Long-time volleyball coach announces retirement

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EC women’s volleyball head coach Le Valley Pattison poses before the match against the East Los Angeles College Huskies on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Pattison announced her retirement from the indoor team last Wednesday and will play her final regular-season home game next Friday. Photo credit: Phil Sidavong

As a player, she was a state champion in 1983, but as a coach, she’s brought multiple banners to the El Camino women’s volleyball team; 18 total, including 16 South Coast Conference championships and back-to-back state championships in 2007-08.

With a current overall indoor volleyball record of 470-134 in her 26th season as head coach, Le Valley Pattison currently has three-straight undefeated seasons against South Coast Conference opponents under her belt.

But on Oct. 19, the long-time volleyball coach announced that she will retire at the end of this season.

“I’ve been talking to Dean (Rory) Natividad about it since about April or May,” Pattison said. “I want to focus on the beach (volleyball) team, it’s a young program and I love it. It’ll be beneficial for the indoor team to get new energy (on the sideline).”

Despite being just 30 wins away from reaching the 500-win milestone, Pattison thinks it’s a good time to make a switch.

“It’s not like I’m (fully) leaving,” she said. “I’ll be around, and there should be a strong pool of people (for my job).”

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Women's volleyball head coach Le Valley Pattison (left) puts up a "five" for her player to serve to that area, while assistant head coach Liz Hazell looks on during the match vs. Cerritos on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Photo credit: Jo Rankin

Pattison thinks the team could benefit from new coaching, but former El Camino volleyball player Brooke Russell had nothing but praise for Pattison and her coaching ability.

“(She) was by far the best coach I’ve ever had,” Russell said. “I learned so much from her and grew a lot as a player. She’s constantly pushing each player to be the best and she cares about each one of (them).”

It’s not just about how much she cares about the team, it’s about the foundation that Pattison has instilled into each and every player that comes through those doors to play at El Camino, assistant head coach Liz Hazell said.

Hazell is a former player and conference MVP from the 2001 season, who Pattison asked to come back and coach about 12 years ago.

“(Pattison) is calm,” Hazell said. “She’s not a yeller (a coach who constantly yells), she trusts that she’s instilled her system in the players. (It’s) about good passing and relentless defense.”

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El Camino women's volleyball team head coach Le Valley Pattison gives her team a pep talk after the fourth set vs. Cerritos College. Photo credit: Jo Rankin

Pattison’s system seems to be perfectly in place being that the Warriors have been conference championships 16 times since 1997 and state championships twice.

“State championships are pretty special,” Pattison said. “But seeing (players) move on and seeing their accomplishments makes me feel proud. I get a big kick out of those ‘remember when’ moments. It’s a valuable experience coming through El Camino.”