouane Jafir, a club and college coach who has also worked as an assistant for the Moroccan Men’s Senior Team.
“You always learn something,” Nolan said. “There’s always different philosophies and techniques you can pick up and apply. Any coach, beginner or longtime, can benefit from this. Coaches should take advantage, because it’s so convenient and beneficial.”
The volleyball clinic was the first coaching clinic of the 2019-20 school year offered by the NJSCA. Six more are scheduled, with the possibility of more being added.
The NJSCA works in association with the NJSIAA, so aside from the instruction, the clinics allow the coaches to be updated on anything new in their sports.
“The clinics are an important part of what the NJSCA is about,” said Bill Bruno, the NJSIAA Assistant Director who works with the NJSCA. “They make our coaches aware of any new rules and regulations in each sport, as well as passing along the latest training techniques. They also bring together the coaching community, and help them work and interact with each other.”
Lee Clowers, who is in his 19th season as the girls coach at Mount Olive, is another regular attendee at the volleyball clinic.
“I owe it to the kids to learn as much as I can,” he said. “We expect the kids on our teams to get better, so it’s up to us as coaches to set an example to get better ourselves.”
The NJSCA came into existence in 1994 as a means of perpetuating the finest ideals of coaching, and expanding communication between coaches throughout the state.
There are three vital groups that help the NJSCA maintain and improve the growth of membership. These include the NJSIAA, the NJSCA sport representatives and the present membership. The positive relationship between these groups have been a major factor in making it a win-win situation. The NJSCA follows its own strategies as well as coordinating efforts with the NJSIAA.
The NJSCA also honors individuals each year at its Hall of Fame Luncheon, and presents thousands of dollars worth of scholarships at the NJSIAA Scholar-Athiete Luncheon.
“Coaches should take advantage of this, and spread the word and get other coaches involved,” Nolan said.
Contact Jenny Yelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding NJSCA membership.
Additional NJSCA Coaching Clinics for the 2019-20 school year:
Bowling: Wed., Sept. 18 at Monmouth University (West Long Branch)
Golf: Tue., Oct. 29 at Galloping Hill Golf Course (Kenilworth)
Baseball: Thu., Dec. 12 at Diamond Nation (Flemington)
Track: Sat., Dec. 14 at Bennett Athletic Complex (Toms River)
Tennis: Fri., Jan. 10 at Princeton University
Wrestling: Fri., May 8 at Princeton University