Remembering a Legend

Volleyball players and coaches recall the art of Wayne Moorman
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wayne Moorman, who coached Bridger volleyball for 40 years, at the Bridger High School athletes awards banquet last week where he said his farewell.

Carbon County News, with the gracious help of Lena Kallevig, sought out numerous past and present players and coaches to talk about their times with Wayne Moorman. We thank everyone for responding to our request. Each person was asked questions encompassing their playing days, awards, a favorite story to Moorman’s influence and life after volleyball.

 

Robin Smith, Bridger Assistant Volleyball Coach, Retiring

I've worked with Wayne for 30 years. I feel blessed for the privilege of joining that incredible journey. There have been so many wonderful moments that are beyond compare. I really have enjoyed every year working with Wayne and the girls. It was also great to work with former players as assistant coaches, Jessi Henigman, Michaela Williams, and for the past 5 years Lena (Frank) Kallevig. It gives you a unique perspective since being from Montana, playing it in high school was not an option for me.

I have coached my entire education career. I started in Wibaux in 1986. During my three years as a Longhorn I was Asst. Jr High Football (3yrs), Asst. HS Boys Basketball (3 yrs), and Head Track Coach (2 yrs). I came to Bridger the fall of 1989. Besides 30 yrs in the volleyball program I was Asst. Track (5 yrs) and Asst. Girls Basketball (3 yrs).

 

Lena (Frank) Kallevig, Bridger Volleyball Coach

I moved to Bridger as a sophomore from Billings Senior in 1995/96 and played outside hitter for Mr. Moorman until 1997/98.

We won Districts, Divisionals, and State all three years as well as the Billings Invitational in 96 and Laurel Invitational in 97.

He was the type of coach that coached pretty hard in practices and just quietly guided you during games. He made sure we stayed calm and focused. I can remember thinking back then that he trusted me too much. Ha! He never got mad and pulled you out for mistakes. He trusted me to snap out of it and get things done.

I have a lot of memories. Many I could share from my playing days but I think my favorites are from coaching with him these last 6 years. He went from being my coach to being my friend and mentor. I have a wonderful Dad that can never be replaced but Mr. Moorman comes in close behind him.  I found out a lot about him as a man, husband, father, and grandfather on our many bus trips. He spoke about his beautiful family most. I learned how he and Barb chose to adopt and love 4 daughters and what that process was like. Being told he was to old to adopt at one point and him saying he had more love to give.  I learned of the heartbreak they endured losing 2 daughters, but lighting up around little redheads because they remind him of his Traci. This past weekend I told Mr. Moorman and Barb thank you for making me feel like family and she said "You are family!" so that ranks pretty high too. He is a loyal God-fearing man and I’m proud to know him.

He encouraged me to get into coaching. He needed another assistant to help with the physical part of practice back in 2004. I fell in love with coaching and thought I had learned all I needed and headed over to the Head coaching position in Joliet. I loved my 3 years there and the girl that I coached but I know now that I left far to soon. I needed to be guided by Mr. Moorman and Mr. Smith a little longer. I came back to Bridger in 2013 and I have been the 2nd assistant ever since. He trusts me to run the AAU program and summer open gyms here and I hope to be allowed to take over and continue the Bridger Volleyball program and make them proud.

I played one season at MSU Northern in Havre before returning home. I would say Mr. Moorman was the reason along with my parents. My sophomore year he pulled me to the side and asked if I had considered playing at the next level and encouraged me to do so. From that moment on I was determined to make it happen. 

 

 

Colette Webber, Joliet volleyball coach,

Volleyball was just becoming more popular when I began playing in the

late 80's.  Wayne was a big reason why I wanted to play.  He was one

of my favorite teachers in Jr. High and just had a fatherly way about

him.  I always knew he cared about me as a person and a player.  I was

a basketball player at heart but volleyball became a favorite sport

for me because I quickly learned that no one can be a ball hog.  It

takes all 6 players on the court to make it work and was truly a team

sport.  I suppose Wayne influenced my decision to coach volleyball in

the fact that he was the coach who helped me love the sport.

