SALEM - Salem volleyball has been a city-wide institution for the better part of three decades, and the Lady Quakers varsity program has known just one head coach in 34 years - the legendary Don Conser.
Conser called it a career last November, leaving the winning-est program in state history without a head coach.
But on Monday, a Conser student, pupil and assistant, Allie Rich-Winner, officially took over looking to keep the Lady Quakers' prominence on the volleyball court in full swing.
"I was thrilled to get the position," Rich-Winner said. "Coach Conser showed me how to play volleyball, so it's great and kind of neat to take over. I want to continue what he's done, keep the program going strong and keep winning."
Rich-Winner has some big shoes to fill but feels more than up to the task.
Conser is the most successful high school coach in state history. He won 636 games in his tenure and 26-straight league titles, a streak that's still active.
Rich-Winner knows all about it. After all, the 2004 Salem graduate has been a part of it herself both as a player and an assistant coach.
"Coach Conser expected to win," she said. "The girls have never had any other option than that. It's just what we do in Salem. I'm very competitive, and it's definitely something I want to continue."
Since graduating from Salem she's attended Ohio University and upon returning to Salem coached the freshman and jayvee teams for two years each respectively.
Rich-Winner was not only exited to get the job but also that the Salem tradition stayed within the Quaker family.
"If someone else came in from the outside, I'm not sure they would've really known or got what Salem volleyball is all about," she said.
Rich-Winner knows, and that she's been a part of the successful process at Salem now for some time should help her ease into the transition.
"I'm going to hold the same high expectations we've always had," she said.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org