Former Bucs' coaches revel in team's regional victory

It was no coincidence that Mike Roberson and Tracy Wilson were the two Grand Haven High School administrators who handed out regional championship medals and trophies to the Buccaneers' volleyball team Thursday night.
Matt DeYoung
Nov 9, 2012

After all, those two helped lay the foundation that made Thursday’s victory — which clinched the program’s first-ever regional title —possible.

Wilson coached the Buccaneers from 1994 through 1999, and in ‘99, she guided the Bucs to their first-ever district championship.

Roberson took over and guided Grand Haven for the next four seasons, reaching the regional finals twice, but never managing a regional championship.

Both were moved nearly to tears by the celebration that ensued Thursday’s Class A regional championship win by the Buccaneers in front of nearly 2,000 fans at Grand Haven Fieldhouse.

“I guess I didn’t realize I’d be this emotional,” said Wilson, who still went by her maiden name of Tracy New when she began coaching at Grand Haven.

“I first coached the varsity team in 1994, so this has been in the works since then, and it’s long overdue. It’s very special, and to win it in our own gym makes it even more special.

“This is a phenomenal group of girls, and to see them come out tonight and pull together as a team and sweep, that’s pretty awesome. I’m extremely proud being part of the program and as their high school principal.”

Roberson had several outstanding teams during his tenure as coach at Grand Haven, and he remembers some big crowds packing area gyms to cheer on the Bucs, but never one as big or as boisterous as Thursday’s crowd.

“It was a great turnout, probably the biggest regional crowd I’ve seen,” Roberson said.

Roberson has had some interactions with this year’s Buccaneers, and early on in the season, he tossed out a challenge to the team.

“I had the opportunity to go into some of their practices, and one of the things I said to them was, ‘Look at that wall down there. What’s missing? This team has a chance to take that next step.

“So I called them out on that early. They’re good kids, they have great talent, coaching, it’s the right situation for them to have success. They’ve had to work at it. If you look at where they were to where they are now, it’s been cool to watch the progression.”

Current Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka said it was wonderful to be able to include Roberson and Wilson in the celebration of Thursday’s win.

“It was great to see (Tracy) and Mike Roberson here,” Smaka said. “It shows a sense of pride that they wanted to be here. Mike and Tracy are part of this. For all the time and effort they put in to getting this program going, this (victory) is just as much for them.”

Katy Walters coached the Bucs the past two years before stepping down to spend more time with her family. Walters was unable to hold back the tears after Thursday’s win.

“This is just so amazing. These girls deserve this so much,” Walters said.
 

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