The 2018 high school volleyball season has opened with a rattle for Plano West High School in suburban Dallas. On the same day as the Lady Wolves opened their season with a 3-1 win over defending Texas 6A (big school) State Champions Hebron, the same team that knocked Plano West out of the Round of 16 of last year’s UIL playoffs, their head coach Brittany Rodriguez announced that she would be leaving the program.
Rodriguez is leaving to serve as arena manager for a franchise of Ninja Nation – a new facility that will open in Dallas in late September centered around the stunts and obstacles performed on NBC television show American Ninja Warrior.
Assistant coach Justin Waters has been named the interim head coach for the 2018-2019 season. He was previously the varsity assistant and JV head coach. Among the team’s returning stars are returning District
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Rodriguez alluded to the fact that coaching and teaching ‘isn’t what it used to be,’ which has become a common refrain among teachers and coaches who are leaving the profession because of a change in school and team cultures.
“Over the last couple of years, coaching and teaching isn’t what it used to be,” Rodriguez said. “I kind of started to think that this wasn’t something that I could do with the passion that I have for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to lose the passion for the sport that has been so good to me for so many years. I started thinking what would be my next phase in life.”
She said that the Ninja Warrior job wasn’t necessarily something she sought out, but just applied on a whim.
“Just super random, I threw a resume together and applied for this job. Three weeks later, they are hiring me. It’s all been super fast and furious. I’m so excited about a new challenge in life.”
Rodriguez spent the last 14 seasons as the coach of Plano West, compiling a record of 406-171 and winning 4 district championships. She led her team to the state tournament in 2007, making her the only coach to do so in Plano ISD history – home to some of the largest high schools in the country.
Rodriguez played collegiately at West Texas A&M, where she was part of an NCAA Division II National Championship team in 1997, and played professional football for 2 years for the Dallas Diamonds.
The team returns 2017 District 6-6A co-MVP Jill Pressly, who is a rising junior and Northwestern commit; and outside hitter Iman Ndiaye, who is a Penn State commit. The team is now 1-1 on the season, after a 3-2 loss to Keller on Monday followed by their headlining 3-1 win over Hebron on Tuesday.