We were his first team when I was Senior, to make it to State.  We

finished 4th that year but he won State many times in the years after

that.  I remember my best friend, Cheryl sprained her ankle in warm

ups when we went to State and she couldn't play.  She was one of our

best hitters.  We were all pretty sad but he just stayed calm and told

us he would move things around and we would be fine.  I remember we

struggled to pass a ball at State in one game and he said, "Judas

Priest, girls!!"  He actually got a little loud and we all were a

little shocked.  That was about as frustrated as I have ever seen him

get.    He was a kind and gentle soul and still is.  I have a lot of

respect for him.  I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up coaching

again next year even though he said he was retiring.  There is that

little 7th grader he sees coming up with loads of potential:)

 

 

Kellie (McCarten) Hirsch Class of ‘97

Bridger High School - class of 1997

I played for Coach Moorman during all 4 years of high school -  the seasons of 1994 through 1997.  That was back when volleyball and basketball seasons were flip flopped, so we played volleyball in the winter/spring seasons.  I played through all positions in the rotation, mainly playing outside hitter and setter.  My true love was defense, but that was before the libero position was created.   

 

We won the Class C state championship titles during my sophomore, junior, and senior seasons (1995, 1996, and 1997).  We also won the district and divisional championships all 3 of those years.  During my freshman year (1994), we placed at districts (and possibly divisionals?), but did not make it to state that year.  

Coach Moorman just had a way of making us want to give absolutely everything we had out on the court.  Every ounce of energy - every ounce of fire within us... his passion for the sport was contagious, and it showed during every game, and believe it or not, every practice as well.  He stressed the importance of team and how every single one of us had a contribution to make to Bridger Volleyball.  He also had a way of making me just feel special - like I had something important and essential to making us the team that we were.  I will never forget that feeling.  

My favorite story about Coach Moorman was how at the start of every season, he talked about the importance of each and every position.  He always chose one of us to stand up and demonstrate a skill - whether it was passing, setting, blocking, the kill approach at the net, etc.  And of course, he always had a funny comment or joke for the person doing the demonstrating.  Before I set myself up in a position to pass, I always did this shoulder / arm roll thing.  I didn't even realize I was doing it (for years!) until my senior year, when he brought me up for the last time to demonstrate to my teammates setting up to receive/pass a serve or kill.  And of course, he called me out on it BEFORE I EVEN DID IT...  :)  something like...  "now Kellie, she likes to get herself psyched up by rolling those arms out and getting set up properly."  So he saw things in us that we didn't even see in ourselves.  Which says everything about what a phenomenal coach he is.  

I am now a Registered Investment Advisor and Operations Manager of a locally owned / operated registered investment advisory firm here in Billings.  I am also a fitness instructor at Pure Barre Billings and teach approximately 4 Pure Barre classes each week (2 different class formats), in addition to my full time career.  I've worked my way up through various positions in my career with my investment firm - new accounts, investment assistant, office manager, compliance, operations, Registered Investment Advisor, etc.  If anything, Coach Moorman always taught us the value / importance of hard work and persistence.  He always said that he didn't care about seniority.  If you were younger and had the ability, some of us made the starting team over the older players.  He said that made us a better team.  And it did.  That has served me well in my career.

It taught me that I always had to work hard to get what I needed / wanted.  Never give up because there is always someone out there who is working just as hard as me.  Invaluable life lesson!

I did not play college volleyball on a scholarship, but I did play intramural volleyball at college.  I also played on multiple city league volleyball teams at the YMCA for several years.  I did become a volleyball referee for about 2 years (junior high, high school, and college line judging) before I had to make a decision between that and my career.  But all of that was inspired by Coach Moorman.  He inspired a love for the sport that I still have.  And the beauty of it is, he is literally the MOST modest person I know.  You can tell that in every single one of his interviews and the way he reacts to these compliments of "BEST COACH EVER."  If there is one thing that I could communicate to Coach Moorman, it would be THANK YOU for believing in me - thank you for believing in all of us.  What he has inspired within me took me through high school, through college, into my career, and throughout my life in general.  I don't know if he truly realizes the impact he has had on us as his past players, but believe me....  it's a real thing, and I will cherish Coach Moorman and my part of Bridger High School Volleyball forever.   

 

 

 

Heidi Conard Class of ‘90

Seconded oldest of Coach Wayne Moorman's daughters 

I am the seconded oldest of Coach Wayne Moorman's daughters.  Coach Lena Kallevig had forwarded these questions to me, so here are my answers.

I played volleyball at Bridger from 1987-1990.  I played the position of setter.

I'm not completely clear on how many trophies we won from 1987-1989, but we won the District, Divisional and State Championships my senior year in 1990.

