[Courtesy photo]

After the Grand County High School girl’s varsity volleyball team won its final home game of the season on Oct. 14, the girls swarmed their coaches in celebration and gratitude. Whether any of them go on to college sports or beyond is irrelevant, said volunteer coach Angela Settle. Represented in that win was three years of hard work, personal development and determined commitment.

Settle, or “Ang” as she’s affectionately known by her players, played college volleyball. When she moved to Moab in March 2009 and found out the high school girl’s team needed coaches, she saw an opportunity to jump into the community and help out.

As things worked out, she found her place among the four team coaches working with their freshmen players.

“Angie has this patience level that makes her perfect for working with the new players,” said Brittney Melton, the team’s head coach. “She’s always encouraging and positive with the girls. No matter what happens, she can just smile right through it and keep things positive.”

The varsity team’s members gave their coaches thank you cards after their final home game, and their notes to Settle reflect their appreciation for her lightheartedness and commitment not only to their growth as players, but also as young women:

“Angie, you seriously have been such a light in my life for the past four years! Thank you so much!” one player wrote.

“Angie! You are my favorite. Thank you for supporting me in everything I do, even outside of volleyball. I love you!” said another.

She’s had the satisfaction of seeing six varsity teams graduate. One of the team’s players went on to college volleyball and is now playing professionally in Finland.

When the girls arrive as freshman, they’ve often had passing experience with the game in informal settings, and maybe haven’t felt a sense of their importance as a part of a team, Settle said. Her job is to help them see that by committing to taking a role on the court, one that requires certain skills and focus, they become an important part of the success of the whole team. She hopes the concept sticks with them off the court, as well.

“Volleyball is about being responsible. It’s showing up when you’re sick, it’s missing that after school thing they wanted to do because they’ve committed to practice,” she said. “It’s about the life lessons of commitment to whatever you’ve started.”

Settle also volunteers her time two weeks a month at the Moab Free Health Clinic, testing for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, she provides counseling, and serves on the boards at the clinic and WabiSabi. She appreciates having opportunities to put her energy where she can make a lasting difference, she said.

This Week: Angela Settle