MISSOULA — Corvallis volleyball head coach Kasey Arceniega, who guided the team to the 2013 state title, has resigned after 10 years leading her alma mater in order to focus on her family, she told 406mtsports.com.
Arceniega has accepted a position teaching art at Hellgate High School in Missoula, the same city in which her husband teaches. She’s also looking forward to spending more time with her daughter, who’ll be a third grader next year.
“It’s something that’s exciting for me and family,” Arceniega told 406mtsports.com. “It comes with me not being able to coach at Corvallis anymore. I feel like it’s the right move, but it’s incredibly hard and something I’m going to miss. I truly enjoyed every day working with the girls. I had really great dedicated kids.”
Arceniega, a Corvallis grad and former Montana Western volleyball player, led the Blue Devils to the State A title in 2013 with a 21-0 record. They took second place in 2015 and finished third in 2017 and 2018. They made the state tournament each of the past eight seasons and were a No. 1 seed six times.
“We’ll definitely miss her,” Corvallis athletic director Tyson Tucker told 406mtsports.com. “She basically made our team one of the top contenders every year. She built a program where kids had high expectations and lived up to those expectations. We were usually the one or two seed out of the conference and constantly making it to state. She made us one of the teams that Class A schools were always looking at.”
Arceniega decided to accept the position at Hellgate last week. She informed Tucker on Monday and met with the team to let them know personally.
“I think it was hard for all of us,” Arceniega said. “I think they understood and were supportive. It’s a chapter in my life that I’ll never forget. I’m just ready to move on and see what happens next.”
Arceniega had started coaching the Blue Devils when she was a student teacher at Corvallis. She was able to continue coaching them even when she started teaching art at Hamilton High School.
“Once you build a program, it’s never easy to leave,” Arceniega said. “It’s something I’ll cherish forever. I think the success of the program is due to the dedication that the girls had and the really wonderful support from the community and parents.
“If I were to move forward in a different program — which isn’t my priority right now, I’m focusing on family — but that would be something I’d definitely want is to have that same kind of love for the game and dedication for the program.”
A return to coaching one day isn’t entirely off the table for Arceniega.
“Everything has been really new just getting my stuff in order for teaching, but I can’t imagine not coming back to it eventually,” Arceniega said. “Right now, my daughter is getting to the age of doing different things, so I’m excited to be able to spend more time with her and my family.”
Tucker said the job opening has been posted and will be up for two weeks. It’ll be the first new volleyball head coach hired in his nine-year tenure.
Arceniega said she recommended assistant coach Laurie Jones for the position.
“She’s been with me from the beginning, and that was my strong recommendation,” Arceniega said. “I think the program would be in good hands with her. I think we have the same philosophy of coaching. It’s something I’m going to miss tremendously. I did this for my family, and it just feels like the right time to face some new challenges in my life.”