Carrboro High School Coach Scanga Named NC Volleyball Coach of the Year
To the many fans of Coach Steve Scanga and the women’s volleyball program at Carrboro High School (CHS), it might be hard to believe, but in 2007, their first year in existence, the Lady Jags went 3-15 for the season. Fast forward nine years, and the program was on its way to a string of 61 wins with no losses, and two consecutive state 1A/2A championships, with Scanga at the helm. No surprise then, that he was recently named the 2018 NCHSAA volleyball coach of the year.
“When I moved to Chapel Hill, my daughter went to Culbreth Middle School, and I was a volunteer coach and helped Coach Chuck Hennessee with the eighth grade team,” Scanga said. “When Carrboro High School opened in 2007, I got the head coaching job. Practice started the first week in August and the school was not even ready for us to be in there. The first team that we had at Carrboro was very young and inexperienced; we were happy to have won three games.”
It didn’t take long for CHS to make its mark on the regional volleyball scene, with many players winning conference or state awards during multiple seasons. One of their stars, Destiny Cox, played four years for Scanga as outside hitter. Now she plays varsity volleyball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Destinee Dorsey is another heralded Jaguar playing for Scanga. As the only freshman on the 2016 state championship team, she played libero and has developed into a defensive specialist, with one year left to compete for CHS.
April Ross, athletic director at CHS, said, “Coach Scanga emphasizes excellence in all facets of his coaching and strives to get the most out of his players no matter their talent level.”
From his first days coaching at CHS, Scanga built traditions and rituals. “I wanted the team to attempt to make three volleyball plays even, if we were not successful,” he said. “I wanted them to take an approach and hit the ball, even if we were not successful. To encourage this, I had a little wand with a star on it. Every time they did the right thing - I would wave my little wand and give them a star. As the program progressed, the star stuck around. I give each new varsity player a new ball at their first practice. They put their stats on this ball after every match. A=ace, K=kill, S=assist, D=dig, and they also keep track of their stars. When they graduate from Carrboro, they take their balls with them.”
“The first two weeks of the season we practice from 9:00 -2:00 each day,” Scanga said. “We spend the first two hours working on basic volleyball skills, then spend an hour eating lunch together. We spend the next two hours working on team games. Of those three sessions, lunch is the most important. It is when the team gets to know each other and form the necessary bonds to make the team thrive. Maybe it is my Italian heritage, but bonding over food is the best way to get to know your family. We really try to stress that this is your volleyball family, and being part of a family means when it is time to fight, no team can match our intensity.”
Scanga also emphasized the importance of collaborating with an excellent junior varsity coach. “Linda Lang is my JV coach and is one of the reasons that we are so successful. She is a wonderful fundamentals teacher and she prepares the girls to move up to varsity.”
Ross said, “Coach Scanga epitomizes the description of a top tier high school coach. He is organized, dedicated, makes competing fun and is passionate about the sport of volleyball. His passion for volleyball extends outside of Carrboro High School; for example, on several occasions, he has given new volleyballs to schools who did not have enough quality equipment so that they can become better competitors. Coach Scanga has helped shape the development of volleyball in the area by working with the CHVC and sponsoring a summer camp each year.”
Congratulations, Coach Scanga!