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CHS varsity volleyball head coach Hamilton quits to focus on family, work
Dawgs made strides after she came
Ceres Highs volleyball program endured five straight losing seasons before Stephanie Hamiltons arrival. Hamilton led the Bulldogs to a pair of playoff berths. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

Stephanie Hamilton has resigned as head coach of Ceres High School's varsity volleyball program.

"I didn't want to announce it until the season was over," said Hamilton, who stepped down to tend to other priorities. "It was a hard decision to make. It was not based on the struggles. I'm not quitting on the girls. My son Lucas is going to be in high school next year. I don't want to miss out on watching him play. My daughter Valerie is graduating from Ceres High. I also took a new position at work. It (coaching) takes a lot of extra time."

The Bulldogs posted a 25-63 record in conference play and qualified for the playoffs twice (2009, 2010) during Hamilton's seven-year coaching stint.

"Coaching there has meant everything to me," Hamilton said. "I wouldn't coach anywhere else. I'm a Bulldog for life. I still plan on being one of their biggest supporters."

Ceres High went 5-43 in league play from 2011-14. The Bulldogs placed last three times.

The Bulldogs tied for second place in the WAC standings (7-3), advanced to the postseason for the second straight year and amassed a 17-8-2 overall record in 2010.

Ceres High qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2004, went 21-13 and finished fourth in the Valley Oak League (9-7) in 2009.

The Bulldogs endured five straight losing seasons (1999-2003) prior to Hamilton's arrival.

"I had some great seasons," she said. "I'm very competitive. I had to learn how to dial it down a little bit. That was the tough part."

The Bulldogs lost 12 of 13 matches on their way to a last-place finish in the WAC standings this year.

"I don't know if we could have done anything differently," Hamilton said.

Ceres High dropped its season finale, 16-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18, at Pacheco on Oct. 30.

"We went five games with a lot of teams," Hamilton said. "We had trouble finishing. That comes from the inexperience."

Ceres High's roster consisted of four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.

"Our team was really close this year," coach Hamilton said. "We had a good group of girls. They didn't have a lot of experience but worked hard."

Valerie Hamilton, Ryleigh Honberger, Cameron Diaz and Nichole Parker will be lost to graduation.

"I think the program's going in the right direction," Stephanie Hamilton said. "We have some good talent coming up. We'll be set up for the next couple of years. I'll be there for the girls if they ever need me."