Molitor wraps up tenure as Wildcats volleyball coach

Kerri Molitor, who has coached the volleyball team for 23 years, retired from her coaching position.


Special to the News-Times

When Oak Harbor’s volleyball team begins the season in the fall, they will have a new head coach.

Kerri Molitor, who has coached the volleyball team for 23 years, retired from her coaching position.

“The team is in a really good place. I’m so proud of the girls in how hard they worked,” Molitor said. “I’m excited to watch from the sidelines.”

She said coaching volleyball has become a year-round job with participating in summer camps and planning during the off-season. With her son living away, she added, she would like a little more free time to travel. She said she would also like to watch a few college volleyball matches.

Molitor graduated from Oak Harbor and her children were the fourth generation in her family to graduate from Oak Harbor High School. In the early 1990s, she was the head coach at Skagit Valley College. She teaches physical education at the high school.

Athletic Director Jerrod Fleury noted that Molitor had only one losing season during her tenure coaching volleyball. In 2013, Oak Harbor finished the season 4-10 in the Wesco Conference. Oak Harbor qualified for post-season competition that year. The Wildcats eventually advanced to the state tournament where they placed sixth.

“We were the Cinderella team that year,” Molitor said. “All you have to do is get into the tournament. Your record doesn’t dictate if you’re going to win or lose.”

She said the Wildcats compete in district tournaments in most years. In fall 2023, Oak Harbor qualified for the district tournament, but came up one game short of advancing to state.

Fleury added that Molitor’s consistency and devotion to the volleyball program will be missed.

“She has devoted countless hours to the program either coaching, working with kids during the season and off-season or running summer workouts and camps,” Fleury said in an email. “She goes above and beyond to be there for her athletes.”

Roshel Donwen, who played volleyball at Oak Harbor from 2009-2012, also coached with Molitor from 2017-2023. She is an owner of 3 Sisters Market.

“She was an amazing woman who made a big difference in a lot of women’s lives,” Donwen said, adding that Molitor cared for every single player.

After high school, Donwen played volleyball at Pacific Lutheran University where she noticed Molitor’s influence. “She taught me so much. She cared about me and the way I played.”

While coaching at Skagit Valley College and at Oak Harbor, Molitor has seen the game change over the years, noticeably the introduction in the 1990s of the libero position, which is a back-row specialist. The game has become a lot faster.

“Many of the girls are playing at a higher level at a younger age,” Molitor said, adding that Oak Harbor has a great club and that is growing.

Between high school, club, and college volleyball, she wished there would be one standard for the sport.

Oak Harbor named long-time assistant coach Dan Potter as head coach of the volleyball team. He’s been an assistant coach for 10 seasons.

“We are excited to have Dan on staff as we make this coaching change,” Fleury said, adding that the school district had a strong pool of candidates.

With Molitor retiring and assistant coaches Amanda Reed and Donwen taking a step back, Potter is busy recruiting a new coaches.

Potter started volunteering for the volleyball team in 2012 and has coached the freshman and junior varsity teams in addition to helping with varsity.

“I got to learn different ways of doing things,” Potter said of Molitor. “She gave me a lot of opportunities to grow.