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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
After a few years away from coaching volleyball, Bri Waldrip jumped at the chance to return to the sidelines when the Richmond job opened up. Waldrip coached at Hickman Mills for five years, but left in 2007 to teach at Oak Grove.
After two years there, Waldrip went to Heritage College in Kansas City where she worked in collegiate administration. Then the urge to return to coaching and teaching became too much too ignore.
“I wanted to get back in the high school classroom badly,” she said. “I had heard they had an opening at Richmond and had heard some good things about it, so I gave it a try.”
Waldrip, who is recently engaged to Spencer Smith, the building codes inspector for the City of Grain Valley, will be teaching English, Reading and Spanish, in addition to coaching the Lady Spartan volleyball team that had its only winning season in 2007 – her final year at Hickman.
Originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, Waldrip moved with her family to the Kansas City area before attending Longview Community College where she was a standout on the volleyball team. After two years, she earned a full-ride scholarship to Park University to continue her volleyball career where she also served as team captain.
Even though she is a volleyball coach, her coaching idol is John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach. Waldrip said she tries to infuse his philosophies into her coaching method.
“He really instilled in his players the sense of being respectful for yourself, and your fellow teammates,” she explained. “When you do have respect for your fellow teammates and yourself, it really shows on and off the court. It’s really important that my girls are ladies on and off the court.”
Waldrip has had a chance to meet her new players through a few camps she has conducted this summer. Waldrip finds her new team appears eager to learn and has a good work ethic.