By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Randy Dolson has experienced a lot in 31 years as a volleyball coach.
Year number 32 will present an entirely new challenge for Dolson.
Dolson has been selected as the first head varsity volleyball coach at Liberty High where he will be pegged with building the program from scratch.
“I have never thought starting a program until this came up and it was enticing because of that,” Dolson said. “To have a chance to build something up from scratch and be part of the culture and building the foundation it’s pretty exciting.”
Liberty principal Scott Kibby confirmed the hiring of Dolson on Monday, the second time in three years that Kibby had a hand in landing Dolson as a volleyball coach.
As Athletic Director at West High, Kibby helped bring Dolson to West High before the 2014 season.
Dolson won at least 23 games in all three seasons at West High, compiling a 78-39 record and leading the Women of Troy to the Class 5A state tournament in each of his three seasons as head coach.
West High went 23-15 last season falling to Ankeny Centennial in four sets in the 5A state quarterfinals.
“Randy has such a nice even temperament, he doesn’t ride a roller coaster and get too high or too low and I think in general that is good for nice kids that nice steady approach,” Kibby said. “I’ve enjoyed that when watching Randy work and walking through his practices”
A college coach at the University of Dubuque and Drake, Dolson has led teams to the state tournament in eight of the last nine seasons as a high school coach.
Dolson directed Dubuque Hempstead to five state tournament appearances in six seasons leading the program before coming to West High.
“One of the reasons we came down here was to work for Mr. Kibby at West,” Dolson said. “He was a big reason we came and we are really going to enjoy working for him again, he is a super guy and I think he is going to do a great job.”
Dolson, who will teach in the special-education department at Liberty High, has already begun assembling his coach staff.
The staff will include Dolson’s wife and long-time assistant Peggy who has served as the West High sophomore coach the past three seasons.
Former Cedar Rapids Kennedy all-stater Allie Hutcheson was hired in the Liberty High math department and will also join the coaching staff.
“We have a pretty good staff already,” Dolson said. “Peggy has been my sophomore coach for nine or ten years so that’s a smooth transition. She coached three or four of the Liberty kids on her sophomore team this year and we got to know and watch the kids that played at the freshman level as well.”
Dolson knows the challenges.
Liberty High will feature a roster of predominately underclassmen next fall when it competes as an independent before joining the Mississippi Valley Conference for the 2018 season.
He also sees the advantages that include stellar facilities, a proximity to his home and an aurora of excitement.
“I think the school is going to be a lot of fun, of course there is a lot of excitement already and it has kind of a community feel to it,” Dolson said.
Dolson is the second varsity coach to be announced at Liberty High.
Jeff Kelley was tabbed as the first softball coach by Kibby last month.
It’s a lot like Jeff Kelly I get a good classroom teacher and that has been the complete focus with my hiring has been on the teaching side of things and then getting Randy to do volleyball in addition to coming over and doing what he does in the class room that is awesome,” Kibby said. “I’ve got a couple of nice packages.”