Ron Kidder, Marietta High's head volleyball coach, added another notch to his coaching legacy Tuesday night, picking up his 300th career victory in a win over league opponent Cambridge.
Kidder began his coaching career in 1996 when he took the helm for the Warren Lady Warriors. He picked up his 200th victory five years ago in 2007, and has kept the victories coming in his tenure with the Lady Tigers.
"When I started coaching volleyball, I never thought about stuff like that," Kidder said at practice Wednesday. "I've been very fortunate to coach a lot talented, hard-working kids."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High volleyball coach Ron Kidder (orange) goes through a practice drill with players’ Mattie Miller, left and Gracie Haas, right, in Sutton Gym Wednesday, one day after his Tiger netters defeated Cambridge for his 300th win as a volleyball boss at Warren and Marietta.
Kidder's players are proud to have helped him reach the achievement.
"We're so honored that we got to give him that 300th win during our careers," said senior Haley Bonar. "We all respect him so much."
This year's Lady Tiger squad sits at 14-4 overall and 6-2 in the East Central Ohio League. Kidder said that what he is proudest of is the year after year success of the program.
"300 wins in 16 years, that's pretty good," Kidder explained. "The consistency part is big for me. It's hard to win at the varsity level, but sometimes it's not hard to have one good season, if you've got a good group of kids. But to stay winning, year after year, that's hard."
Kidder noted several highlights throughout his career, perhaps none bigger than the 2010 team that went 22-0 in the regular season and won the school's first volleyball title in the SEOAL, the league Marietta was in prior to entering the ECOL.
"That's something you never expect to do," Kidder said of going undefeated. "You always figure there's somebody that will beat you eventually. That was a very special year. The program has really turned around. These kids believe in themselves."
This year, the Lady Tigers have a good combination of younger and older players, led by five seniors.
"When they come to play, they're a tough team to beat," Kidder said of this year's team. "They're very good."
Senior Kaitlyn Cozzens has played under Kidder since she was in junior high at Warren and has learned a lot from him.
"He's a very good coach," Cozzens said. "He's a tough coach, but he's taught us a lot about the game. We wouldn't have had this kind of success without him."
Fellow senior Kristen Hill agreed and added "He expects a lot out of us. He knows our ability, and if we're not playing up to out potential, he knows he needs to push us to do our best. He means a lot to us."
Kidder was quick to give credit to not only the players, but everyone around him for his success.
"I have to give credit to God for allowing me to be healthy and continue coaching," he said. "My wife and family have been very supportive, which helps. You can't coach this long at this level with the amount of time it takes without the support of your spouse. Also, I've got to give credit to Sandy (Goins), my assistant coach. She's been with me through almost all of it. She really helps the program and really helps me. You need good coaches in your program to help develop kids."
Senior Alexis Walsh said Kidder has contributed to the team's chemistry.
"He's helped us come together as a team," Walsh said. "We all play well together, and he's helped us become better players."
Kourtney Crum, also a senior, added "Yeah, he can be tough at times, but we still enjoy playing for him. I think we're all really glad that he's our coach."
Kidder was unsure if he'll stick around to see 400 wins, but set no timetable on how long he'll coach.
"As long as I enjoy doing it, I'll keep doing it," the coach lamented. "That enjoyment comes from the kids I coach, the atmosphere, and the parents who are very supportive. I enjoy coaching. I enjoy doing this."
Kidder and the Lady Tigers will go for win No. 301 tonight on the road against Dover.