Former El Camino student thrives as head coach of women’s volleyball team

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What one is exposed to at a young age is essential towards the development of one’s character. It is often the deciding factor determining what type of example you’ll set and how you’ll live your life.

First year women’s volleyball head coach Liz Hazell was seemingly born to lead. She said her father, Tom Hazell, set the example for her growing up with his awesome job and his ability to connect with all types of people.

“We grew up at El Camino, dad got a job in 1979,” sister Beverly Hazell said. “It’s like a second home.”

She grew up in a home with an open door policy, so during her adolescent years the neighborhood would typically gather at her home during holidays where her family would gracefully share their hospitality.

Liz is the oldest of three children and has set an example for her siblings from day one, allowing competition to fuel her to success.

“We were successful because, even though we were competing with other kids, we were really competing with our own family,” Beverly said.

She added that even the card game Uno is like a contact sport in their family, while also expressing that her sister (Liz) is the mastermind behind it.

Liz was a three-sport-athlete at West Torrance High School and began playing volleyball at age 13.

“I hated it at first,” said Liz.

Initially, Liz wasn’t very good at volleyball, something she wasn’t quite used to, but that didn’t last long.

“She didn’t make a serve over (the net) maybe the entire first year,” Beverly said.

Beverly added that soon thereafter, Liz was playing junior varsity as a freshman at West High School, where she earned the nickname “Shooter,” like Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore, due to her competitive spirit.

After high school Liz attended EC, in 2000-2001, where she won Athlete of the Year, just as her father had done at EC 30 years prior, along with her sister Beverly four years after. During her time attending EC, Liz was also co-captain of the volleyball team which placed fourth in state.

“Once a Warrior always a Warrior,” said Liz. “I try to totally embrace that.”

Liz’s family-oriented lifestyle, hard work and dedication have been driving forces behind her success in volleyball as well as in life.

“Playing, I was very proud of her, how much she succeeded here (at EC) and was a very strong leader of the teams she played on,” Tom said.

After serving as an assistant coach at EC under coach Le Valley Pattison, Liz is now living out her dream as head coach of women’s volleyball.

“I’m super excited, that was the goal,” said Liz. “I had been an assistant for 11 years and (after) playing at EC, I have pretty much been at EC my whole life.”

Being the “volley dork” that she is, Liz also looks to use coaching as a tool to positively cater to future athletes.

“As a coach, I want to make sure I give students everything I can so they can reach their highest potential as student-athletes,” said Liz.

It takes a unique type of person to be fulfilled by competition and have a desire to teach others and Liz is unique in that right.

“She’s a very selfless type of athlete, she’s somebody that would give up something to make sure the team won,” said Tom. “I think that’s one of the strongest attributes she brings to this program.”

Her upbringing, maturity and personality as an individual makes Liz tailormade to be a coach and also succeed as a leader amongst our community.

“Just being respectful and competing, it’s what we do,” said Beverly.

It is safe to say that Liz is prepared for the challenge.

“A day without competition, is like a day without sunshine,” said Tom.

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