Teaching comes first for volleyball coaches

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Mandy Retallack makes no bones about it. Teaching the honors anatomy class at Lincoln High School is about as challenging as figuring out the differences between the radius and ulna bones. Those are the two bones in the forearm. One end of the ulna is the bump on the outside of the wrist. The radius is the only bone that moves in the forearm and engages when the hand turns. Students in Retallack’s honors anatomy class examined human bones last Friday as she kept an eye on them. Once classes let out for the day, she went to work in her second job at the school. It was time for varsity volleyball practice. Retallack was hired as a teacher and became a coach at the school in 2001. It was a happy homecoming for Retallack, a 1995 Lincoln High graduate. One season with the junior varsity volleyball team prepared her to take the varsity job in 2002. She was the varsity coach for four seasons before deciding to take a break from the sideline. The break stemmed from Retallack’s inheritance of the honors anatomy class from Mark Fowler, who has since retired. Retallack credits her development as a teacher to Fowler’s mentorship. “Part of the reason I went back (to Lincoln High) was because I wanted an opportunity to work with him,” said Retallack, whose mother, Kris Wyatt, was as a counselor at the school at that time. The passing of the honors anatomy torch piled more on Retallack’s plate than she could handle.She could make do without her coaching stipend much easier than giving away the honors class. Fowler had entrusted her to take care of the class, so volleyball would have to go for the time being. “I’m a teacher first,” Retallack said. “They pay me to be a teacher. I know I’m there to be a teacher.” Retallack could have stayed away from volleyball if Betty Zamora did not need a break. Zamora was looking for a teaching job and would stand a better chance if she was already on campus. The 2002 Lincoln High graduate was determined to return to the school, join the faculty and be a coach. “I kept in touch with the staff. I wanted to keep my foot in the door,” said Zamora, who attended Cal State Chico just as Retallack did. Serving as Retallack’s assistant would be that opportunity if Retallack came back as the varsity volleyball coach. “We talked about it,” Zamora said, “and worked it out together.” Zamora is in his second seasonas Retallack’s assistant and her first year as a math teacher at the school. “She really wanted a job,” Retallack said. “I wouldn’t be (coaching) right now if it wasn’t for her.” Retallack already looks forward to the day when she will walk away from coaching again. She is grooming Zamora to be the varsity coach by allowing Zamora to do more and more with the team. “She runs most of it most of the time,” Retallack said. Zamora will not allow Retallack to sneak away anytime soon “I want to keep her around as long as possible,” she said.