Published February 05, 2013
From Black Hills to Saint Martin's: Volleyball coach Kara Peterson resigns to take over volleyball program at Saint Martin's
The first item on Kara Petersons agenda as Saint Martins Universitys head volleyball coach is planning an upcoming recruiting trip to Las Vegas over Presidents Day weekend. Peterson was introduced Monday as the Saints new coach, jumping from the high school level -- where she spent 15 seasons as Black Hills High Schools volleyball coach -- to an NCAA Division II college program.I felt like a rookie (Monday), Peterson said. Its the beginning all over again. Its an exciting beginning. Officially, this is Petersons second stint as SMUs coach. In early 2000, she accepted the volleyball coach position only to resign six weeks later well before the 2000 season began. She said back then, it didnt feel like the right time to take the job. Now, shes in a better place to take over a college program. This time around, the situation is way different, Peterson said. Ive lived a lifetime since then.She inherits a struggling Saints program that hasn't finished higher than eighth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference since the conference was formed in 2001. The Saints were eighth this past fall with a 3-15 GNAC mark and 6-18 overall.The teams top returning player is incoming junior Kristyn Ross, an outside hitter and 2011 Capital High School graduate who was the GNACs co-freshman of the year in the fall of 2011.Peterson said retaining the local talent is a necessity. Thurston County has become a hotbed for volleyball talent in the high school programs. In the past two years alone, three teams -- Olympia, Tumwater and North Thurston -- have reached the state title matches in their respective classifications, with Olympia winning the 4A state title in 2011. In 15 seasons at Black Hills, Peterson she guided the Wolves to 12 state tournament appearances, including 10 top-eight finishes at the state tournaments, and a 213-93 win-loss record (.689). Saint Martins could be the premier mecca of volleyball, said Peterson, a four-year letterwinner in volleyball at Washington from 1981-84. The whole culture has to change.Athletic director Bob Grisham said he feels fortunate to bring in a coach with Peterson's knowledge and experience.We have a solid nucleus of returning players and Im looking forward to her taking our program to the next level," Grisham said in a release.