My dad was always a fair and humble coach.  He expected the same from all of his players--work hard, have integrity, and represent your community well.  He also wanted us to remember to have fun while playing the game.  It helped instill a love of volleyball in each of us. He may have had a little more expectation from his daughters as any father would.

My favorite memory is winning our first state championship together.  We made a goal at the very beginning of the season to win state and we followed through.  I have had many conversations with my dad about his teams over the last 28 years and he always sees so much potential and will push them to achieve their best.

This is a loaded question because he is also my dad.  My dad has always worked hard to provide for his family by ranching and teaching, and he really started coaching as a way to be involved with his girls.  It really was a family affair, since my mom also kept the scorekeeping books for many years.  He and my mom have been married for 54 years and have always been a team and so that was a great example to us. He also loves being a grandpa.  When we have opportunity to be together, He is always buying his grandkids ice cream right before dinner just to give us (his kids) a hard time.

I played volleyball at my parents' Alma Mater, Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna, MN from 1990-1993.

 

 

 

 

 

Marci Bunker Marci (Moorman) Bunker Class of ‘01

Youngest daughter of Coach Wayne Moorman

1998-2001/Setter

3-District (1998, 1999, 2000)

2-Divisional (1998, 1999)

1-State (1998)

I also was the manager for

3-District (1995, 1996, 1997)

3-Divisional (same years)

3-State (same years)

He was a GREAT coach. Very humble.  He never took credit for us winning even though HE'S the reason with his coaching (including Robin Smith and Mark Thiel) that we all got to where we were!   Even being one of his children, he still made it enjoyable to play for him. 

There's SO many stories about him, it's hard to pick just one! 

He LOVES his wife! Barbara (my mom) and him are inseparable.  She was ALWAYS by his side whether it was doing the score book or sitting next to him on the bus rides. The love they have for each other is unconditional just like their love for the Lord.

He's ALWAYS been there no matter what.  Through the good times and bad.

He's been supportive no matter the career choice.  He just wants you to be happy!

I played at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. My first year we made it to Regionals and won and then made it to Nationals! He instilled the love for the game into my life. Still love the game to this day!

 

Karen Hiim Benninghoff, Sand, Norway, Class of 98

I played outside hitter in season 1998. We won state championship class C. Wayne was a warm person with a wink in his eye. He made us want to do our best and he built us up as team players, being proud of ourselves, our school and our team. Training was fun and training was hard work.  His style an philosophy was uncomplicated. Drills and setups where simple, no hocus pocus. It was the mentality we/he put into the games and into practice that made us better than the others.

 He had brilliant speeches, the whole season. And he made us smile and laugh. He would make us work so hard that we could hardly stand up straight. He would then make us lay down in a circle, so close that we could hear eachcother breath, smell eachcothers sweat. He than had a speech about team spirit hard work and doing it together. It was brilliant. That speech and many speeches he made has inspired me later in life. Not just on the volleyballcourt, baut also in life. He did it simple, so thought thorough, and so good.

I have had many coaches since, and ive been coaching volleyball. I look back to this year as an exchange student playing volleyball in Bridger as very inspiring.

 I played Volleyball in college in Australia, and in the highest division in Norway for a few years. I now teach at a volleyball high school. Working with volleyball coaches all over the world, I would still say this farmer/teacher from Montana is some of the most inspiring coaching ive been part of.

 

Kodi Taylor-Falls Down, Class of ‘97

1994-1997 Middle Hitter. State Champions 95, 96, 97 Divisional and District Champs 95-97 Billings Invitational Champions 1996 (no trophy but a huge win for us). He is so fun.  He has a great sense of humor.  As a coach I remember him being humble and reserved. He allowed his players to play through their mistakes.  When he had something to say, we all listened. He also found roles for everyone on the team.  Even if it was only 1 or 2 serves a game, he would work his younger players into the game, building their confidence so they were ready when it was their turn. Mr. Moorman would use his humor to encourage us.  He’d use phrases like “my grandma could hit harder than that.”  When we weren’t playing well we would hear “Good grief!” 

 I have used the line “play to win” many times in my life.  In other words, make things happen for yourself.  If you want something, don’t count on others to give it to you.  Do your best and you will create opportunity. He helped me start a workout program as a freshman and he encouraged me to go after a full ride scholarship at a D1 school.  I remember stepping onto the court as the underdogs in many cases and coming out with a W because of that philosophy.  

