Keller Central outside hitter Lauren Cox is a quiet, unassuming person. New Chargers volleyball coach Robyn Wallace says Cox probably doesn’t realize how good she really is. Cox also probably doesn’t know she’s one of the main reasons Wallace is now the coach at Central.
While Wallace was going through the interview process for the opening at Keller Central, she wanted to learn a little bit more about the team she might inherit. Information was tough to come by, but she did turn up the name Lauren Cox.
Wallace was already headed to the Lone Star Classic tournament to watch some of her players from Coppell, where she was serving as an assistant. She figured she’d go ahead do some scouting.
“I could stop and watch some of these Keller kids to even see if this is a job I would be interested in taking,” she said.
Never miss a local story.
Wallace caught a glimpse of Cox, and she was sold.
“I just watched warmup before a game, and her swing,” Wallace recounted. “I was like, ‘OK, I know she carried them the last few seasons; I can work with this.”
Combined with the feeling of home she got inside the school, Wallace was offered and accepted the head coaching position. But for Cox, a three-year starter with the Chargers, that meant a new coach for her senior season.
“At first I was kind of skeptical,” Cox said. “Once she came in, it was a different kind of coaching style, but almost better for us. I think with her we’ll be a stronger team. We were [initially] scared of the change, but it turned into something positive.”
Both Wallace and Cox will tell you the coach is night and day from previous coach Terri Kelso.
“Everybody is excited now that they know how she’s going to coach us and what she wants for us,” Cox said. “Everybody is on the same page. We know what our goals are for the season. Everybody is super excited for what we are going to do.”
For her part, Cox also realizes her evolving role on a club that graduated nine seniors from last season, leaving only three upperclassmen on this year’s roster.
“I’m not much of a vocal person, but I realized to lead my team I have to be,” Cox said. “So there’s a role I have to fill and hold myself up to that standard. I feel like that’s something I need to do.”
When you get a kid who has carried a team for a couple of years and it gets to be her senior year, you kind of expect it to be about her. But she is so not about her. She is about everybody else.
Central head coach Robyn Wallace on Lauren Cox
Leading by example hasn’t been a problem for Cox, who racked up 350 kills and 128 digs as a junior. She landed on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s list of players to watch for this season.
“I don’t even think she’s met her highest potential,” Wallace said. “She’s an awesome kid, very exciting to watch. She catches balls that you don’t think she’s going to get to on defense. She can chase down just about anything in the gym. It’s crazy how quick she is.”
As important as her game skills are, Wallace is also quick to praise Cox’s team-first approach to the game.
“She’s extremely coachable and wants to do well,” Wallace said. “It’s not about her. That’s the biggest thing. When you get a kid who has carried a team for a couple of years and it gets to be her senior year, you kind of expect it to be about her. But she is so not about her. She is about everybody else.”
We’ve barely broken the seal on the 2017 season, but Cox insists she already sees a difference from last year.
“We’re shocked at where we’re at,” Cox said. “Last year we didn’t improve as much in this short of a time together. This year, it’s progressed so quickly. It’s kind of crazy to see how much better we’ve gotten in such a short span of time.”
Those nerves Cox had when she found out she’d have a new coach for her senior season are in the distant rearview, and now she’s looking ahead.
“I’m super excited,” she said. “Where we’re at now, I never would have expected it. Seeing how we played in the scrimmages gives me so much more confidence about what we’re going to do this year.”