Volleyball players say goodbye to resigning head coach

Makayla Scheck

Natalie Burton, volleyball head coach of three years, announced that she is stepping down from the position on Jan. 24.

“She has definitely pulled me through this season by encouraging me and lifting me up on the days I was too hard on myself. She made me realize how to trust the process, not just in volleyball, but also in life. She also taught me that no matter what, I have to be a leader on and off the court since I was the voice on the team,” Rockelle Gholson, outside hitter and mass communication junior, said. “I just want to thank her for pushing me to help reach my potential and for always being there when we needed her. I want her to know she will be missed and that we love her!”

Burton has coached the volleyball team for the past three consecutive seasons. In 2015, she began her journey at the university. That year, the season ended with a record of 6-26 and the team ended ninth in the conference. The following year, she brought the team to the quarterfinals for the first time in three years and they ended eighth in the conference.

According to Kristin Silva, junior defensive specialist, Burton has made a positive impact on the volleyball program.

“I’ve actually only been here for the past two semesters, but looking back at the history of this program and what it was, I definitely think she made a positive impact on the volleyball program as a whole. Being someone who knows what it’s like to eat, sleep, breathe volleyball, I hope that she finds another place in the volleyball community in California,” Silva said. “I think this is definitely a bitter-sweet moment for her. She gets to have her family together again, but she’s also leaving one behind. I wish nothing for the best for her in the future.”

The volleyball team racked up 4,206 attacks, 1,332 assists, and 243 blocks this past 2017 season, the final season for Burton. The record was 15-16, this was the most improved record since the 2013 season with 17-13.

“I think next season will be very different, but the way she trained us has prepared us to take on this challenge of adapting to a new coach and the type of program they are about,” Erin Richburg, outside hitter and undecided sophomore said. “I would just like to thank her for the opportunity she has given me to live my dream of playing college volleyball and to wish her the best of luck in her new journey with her family.”