It's almost always a difficult transition when a legendary and long-serving coach decides to retire. There is a huge gap that needs to be filled and expectations are high for whoever steps in as the replacement.
Things should be easier for the Hubbard volleyball program, as long-time assistant Jeremy Porter will take over the Eagles for the upcoming season, replacing Chuck Montgomery, who coached the team for 21 seasons.
"I've been the junior varsity coach for 12, 13 years," said Porter, 37. "I love the game of volleyball, and Coach Montgomery has been a mentor of mine and a friend for many years."
Tribune Chronicle / David Dermer
New Hubbard varsity volleyball coach Jeremy Porter observes players on Wednesday during the Shenango Volleyball Camp at Hubbard High School.
Montgomery, who is Hubbard's athletic director, said it was an easy decision to promote Porter to head coach after being the assistant for so long.
"He was my first assistant; he's been my right-hand man," Montgomery said. "He knows the program inside and out and he's been with me all these years. He has a good grasp of what Hubbard volleyball is. We want to continue the tradition of Hubbard volleyball and the best way to do that was to bring in someone from within who has a good knowledge of what Hubbard volleyball is.
"He's a hard worker who's extremely knowledgeable of volleyball. He's also a teacher in the school (health and physical education) which is advantageous to be a teacher in the school. We feel really good about the volleyball team that's returning. He has a bright future for him as the coach."
Porter is a 1994 graduate of Maplewood (Pa.) High School who graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1998 and majored in health and physical education.
Before Hubbard, his coaching experience was as an assistant at George Junior Republic and as head coach at Ferrell High School.
Montgomery coached the Eagles to a record of 465-101 in 21 seasons, including 15-8 in his final season that ended with a loss to Salem in a Division II district semifinal.
Both Porter and Montgomery feel Hubbard's returning experience should be an asset this season.
"We have a very experienced team," Porter said. "I feel that we hope to continue the tradition Coach Montgomery left at Hubbard. We have a shot at a winning record."
"We have five starters (seniors Marquette Gasser, Emily Perry, Maris Sarisky, Megan DeMaiolo and Morgan Lopuchovsky) that are three-year starters who have a lot of experience," Montgomery said. "We also have a 6-foot-2 middle hitter (junior Kaylyn Garrett) returning from not being able to play. It's a really solid bunch and a great bunch of younger kids filling in."
Porter said he feels great at having a second chance at being a head coach.
"I'm very excited about it," he said. "Hubbard community is one where I've come to love the community. It's where my young children go to school. I hope to bring a couple championships to the community."