Harper Creek volleyball coach named to ‘Sports 40 Under 40’

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Terra King never expected to be named a recipient of The Sports 40 Under 40 award, she said. When she was told a few months ago that she was being nominated she didn’t take it seriously. That was until mid-March when her assistant coach and Harper Creek’s athletic director called her on the phone and broke the news.

“It’s an awesome honor,” said Terra King smiling. “I still have a little bit of a hard time with it ‘cause we really preach here that everything’s about a team. Volleyball’s a team sport.”

According to the Coach & A.D. magazine website, The National High School Athletic Coaches Association gives the award out to any individual in the high school sports industry — from coaches to officials —  who exude innovation and committment. Her colleagues agreed that she's  all three attributes and more.

“They joke that I found a way to make coaching a full-time job,” said King who's a stay-at-home mom. “That I have five kids and then I come here.”

King has spent the last 12 seasons coaching from the sidelines at Harper Creek. Under her tutelage, her teams have won district and regional titles and went to the volleyball Final Four twice.

“Winning is fun,” King said. "Everybody wants to win but I feel like that comes second if you build the relationship with the kids. And like I said we do Harper Creek volleyball like a family.”

She said it’s her athletes and connecting with them that drives her. She’s always loved the sisterhood aspect of volleyball. It’s what drew her to the sport as a kid and kept her playing through junior college in Lansing.

“I just love volleyball," King said. "My coach use to call me the social director of the team."

King is going to fly out for a national conference in South Dakota in June. There, she'll get the award along with the 39 other recipients. She said she never got into coaching for the accolades. But is grateful for it. Her focus now is building the school's program for further generations.

“Getting kids excited about volleyball, that's really for me what it's all about,” King said. “We want them to want to play. We want them to get excited about it.”

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