Central hires Armendariz to be new volleyball coach

Jennifer Armendariz gets to take her volleyball coaching to another level, and she’ll do it with players she already knows.

The freshman head coach and a varsity assistant at Central High School for the past three seasons, Armendariz was selected head coach of Central’s volleyball program Wednesday. The seniors on the team this fall will be players from Armendariz’s first season as the Warriors’ freshman coach.

The familiarity was greeted with delight by the Central players, who were gathered in the high school’s cafeteria for the announcement Wednesday. Central Athletic Director Randy Powell said the looks on the players’ faces spoke volumes about the respect they have for Armendariz and the relationships she has built with the players.

“Those nonverbal looks tell a lot,” Powell said.

Armendariz, who found out Wednesday morning she got the job, saw the same thing, adding, “It was pretty cool walking into that auditorium.”

In addition to the continuity that Armendariz will provide the program, Powell said her passion for the game is obvious in her enthusiasm and the way she relates with players.

The 25-year-old says that’s just how she feels about volleyball. She still plays it as much as she can year-round because “I absolutely love the sport. I’m constantly playing.”

Along the way, during her playing days at Rangeview High School in Aurora and two years at Colorado Mesa University, she said she figured out something else: “I have that coaching knack in me, the ability to motivate.”

After graduating from Colorado Mesa in 2009, she has taught English at Bookcliff Middle School for three years.

Her involvement in the Warriors’ volleyball program evolved from a chance meeting with her predecessor at Central, Beth Nelson. Armendariz said the two had a mutual friend and met while playing sand volleyball at Canyon View Park. The two got to know each other, and before she knew it, Armendariz was invited to coach in the program.

“She’s just been a natural from the time she started here,” Powell said.

Armendariz said she holds Nelson, who resigned April 2 to become the head coach of the Delta High School volleyball team, in high regard.

“My core values align with Beth,” she said. “A lot of the things are going to stay pretty much the same.”

That also means “a really high level of intensity” will be expected from her players in practice.

Where Armendariz may make a noticeable change will be in the pace of play. She said her background in a Class 5A Front Range school and playing club volleyball in the competitive Denver metro area exposed her to “really quick offenses,” and she will try to get the Warriors playing at those speeds.


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