Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — A familiar face will lead Unioto’s volleyball program forward.
Jacquelyn Kellough will replace Natalie Stulley as the school’s head coach after Stulley turned in her resignation early last week. Kellough has spent the past several seasons as the Shermans’ junior varsity coach.
“It’s literally a dream come true. I grew up in the gym, and I know first hand the memories, experiences, and opportunity that sports can create,” Kellough said. “Getting the opportunity to run a program is such an honor and opportunity. I feel like I have an obligation to impact the next generation and volleyball is thankfully the avenue I get to do it with.”
Kellough is an SVC volleyball alum after graduating from Huntington in 2013. She shared the league’s Player of the Year in 2012 with Westfall’s Olivia Cobb.
“Jackie fits the bill that we look for when hiring a head coach,” Unioto Athletic Director Mike White said. “She is a person of great integrity, high energy and she’s committed to excellence both in the classroom and on the court. She’s a Kellough, she’s from the ‘Township’ and that’s one-hundred percent all of the time.”
She’ll be inheriting a team with plenty of talent and a culture of success.
Six players who saw varsity time are expected to return to the team next season in Sophie Coleman, Carissa Wheeler, Ava Eldrige, Brynlee Viney, Sydney McGlone and Kacey Pierce. That group helped the Shermans finish 16-8 overall this past fall with a 9-5 mark in the Scioto Valley Conference.
“My experience at the JV level has created such a strong foundation for me. Being a player is one thing, but coaching is something completely different. The JV level has allowed me the opportunity to find out the type of coach I want to be,” Kellough said. “The close relationship that Natalie and I held will be a tremendous asset moving into this new position. We’ve started something good and I feel extremely prepared to be able to continue what she’s started. The rapport I’ve already created with the girls and the community will help with the transition so much.”
Over the past five seasons, Unioto has posted an overall record of 105-21 while winning four sectional titles and finishing as a district runner-up twice. They’ve also won two conference titles, including a Gold Ball in 2017.
Kellough already has several goals in mind in order to build on top of that recent history.
“We’ll need to create that leadership and encouragement piece. We’re losing six seniors and finding someone to bring our team together and create intensity is essential to being successful,” Kellough said. “We also want to build our speed. The main difference In JV and varsity is speed. We only have a couple of returning lettermen, so finding our speed on the net is extremely important. Then we want to make a tournament run. Our league is great and we always compete, but with the talent and the program we have, I’m hoping we can push ourselves and compete with some bigger competition.”