Passing down a legacy

Laura Dulee, Reporter

Following an extensive search for a new head volleyball coach, Athletic Director Wendy Smith found the fit she was looking for, 2009 ISU alum Mike Bolhuis. Proceeding the 2015 U-High volleyball season, head coach Karen Valouche announced the end of her 7 year run as head of the successful volleyball program. With a record of 188-67 Valouche left a winning legacy. Though there was an extensive amount of eligible candidates, Smith had a tough responsibility to fill this vacancy. Despite his young age, Bolhuis has an extensive volleyball resume.

“I applied to U-High because its volleyball program has one of the strongest traditions of any in the area.” Bolhuis said.

In 2012, Bolhuis led the Deer Creek Mackinaw High School team to an impressive IHSA state championship title and was the head coach of LeRoy High School for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  He has also coached club volleyball at Illini Elite since 2009 and currently serves as the head coach for the 18 Cardinal team.

“I look forward to adding on to a program that is rich in volleyball tradition.  I’m excited about the fact that there is already lots of support for the program.” Bolhuis said. “I went to the match last year at U-High against Bloomington.  I’m excited for that type of environment.”

Smith set out looking for the “perfect match”, someone with strong volleyball background, a great communicator, ability to teach the skills and fundamentals, motivate the players, and to run and oversee a high school program.

“Coach Bolhuis is a young, enthusiastic coach who has a true passion for the game of volleyball,” Smith said. “I believe his leadership abilities and knowledge of the game will help U-High student-athletes elevate both their individual and team levels of success.”

Bolhuis is looking to build a program that has players extremely proud of what they are a part of. He is looking to advance the player’s skills with allowing them to become better people and leaders in society.

We will focus a lot on building selfless individuals that care more about our greater cause then their own individual agenda.  We will use our platform of being one of the premier school programs in the area as a means to demonstrate what U-High students are all about.” Bolhuis said, “We will take pride in being respectful, paying attention to detail, and working hard at everything that we do.”

With Bolhuis adjusting to a new school and program he looks forward to being a part of a school with tremendous pride in its athletic programs. He enjoys the support the student athletes give each other..

“I think coach Bulhois will help our program in how he has a fresh set of eyes and a new mindset coming into the season,” junior Jamie Walling said. “He will have a new and different perspective on what we will need to do and accomplish this year.”