Played volleyball University of Montana 1997-2000. He encouraged me every step of the way.  I never wanted to disappoint Coach Moorman so that made me try even harder. 

 

Jessie Henigman, Class of ‘99

I played middle blocker for Bridger from 1997-1999. I actually got to be part of another title in 2003 as an assistant coach and got to see some of those younger girls get their own championship and learn the game from Mr. Moorman and Mr. Smith. I was part of teams that won District, Divisional, and State tiles from 1997-1999. Mr. Moorman was a great coach!  He and Mr. Smith both expected us to work hard in practices and work together.  They both emphasized the team concept and how important each person was to the team accomplishing its goals.  I think because of their high expectations in practice, the games came easily. 

I think my favorite stories of Mr. Moorman are always the Paul Harvey themes he had each season. We would get our season scrapbook from the year before with news clippings and pictures and each year always had a theme.  Then the practice before state he would tell the Paul Harvey story and we would all be in tears because we knew this would be the last time that specific team would play together so we knew we just had to play for each other. 

Mr. Moorman inspired me to do my best in everything I do from the smallest detail to my loftiest goal.  He also taught me how important role players are in sport as well as in life and if you have a role, you better fulfill that role to best of your ability, if you're going to commit to something you had better commit to it and see the job is done well. He also instilled in us that the younger kids looked up to us and that we had better conduct ourselves positively and be the role models those young kids deserved.

I didn't play volleyball in college. I played basketball for MSUB, but if Mr. Moorman would have had his way, I would have played volleyball in college.

 

 

Jamie Tuell Timm, Class of ‘91

 I graduated from Bridger in 1991.  Thank you for recognizing this amazing man!

 

I played for Bridger 1988-1991 as an Outside hitter and middle hitter

Our team won the first 2 state championships in 1990 and 1991. I  also won State MVP of the tournament. Mr. Moorman was a patient but  strong coach.  He expected a lot out of all of us and we highly respected him. He believed in all of his players.  He rarely got upset, but if he did you knew it and wanted to please him. He was never condescending but had constructive criticism. He was/is the best coach ever!  

During my senior year there was a horrible accident in Bridger that claimed the lives of 4 kids, one of them being my sister, Jodi Tuell, who played beside me in the front row.  It was only 1 week before District tournaments and our team was needless to say, devastated.  Mr. Moorman was our rock and helped all of us through this rough time while he was hurting as well.  In a small town, everyone is family, and my sister and the other kids were his kids too.  We persevered and  won State 1 month after the accident.  Mr. Mooman has taught me to never give up and look for the positive in everything.

I recently was the club volleyball coach in Laurel and he came to a few games...He likes to now watch my daughter play.  I told him we were having so much and he made sure to say "There's a time for fun, and a time to be serious"  "You need to know the difference".  That's Mr. Moorman! 

I got recruited for track and cross country at MSU- Bozeman.  I did play volleyball in there but only for a short period and switched to Track and Cross Country.

 

 

Jodi (Moorman) Fincham Class of ‘98

Daughter of Coach Wayne Moorman

I played from 95-98 and I was the setter. We won the district, divisional, and state titles 4 years in a row. As his daughter, I took the brunt of the yelling.  He was especially hard on me but it made me work harder.

He would always give a speech before the championship game, and we'd all be crying our eyes out!

I have been very fortunate and very blessed to have him not only as my coach but my dad. I still love to play volleyball and do so every week.

I played for 2 years in college. The reason I decided to play in college was that I loved the game so much, however, I feel like the love for the game was instilled in me at an early age by my dad.

 

Kylee Sidwell (Zent) Class of ‘04

I played volleyball for Mr. Moorman at BHS from 2000-2004. I was a middle blocker.

We won State Championship titles my junior and senior year. That was fall of 2002 and fall of 2003. We were playing during the time the seasons changed from winter to fall. We also had numerous District and Divisional championships.

I don’t have enough good things to say about Mr. Moorman. He was such an amazing coach. The knowledge he has for the game surpasses anybody else I know. He treated each player like they mattered. It didn’t matter if you were a freshman on the court for the first time, or a senior who has started every game. He always supportive, kind, taught us to be disciplined, and taught us to have fun. I can truly say that there is a legacy leaving Bridger High, and his shoes will never be filled!

