It was Halloween and Paris Lady Eagles Volleyball Coach Wes Davis walked into the empty gym at Paris High School, sat down at the scorer’s table and talked about the care and feeding of monsters.
Not the kind that would walk the streets of Paris later that day, but the monster he’s built in 11 years as volleyball coach in the Paris School District. It’s the monster that’s won three straight state championships, the most recent coming the Saturday before Halloween.
Davis was asked whether the monster, with a belly full of state titles, is still hungry. His answer should chill the hearts of 3A volleyball teams in the state.
“It’s always hungry,” Davis said. “The monster has always got to be fed.”
Does that mean he’s thinking, even now with the season barely over, of four state titles in a row?
“I was thinking about it before I left the floor after the title game in Hot Springs last Saturday,” Davis said.
Davis also addressed persistent rumors that he’s going to take his coaching skills elsewhere. After all, three straight titles can put one in demand.
“No, I’m not leaving Paris that I know of,” he said. “I’ve passed on several other schools. If I’m in demand, I guess I’m decent at what I do. I’m just going to keep working. That’s all you can do. I’m still not satisfied.”
Mark those last three words carefully. The man with three straight state titles is still “not satisfied.” If the coach isn’t satisfied with that level of accomplishment, the volleyball players won’t be either and that means the monster stays hungry.
Davis also looked back on a season in which his team dominated competition and gave credit to the players.
“This season was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’d like to do it again. My kids worked hard and they wanted this. It’s gotten to the point that no one wants to be the one to not get it done. They put in the effort. This team had a killer instinct.”
The record proves that. Paris went 35-2 this season and lost only seven sets — that’s right, seven sets — all year. In recognition of that dominance, individual post season honors were as plentiful as bags of candy on Halloween.
Here they are:
All State All Tournament: Ryleigh Hardwicke, Jenna Lowery, Brynn Simmons;
All State: Ryleigh Hardwicke, Riley Owen, Jenna Lowery, Brynn Simmons;
All State Honorable Mention: Joni Inman, Kaylor Braswell, Caroline Hart;
All District: Kylie Morris, Kaylor Braswell, Morgan Johnson, Caroline Hart, Joni Inman, Eliciah Kury;
All District Honorable Mention: Paiton Forbis.
“It’s all about the girls,” Davis said. “They put in the time and the work. They deserved this.”
And, as if you couldn’t tell, next year has started already.
“The girls and I talked yesterday,” Davis said. “We know what we have to do to get back.”
That would be continued care and feeding of the monster they’ve made.