“Initially, it was like, girls aren’t allowed. And I just don’t think I ever took very well to that statement.”
Laurie Glass has spent over three decades coaching volleyball, spending the last thirteen at Leland, her alma mater.
Growing up a Tomboy, Glass took matters into her own hands in 1976- her freshman year of high school- to start Leland’s first-ever girl’s sports program.
“A local school already had girls basketball. And we didn’t. And the athletic director at the time said if I could get seven girls to sign a sheet of paper and find a coach that we can have a team, it was my freshman year then. So I got seven girls to sign a piece of paper,” Glass recalled.
Since then, she’s been a pioneer for girls sports. She currently boasts one of the greatest win totals in the state, many, many district and regional titles, and of course, a state championship. But now, Glass has another title under her belt, the 2023 recipient of the MHSAA’s Women in Sports Leadership Award.
“I don’t coach in order to be in the front…I’d be remiss to say that it has really as much to do with me as it does to all the athletes, I’ve coached all the coaches have coached with me, all the places, we’ve been all the support I’ve had from all the different communities because I didn’t get here on my own,” Glass said.
Glass has complied a long list of accomplishments in her time as a coach. Her record is 415-122-33 (with the exclusion of her two years coaching at Kalamazoo Central). Glass’ success also boasts four conference championships, nine district championships, eight regional titles, two final four trips, two state runners-up finishes, and one state championship.
Outside of her past teams’ accomplishments, she has racked up quite a few individually. She was named the NFHS-National Coach of the Year in 2014, NHSACA-National Coach of the Year Finalist in 2014, MHSCA Coach of the Year in 2014, MIVCA Coach of the Year in 2002, 2006 and 2015, MIVCA Regional Coach of the Year multiple times, and in 2006 Glass was inducted into the MIVCA Hall of Fame.
Glass doesn’t view any of these accolades as a direct reflection of what she’s done, but what the Leland community helped her accomplish.
“This is a reflection of the community, my athletics, my kids, and my coaches, I just think that that’s what I see when I think about that award is somebody’s recognizing that I’ve done good things in the world through athletics, and that, they recognize that I had a support system that that allowed that to happen,” she said.
With the laundry list of accomplishments Glass has under her belt, it begs the question: What is there left to accomplish?
“I didn’t aspire to be in the Hall of Fame. I didn’t even know I was nominated for this. I’m not filling out applications to win more awards. Like that’s not my gig, right? So it takes all the pressure off. So really, I’m in it, I’m in it for them and with them, I’m not in it for me,” Glass said.
Though there is an end in sight for Glass, she will be returning to Leland for the coming volleyball season, where she will continue to coach by her philosophy, ”teach life lessons using the vehicle of athletics”.