The La Cañada High School volleyball program, most notably the girls, is one of the most competitive in the area, and newly-hired head coach Laura Browder is well aware of what she is inheriting.
“We’re lucky to have such rich heritage here,” said Browder. “It’s super important to honor people before you. If you forget the people before you, then you will forget those after. I told the girls in conditioning that I’m not here to build a good program. I’m here to build a dynasty. Let’s go premier. Athletes come and go, but culture and attitude is something we can maintain in the program.”
The La Cañada Unified School District approved the hiring of Browder on Tuesday, and she will take over the girls’ and boys’ volleyball programs.
Browder succeeds LCHS alum Chris Sullivan, who led the girls’ team to a 55-56 record the past four seasons and two CIF Southern Section playoff appearances. The boys’ team was guided by Rebecca Sanchez the past two seasons and compiled a 20-36 record.
The new head coach has experience with boys’ and girls’ volleyball, guiding the Rowland Southlands Christian girls’ volleyball squad to a 71-43 record the last four years. The program was ranked No. 1 in Division 8 and is one of the best teams in Division 7 going into the fall season.
“It was exciting to watch that program grow,” Browder said. “We grew to have a junior varsity and frosh team, which is good for a school that only had sand volleyball. It was sad to leave but exciting to go to a bigger school like La Cañada. We only had 350 kids at Southlands, and I feel like I maxed out there.”
Browder wasn’t searching for a new job but came across the opportunity when she was accepted to be a coach at San Gabriel Elite Volleyball Club, which includes athletes from La Cañada, Flintridge Prep and St. Francis.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “It’s a school that is ranked highly in academics and connected to awesome volleyball clubs. It’s a dream situation to be working at a big public school like La Cañada.”
The local girls and their new coach clicked instantly and are currently conditioning for the upcoming season.
“Oh my gosh, we are having great fun,” said Browder, who created an Instagram account for La Cañada volleyball to show her excitement and the girls conditioning. “They are hard a work right now.”