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Lauren Miller is making her return to coaching for the first time in several years as she joins the Valley Regional volleyball program’s staff this fall. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Miller )
Lauren Miller has a wealth of experience coaching kids, and now she’s bringing that knowledge to the Valley Regional volleyball team. Lauren is a new assistant coach working with the Warriors’ freshmen, who are playing in a handful of tournaments this fall.
Lauren’s coaching background includes experience on the basketball and volleyball courts with some soccer sprinkled in. Prior to moving to the Valley area, Lauren lived in Killingworth and coached in several capacities at Haddam-Killingworth High School.
“I coached at Haddam-Killingworth prior to having kids. I was JV soccer coach and basketball coach at H-K. This is going back 19 years ago. Then I switched over to coaching my own kids,” says Lauren. “Prior to H-K, I was a high school volleyball coach in Chelsea, Massachusetts. I’ve always done something with sports.”
Lauren’s experience in coaching stems from competing in several sports at different levels. Lauren grew up in Rhode Island, where she played varsity sports, and then headed off to Wheaton College in Massachusetts to continue her career.
“I was a multi-sport athlete in high school. Then I played volleyball in college, as well as basketball in college,” says Lauren, who graduated from Wheaton in 1995. “My main focus was basketball, but of course that was many years ago.”
Lauren has five children ranging from elementary school to college age. Lauren’s daughter Salmi is a sophomore at Valley Regional who plays volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse. Her son Callum is a junior who plays football, basketball, and lacrosse for the Warriors. Lauren’s oldest son Finn played lacrosse at Valley as a senior before going to college.
Seeing her children compete at Valley Regional played a big role for Lauren in rejoining the coaching world.
“This opportunity was something that I kind of stumbled upon. It was kind of through a nice discussion with [volleyball Head Coach Kathy Scott],” Lauren says. “We were talking, and she was getting to know my background. Then the conversation turned into talking about an opening on the coaching staff. With how busy I was, I had to think about heading back in that direction or not. I went home a talked it over with my husband and, the next day, I was ready to go for it.”
Lauren says that she’s gotten back into the swing of coaching pretty quickly with the Valley volleyball squad.
“I enjoy working in coaching and helping out, and I would say that so far it’s been a great experience,” she says. “I’m enjoying getting to know the personalities of all of the players.”
In addition to getting to know her players, Lauren has formed relationships with plenty of people in her community since moving to Chester.
“We’re new to Chester. It’ll be two years this January that we’ve been here. We lived in Killingworth before this,” says Lauren, who is also an artist who teaches painting at the Bushy Hill Nature Center in Ivoryton. “Coaching is really a nice way to get to know the community. They’ve all be very welcoming to our family, as well. We’ve landed in a great spot.”
Lauren has seen the Warriors make some nice strides this season, especially in terms of playing together as a cohesive unit. Lauren believes that Valley needs to get both sides of the game working in order to make it over the hump.
“I see our team as one that’s really progressed in working with each other throughout the year. Their communication has improved,” Lauren says. “Our matches have been close. They have been playing a lot of five full-set matches and, in volleyball, it can go either way. It’s not just a physical game. It’s a mental game as well.”
Coach Scott feels that Lauren is already proving a solid addition for the Warriors.
“Lauren’s got a lot of enthusiasm, and she’s really nurturing, too. Still, she really pushes the girls and keeps a nice balance,” says Scott. “Lauren has a lot of coaching experience, so she understands the team dynamic really well. We were really lucky. I didn’t know initially that she had coached so many different sports, which helped her transfer nicely. We really needed somebody, and it was good timing finding her.”
The Warriors have battled valiantly while taking a couple of recent 3-2 defeats. Lauren says that Valley just has to make a couple of adjustments in order to get on the right track for the rest of the year.
“We’re right there, and we have a good momentum for finishing a good season.” Lauren says. “I know we’re going button up a few things and get some more wins as the season goes on.”