A large gathering of family, friends, fans, and former players was held Oct. 27 at the LDS church cultural hall in honor of retired Pahranagat Valley girls volleyball coach Ginger Whipple.
Long-time friend Therol Foremaster organized the event. She said it took over a year to gather all the scrapbooks, photos, and trophies to highlight the special ceremony for her friend.
Whipple, who retired after the 2017 season, was coach for the Pahranagat Valley High girls volleyball team for 36 years. Her teams won 19 state championships since 1985 and finished as state runners-up five times.
Whipple holds the state record for the most state championships in a given sport by any one coach. She had the Lady Panthers in the 1A girls state finals a record 22 years on a row, winning 18 times, and nine straight from 1997-2005.
Whipple said it was then-school principal Gerald Wilson who asked her to start a volleyball team in 1981.
“I was young and just graduated from college [SUU], and had a degree in physical education, so I guess that’s why they asked me. But nobody here knew anything about volleyball, and I soon learned I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.”
She said a few years later she took a year off to have one of her children, “and that year the coaching job was given to a person who cut all my freshmen players. And when I came back in, I had sophomores who didn’t know anything, but I put them back on the team and we won our first state championship.”
Whipple has often credited coaching expert Mark Daniels of Utah, and the clinics he has run in Alamo from time to time, with helping her throughout her career. “I can’t give him enough credit for how he helped lift our program to a higher level through fundamentals and ‘tricks of the trade.’ Little nuances that just benefited my girls and made it more competitive.”
Over 200 girls played for Whipple in her career. A mother of six and grandmother of 18, she had the unique distinction of coaching both her daughters and a granddaughter, all of whom won state titles under her leadership.
“Coaching my daughters [Nikki and Kalee] and granddaughter [Karley] was admittedly more difficult because I expected more out of them. I was a lot harder on each of them. I’m surprised they stayed with me.” But they did, with each of them earning Southern League MVP honors.
Daughter Nikki Maxwell served as assistant coach to her mother for 16 years and has also retired.
Whipple has received many coaching awards throughout her career and was inducted into the SUU Coaching Factory Hall of Fame in 2014. She is a very likely future selection to the Nevada State High School Hall of Fame.