The new Londonderry High School girls’ varsity volleyball coach will look all kinds of familiar to folks who have paid any attention to the Lancer volleyball programs over the last 10 years.
Dave Starin, who coached LHS boys’ teams from 2006 to 2013 – including the Lancer boys’ varsity squad from 2008 to 2013 – has returned from a year away in collegiate coaching to take over the Lady Lancers’ varsity volleyball contingent during its forthcoming fall 2014 season.
Starin, who grew up just outside of Troy, N.Y., began playing volleyball during his senior year of high school when he was approached to join the school’s brand new boys’ volleyball team.
“Since I played football and baseball, and volleyball was a winter sport, it was a natural fit for my schedule,” he said. “I immediately fell in love with the sport and have been coaching ever since.”
As a result, Starin has coached volleyball – both males and females – for the last 12 years, and during fall, winter and spring campaigns as well. The native New York-Stater began coaching LHS boys’ volleyball during the autumn of 2006 when he led the Lancer junior varsity boys to a 7-5 record. And things got even better for his Lancer JV guys the next fall when they posted a superb 10-2 record and won the junior varsity tournament as well.
Starin then made the move up to the varsity for the 2008 campaign, leading a regrouping contingent to a modest 6-11 mark and a sixth place finish in tough Class L.
But a year later, the coach led his LHS group to a 12-6 record and third place, winning Coach of the Year honors in the process.
There was no 2010 boys’ volleyball season as the state’s boys were moved from a fall to a spring campaign, but coach Starin led his Lancers to strong seasons during the springs of 2011 (15-4 record, second place), 2012 (9-8, seventh place), and 2013 (15-3, third place) before deciding to go back to New York State at least short-term.
“I coached (womens’ volleyball) at SUNY-Plattsburgh in Upstate New York last season,” said Starin. “In just one season with their program, we had our first winning record in 16 years, our first playoff appearance in 10 years, our first playoff win ever, our first conference player-of-the-year, our first All-Region player, our first All-American, and we had as many league wins as the previous seven years combined.”
So, it’s with recent memories of that level of success that Starin comes back to Londonderry High School to coach a varsity girls’ team which has been led by the talented, colorful, and ever-effervescent Peter Willis.
“Peter will be missed by everyone involved with the volleyball program,” said Starin. “I am a quiet competitor who is very focused and driven. Too much emotion, low or high, detracts from the task at hand, so I have worked very hard to find a middle ground in this regard.”
When looking at the differences and similarities between the brands of volleyball played by males and females, Starin stated that there are common denominators which make both great to be involved with.
“The boys’ game focuses more on power and speed, while the girls’ game tends to focus on great defense and strategy. Regardless of gender, when there are two equal opponents, the game is great to watch,” he said.
Since enjoying a truly dominant period and winning consecutive state championships in 2009 and 2010, the LHS Lady Lancer spikers have returned to earth and been a solid but unspectacular competitor.
“The future is very bright at Londonderry and I have an optimistic outlook on the overall status of the program,” said Starin. “My goal is to teach the girls a strong work ethic. I will show them what successful programs demand in order to achieve the success that they are capable of. This is a very attainable goal, and we have already made tremendous strides to ensure this occurs.”