LAURINBURG — Scotland High School will feature a fresh face on the volleyball sidelines next season.
Molly Hayes, the Scots’ head coach for the past three seasons, confirmed Wednesday that she has decided to step down from her position.
Hayes is expecting her first child, a girl, this summer and decided it was best to leave her post and allow another coach to come in and take her place.
“I’ve always kind of known in the back of my mind that when we did decide to start our family coaching would probably take a back seat,” Hayes said. “It’s a bittersweet thing because I’m very thankful that we’re starting a family, but I do love coaching so it’s not an easy thing to walk away from.”
Scotland posted the volleyball opening on its website over a week ago, though athletic director Richard Bailey said the school initially tried to talk Hayes out of leaving.
“First the process was trying to talk Molly into staying because she’s done a tremendous job here carrying on what David Barnes had started,” Bailey said. “We’ve got a great tradition with volleyball and Molly really was a super coach that worked really well with kids so we tried to talk her out of it for awhile … .
“She made the decision for the right reasons, it’s about her family and that kind of thing and we respect that.”
Hayes served as Scotland’s head coach for three years and has been on the volleyball staff for nine, where she’s been a junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant.
The Scots compiled a 20-3 overall record in her first season and won the Southeastern Conference championship on their way to a second round appearance in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs. In year two, Scotland finished 13-11 and placed second in the SEC, and in her final year Hayes paced her squad to a 13-10 mark and another second-place finish in the conference.
Hayes said she expects to have the baby girl in July and plans to return to the high school in mid-October to continue teaching.
“With her due date being in July and the first day of tryouts on August 1, and all summer long we practice with open gyms, it’s just not feasible for me (to continue coaching),” Hayes said.
Although she will no longer lead the Scots, Hayes will continue to keep tabs on the team from afar and help out the program any way that she can.
“My hope is that the girls will continue to work hard in the offseason and the summer and they’ll grow stronger as a team,” Hayes said.
Bailey, who mentioned that hiring from within remains a possibility, said the school is working diligently to bring a candidate on board that will further elevate Scotland’s prestigious volleyball program.
“At this point, we’re gathering resumes and hoping to get some strong candidates,” Bailey said. “We’re making calls and actively recruiting. I’ve been calling some ADs that I know and seeing if there are any up-and-coming assistant coaches, and been calling some schools where coming to a bigger school may be an attractive move up for them … .
“We definitely hope to have somebody in place before the end of the school year. We’re not leaving any stones unturned.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.