Truthfully, looking back at all the time I had with Mr Moorman, and I can’t think of only one favorite story. I have too many to tell. Thought every time I think about him, I think about how caring he is and how special he made each team feel. We were all his favorites (class of 2004 maybe a little bit more than the rest though, ha…) 

When I was in high school, playing volleyball for Mr. Moorman taught me to push hard and never give up, to set high goals and strive to achieve. I have gone on to coach volleyball and track myself, and try to use the same coaching aspect. Not a volleyball season has gone by in the 15 years that I’ve been out of high school that I haven’t thought about Mr. Moorman and kept an eye on the Bridger High volleyball team.

I did not play volleyball, but I did do track in college at MSU Bozeman. It was always a fun battle with him about which sport was my favorite.

 

 

Staci Sanford Class of ‘96

I played from 1992-1996 as an outside hitter and we were State Champions 1995 and 1996.

I had the pleasure of having Mr. Moorman as my sixth-grade teacher as well as my high school volleyball coach. In both roles, he was tough but fair and he pushed you to be the best you could be, as a student and as an athlete.

While there are so many funny stories to tell, there is one thing in particular that Mr. Moorman has done that is dear to my heart. On multiple occasions, Mr. Moorman has had to help his team navigate the tough, devastating times that life sometimes gives us and time and time again he has done it with incredible gracefulness, compassion, faith, and unconditional love. Our tiny community has had its share of heartbreaks and often times when a child goes through these situations they turn to their teammates/friends and mentors. I believe Coach Moorman was put on earth to guide his girls through these times and teach them strength and beauty in loss (both on and off the court). This includes having girls that lost a sibling, a parent, or a friend. My senior year, several weeks before we started our tournament run, my father was killed in a helicopter crash. Mr. Moorman was one of my rocks, as well as my teammates’ rocks. He has this way of knowing when you need to just play volleyball and forget, when you need a smile, and when you just need him to hold you, hug you and let you fall apart. Many times these unfortunate events were followed-up with spectacular performances out of the teams, e.g. the state championship in 1992 and 1996. I truly believe that only someone with the leadership and connection to his players that Mr. Moorman has could extract optimal performance out of his players in the face of adversity.

Oh my, where do I start. When asked who was influential in my life, he is always near the top of that list. He taught me not only the game of volleyball but lessons that stretched much further than the game. He would give a speech or say what I affectionately refer to as a “Moormanism” and it had a greater meaning outside of the game. One of my favorite examples is “an ugly win is better than a pretty loss”. While the meaning to the game of volleyball is obvious, I find myself repeating this over and over when times get tough. So many of life’s victories aren’t pretty but they are better than not accomplishing that victory/goal/achievement because you are afraid to take a few bumps and bruises or look a little silly.

Mr. Moorman also taught me to be strong-willed and that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything. He saw the best in us and pushed us to our maximum potential (and then some).

In one of the interviews I saw last weekend he mentioned that the practices were his favorite time. I had to smile, the practices were where he pushed us to be better and where he demanded perfection. If you wanted to win, you had to practice like you wanted to win and you had to do all the little things correct. I don’t know how many thousands of sit-ups I did during my four years of practice due to not doing the little things correctly. Today, I still focus on doing the little things correctly because ultimately that is what leads to success.

In summary, Mr. Moorman was and continues to be very influential in my life. I consider him, along with my teammates, family. He helped build a foundation for my life and he taught me lesson that had value far beyond the court. I am truly blessed to have had my life touched by him.

I didn’t play volleyball afterwards, but I had offers to play. I ended up playing basketball, but my mom was my basketball coach so that probably influenced my choice of basketball over volleyball J

 

 

Bethany Scianna Class of ‘22

Really awesome my first years as a coach, sad I didn’t get him for longer.  He’s the best coach you could have.

 

Melissa Dickerson Scianna, Bethany’s mother

Two other daughters in Bozeman. I knew from the beginning of the season they’d get pretty far. Sylvia went to State last year as a senior and Maddie went as a freshman. Sylvia thinking about being a fitness coach. Think of the 100s of girls he’s influenced it is mind blowing. If he sees success in you that why pushes you.

 

Desiree Jones Scott Class of ‘19

My 8th grade year asked him to stay a little longer and so he stayed and such n honor to have him as a coach and feel very blessed to think he stayed and have him for the last four years, he’s definitely taught us a lot. He has an appreciation for the game.

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, December 21, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, December 24, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 9:30am
    Open 2nd and 4th Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. 206 N ‘D’ Street. More info 662-1060.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

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Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.