Coach Retires After 36 Years of Coaching

Head Volleyball Coach, Laura Park, Retired on August 31st

The Volleyball Team runs to hug Coach Park after Makala McCoy read the messages to the gym.

Maleah Behrens, Editor

Head volleyball coach, Laura Park, retired on August 31st after coaching for 36 years in Lonoke. She announced her retirement to the volleyball team on August 26th. Coach Park has worked in the Lonoke Public School District for 36 years as a coach and P.E. teacher. Many students and athletes were shocked but happy for her. Brooklynn Meredith, a 10th-grade volleyball player, stated, “She will be deeply missed but I know the work ethic and energy she put into our school and volleyball has been greatly appreciated.” Fellow teachers and coaches also mentioned their congratulations but expressed their anguish about Coach Park’s leave. Emily Southerland, the Lonoke High School EAST Teacher and newly appointed head volleyball coach, exclaimed her thoughts on the retirement. “She has given 36 years of service toward Lonoke, and she is always there for anyone who needs help no matter what the time of day is,” Coach Southerland described.

To represent the gratitude that Lonoke has for Coach Park, Coach Southerland organized an event between volleyball games on September 6th. The occasion was filled with track, volleyball, and basketball alumni from the many years that Coach Park has coached. As Coach Southerland announced Coach Park’s accomplishments, Park was surprised and ran to the tunnel in the gym to take a moment for herself. Senior Makala McCoy read off messages from current volleyball players as Jodi Coleman, 12, and Maleah Behrens, 12, carried a basket of sweets for their retired coach. The gym was deafening with the cheers of many past and present athletes and parents that knew Coach Park. The absence of Coach Park will be felt and she will definitely be missed.