Just days before the start of the season, Oakdale High School’s varsity volleyball program found itself in need of a head coach. Former coach Heather Gonzalez resigned as the head coach with little time to find a replacement. However, 2017 Oakdale High School graduate Samantha ‘Sam’ Nickerson answered the challenge and will be serving as the varsity head coach for the Mustangs.
“I was supposed to be the assistant coach of the varsity team, alongside Coach Heather Gonzalez. Once she resigned I was offered the position,” Nickerson said.
She added that initially, she turned it down because she’s attending school at Cal State University Stanislaus and wasn’t sure if her schedule would allow her to be dedicated to the program.
“However, Kellie Gratigny and I are going to be co-head coaches,” she explained of taking on the task with a fellow former Lady Mustang.
Nickerson played volleyball all four years for the Mustangs during her time at Oakdale High School. She began playing the sport in junior high. She failed to make her seventh grade team but she did not become discouraged and tried out again her eighth grade year. She made the eighth grade squad and also played competitive volleyball for various teams during her career. She also coaches for Double Trouble Volleyball Club U12.
“I loved my time as a Mustang. I enjoyed everything about the sport and I want this group of players, as well as future players to enjoy their time in the program,” Nickerson said. “I’d have to say that one of my major goals is to make sure the girls have fun, enjoy themselves but also be successful.”
Nickerson is excited for the opportunity to coach at this level as well as working with her new team.
“We have a great mix of players, a good group of girls with potential. All of them are coachable, all 16 of them,” Nickerson said. “I know that Oakdale has had successful coaches in the past, I think we can be successful as well. I am excited to get started.”