PREP VOLLEYBALL: Hornback, Schell return to LaRue as head coach, assistant coach

Breea Kirkpatrick Hornback, right, and Ben Schell are returning to the LaRue County volleyball program as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. Hornback played for Schell at LaRue County for four years.

LaRue County volleyball will have some familiar faces on the sideline when it returns to action later this year.

Breea Kirkpatrick Hornback, a LaRue County High School graduate and former Lady Hawk volleyball player, was announced as the team’s next head coach Tuesday. She takes over the role for Jorge Venegas, who stepped in as head coach last season following Molly Howell’s departure because of pregnancy. This will be Horn­back’s first high school head coaching role.

“I just didn’t know how I couldn’t do it for these girls if anything. I always have loved playing volleyball and have always been super passionate about it,” Hornback said. “I’ve had some opportunities to coach where I went to college, so getting to come back here and share my love and passion with these girls at my old high school, it’s pretty neat how everything comes full circle.”

Hornback, who graduated from LaRue County in 2018, played on the school’s varsity team for four years and was the Lady Hawks’ starting libero for three of those years. She also served as a team captain for two seasons and set many team records, according to a news release from the school. The release added that she was a part of 72 wins over her time as a LaRue County player.

Joining Hornback on the coaching staff is Ben Schell, her former coach during her high school playing career. Schell coached the Lady Hawks from 2008 through the 2018 season. The team never missed the 5th Region Tournament over the course of his tenure.

“I’m so thankful that he is assisting me. Being a head coach is a pretty big role and those are big shoes to fill,” Hornback said. “At the young age that I am, although I know that I’m mature, I’m an adult and I can handle the big responsibilities that it takes, there are so many more things that people don’t realize go into head coaching. Schell, without question, stepped up and reached out to me and said ‘I will have your back through it all. I want to assist you.’”

Hornback is a member of Eastern Kentucky University’s class of 2021 and majored in English education. During her time in Richmond, she became involved with assisting the Madison Central High School and middle school programs during the 2019 season.

“It introduced me on how to truly talk and work with teenage girls,” Hornback said of her work with Madison Central. “It also has taught me that coaching is a big old balancing act and it’s taught me how to do life as more of a balancing act. There’s so much more than what people think goes into head coaching. I got very close to the head coach at Madison Central and she really just was honest with me about everything head coaches have to do and what all’s involved. I was very lucky to have her.”

In addition to gaining coaching experience during her time with Madison Central, Hornback also expects her familiarity with both the LaRue County program and Schell to help her in this new role.

“I have a passion for the LaRue County volleyball program obviously. I went there for years and I want nothing more than for this program to thrive,” Hornback said. “Knowing who Schell is as a coach, I think we will balance each other well. He’s a little bit more quiet and I will jump up and down. I’m not afraid to scream and yell, not in a mean way, but my passion comes out verbally whereas he is a little bit more quiet when he’s passionate. We both know each other very well in terms of the conditioning aspects of what we expect for a team and at the end of the day, we both want the team to succeed.”

While she is in the process of developing her overall goals for the program, Hornback said her main desire is to see growth this season.

“I think winning is awesome, getting titles is awesome and I’m as competitive as the next person," Hornback said. “At the end of the day, what matters to me is seeing these girls grow in their confidence in their own abilities and knowing that they can succeed and communicate in a way that will not only prepare them for thriving in volleyball, but thriving in the real world as well.”

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

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