The longtime successful volleyball coach says hell miss the kids, but not the stress and the long hours

Jim Stultz, who built Clackamas High School into a state power in volleyball, has announced his retirement from coaching high school volleyball, after 14 seasons as the Cavaliers’ head JOHN DENNY - Former Clackamas High School volleyball coach Jim Stultz will have no problem keeping busy in his retirement from coaching. He teaches physical education classes at two Portland area elementary schools. An avid unicyclist, hes currently teaching the sport to several of his elementary school students in an after-school program. Last summer he rode a unicycle 13 miles in the Portland Bridge Peddle, and hes considering doing Portland-To-Coast and Seattle-To-Portland rides this spring and summer.

“I will miss the kids — a lot, but I won’t miss the stress,” said Stultz. “For me, coaching volleyball was 24/7. When I do something I’m not going to do it unless I can give 100 percent. Volleyball was on my mind 100 percent of the time. Now I can shut it off....

“When I started coaching I made the decision I’m going to do it right. I wanted kids to be in a program they could be proud of, based on the time they put in, hard work, commitment and sacrifice. I did that for 29 years and I have had to sacrifice. I couldn’t do it halfway. Now I’ll have time for other things....”

Stultz has not left the cupboard bare.

“I’ve left the program in great shape, as one of the top programs in the state,” he says. “There are a great group of kids coming back.... The freshmen went 21-2 last year [10-0 in the TRL]; the jayvee went 20-5 [9-1 in league].”

“It was not an easy decision [to retire],” Stultz says. “I just wanted the pace to slow down — see what else there is to do in life besides volleyball. Being a head coach, there is so much to do. I had to ask myself, ‘Do I want to do this at this same pace forever?’....

“I wouldn’t rule out coaching again someday, but I’m not planning on it.”

Stultz, who is 51, says that with his retirement from coaching volleyball, he’ll have more time to spend with family and to exercise.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Jim Stultz, pictured talking with his Clackamas High School players during the 2012 Class 6A State Championship Tournament, is retiring from coaching high school volleyball after 29 seasons. His high school varsity teams at Clackamas, Centennial, La Salle Prep and Mt. Hood Christian School had a combined win-loss record of 595-226, making him the sixth all-time winningest coach in the history of Oregon high school volleyball.“I’ve always wanted to go to a Duck or Seahawks game in the fall,” Stultz said. “My daughter Hannah is [playing volleyball for Murray State University] in Kentucky and I only made two trips to watch her play last fall....

“I learned to ride a unicycle when I was age 12 and I’ve been riding it on and off all my life. I’ve been riding five miles a day [with the exception of three months last fall] since last June. I want to get more exercise. In August I rode [the unicycle 13 miles] in the Portland Bridge Peddle.... Now, when I come home after school, I’ll have free time to try some other things in life.”

Stultz teaches physical education classes during the day at Woodmere and Capital Hill elementary schools in Portland. He just started an after-school program to teach interested second through fifth graders how to ride a unicycle, and he’s got a waiting list of interested gradeschoolers.

“I purchased 25 unicycles off of Craigslist last summer,” Stultz says. “If there is interest I may start a unicycle club and have the kids perform.”

Stultz first took up coaching volleyball in 1984, shortly after being hired to teach first grade at Mt. Hood Christian School, and he met his wife Laura [Askew] Stultz through the sport.

“The athletic director’s wife [at Mt. Hood Christian] didn’t want to [coach volleyball] anymore,” Stultz recalls. “I didn’t know anything about the sport, but I’d played baseball and soccer, and an extra $50 a month would help with the bankroll. I figured a couple of months and I’d be done....

“It didn’t take long to figure out it was something I enjoyed. I was hooked. I called former friends in college who had played and asked them to come to some practices and help out. I went to clinics, watched a lot of videos and read books.... I’ve been coaching volleyball ever since.”

“My wife’s sister Susan played for me in 1986 and 1987 and that’s how I met my wife,” Stultz says. “Susan said I’ve got a sister I’d like you to meet.... We met in 1986 and we married a year and a half later.”

Stultz’ teams have had plenty of success on the volleyball court.

His teams at Mt. Hood Christian (1984-1991) and La Salle (1992-1997), Centennial (1998-99) and Clackamas (2000-2013) high schools had a combined win-loss record of 595-226 over 29 seasons, placing Stultz sixth among all-time winningest coaches in Oregon high school volleyball.

Stultz’ teams at Clackamas had a phenomenal amount of success. His teams were Three Rivers League champions or co-champions in his last four years at the school (2010-2013). They placed at state three times (third in 2012, fourth in 2013 and fifth in 2011) and they advanced at least as far as the “sweet 16” of the state playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons. In 2012 his Clackamas High varsity squad went undefeated (10-0) in league for the first time in school history and they defeated every Class 6A team in the state at least once.

Before Stultz came to Clackamas the Cavaliers had had only two league championships (1974 and 1996) and they’d placed at state only two times (second in 1974; fourth in 1996).

“We’ve had a turnout of 60 athletes the last two years. Everyone in high school — at all levels, varsity, jayvee and freshmen — plays club, except for maybe one freshman. And it’s been that way for a long time..... My first year at Clackamas we had only one girl that had played club.”

Stultz’ teams at La Salle were AAA state champions in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and they placed fourth in the state in 1996. His La Salle teams were Tri-Valley League champions in 1994-97 and they were a perfect 16-0 in league in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

His Mt. Hood Christian teams won the single A state title in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and they went undefeated (26-0) in 1989. They were state consolation champions in 1988 and they won Casco League and district titles in 1989 through 1991.

Stultz has received many honors from his peers. He was Oregon High School Coaches Association Class 1A Volleyball Coach of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1991; OHSCA 1A Female Sports Coach of the Year in 1990; OHSCA 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year and 3A Female Sports Coach of the Year in 1994; and OHSCA 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year in 1997.

He was selected Oregonian 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year in 1994 and in 1997.

He’s been league Coach of the Year six times — in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2010 and 2012.

He was named Power Plus Class 1A Coach of the Year in 1990, Mizuno Senior All-Star Coach in 1994 and 1997, and Nike Senior All-Star Coach in 1995.

He founded Crusader Volleyball Club in 1986, Metro Volleyball Club in 1992 and North Clackamas Volleyball Club in 2000; was club director for 14 seasons and coached club teams every year from 1986 to 2011.

“When I first came to Clackamas my freshmen team was just learning to serve overhand,” Stultz says. “There was no Junior Volleyball or club program. Last year we had 430 kids in our rec league.”

Asked what he is most proud of, Stultz said, “I really feel like I made some great memories, and that I made a difference in some young people’s lives. That’s my hope. When I was in college at Judson Baptist, my college baseball coach, Denny Rasmussen, made a difference in my life. I loved the sport and I loved the team because of him, and I got my approach to coaching from him.

“He took a positive approach, focussing on positive reinforcement and improvement. Building kids up, instead of yelling and screaming at them and tearing them down when you made mistakes. He cared about us and wanted to teach us more than baseball — commitment, caring about each other, and sportsmanship. Representing yourself and your school in a positive light. Being respectful of everyone and in a way that we could be proud of, even if we didn’t win.”

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