WENATCHEE — Daria Winckler accepted an assistant coaching position for the Wenatchee Valley College volleyball team earlier this year. She didn’t have to wait long at all for a promotion.
Winckler was named as the Knights’ head coach earlier this week, taking over for Kelly Ketcham, who resigned in June.
As a former Knights player, Winckler was a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges sophomore all-star; East Region co-most valuable player; and a 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association first-team all-American.
She went on to play for two years at Texas A&M International in Laredo, Texas. As the Dustdevils’ starting setter, she posted 131 kills, a team-leading 947 sets and 259 digs during the 2012 season.
“Daria is recognized throughout the North Central Washington volleyball community,” said WVC athletic director Greg Franz. “She’s very bright, highly motivated and knowledgeable about volleyball. She is young, and this is her first coaching job, but she’s professional, she presents herself well, and there’s a confidence that this is a young woman that understands the volleyball community and understands the WVC community. I think it’s a great fit; the more I get to spend working with her, the more impressed I am.”
Ketcham was the Knights’ first coach and help start the program in 2007. In his six years at the helm, he led the Knights to two NWAACC Tournament appearances. In 2012, he guided a young WVC squad to a fourth-place finish in the East Division and a postseason berth.
Franz said that Ketcham stepped down because the coach “decided to go in a different direction, and wanted to (seek out) other opportunities.”
“I was weary of recruiting a bit, and I was looking for a change. It got to a point where you know that you’ve done your part, and it’s time to let somebody else do their part,” Ketcham said.
“I’m very proud of the (WVC) program, and I look forward to seeing it continue. It’s a good program, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. We’ve had a lot of great kids come through, and that’s something that I’ll always treasure.
“I’ll always stay connected to volleyball; I could possibly coach (at the club level) again.”
Franz said that the WVC volleyball program “is in a good place” thanks in part to Ketcham’s leadership.
Winckler was unavailable for comment.