Volleyball has always been a passion of Polly Luther’s.
Even when she was a prep playing at Creston, she’s loved the game.
She carried that over into coaching at various levels the past 20 years.
Now, though, family is tugging at her heartstrings more.
It’s where she’s decided her time is best spent for the immediate future.
Luther resigned as Creston head volleyball coach this week after approximately seven seasons on the job.
A medical emergency within the family has taken most of Luther’s time since it first appeared in February. Since then, she’s been spending a considerable amount of time consulting with doctors in Des Moines about what’s going wrong, but a diagnosis has been elusive at this point.
“It means I can’t give the time I feel like is needed to the volleyball girls,” Luther said.
The decision to step away from a sport she loves did not come easily, she said.
“I have a huge passion for volleyball,” Luther said. “I love the sport. I love coaching it. I love the girls.”
But in this case, family comes first.
“That’s where my focus needs to be,” Luther said.
The situation led Luther not to coach club volleyball this spring for the first time in many seasons.
She noted she first started coaching club volleyball 20 years ago when pregnant with daughter Hanna.
Luther relished in watching players grow in their skills and love for volleyball.
It grew even stronger when her daughters were in high school.
“I love their passion for the game, their excitement when you finally get something,” Luther said. “Having kids that also played with a lot of these girls, you got it both on and off the court. You could see their love for the game, love of the sport and had a lot of success in that.”
She recalled seeing pictures from the past of the successes her girls had.
“A lot of times those newspaper reporters get the best shots of the girls celebrating, seeing the excitement in their faces,” Luther said.
In a rebuilding campaign this past season, the Panthers went 8-17 overall and 2-8 in the powerful Hawkeye 10 Conference.
Luther enjoyed seeing the players take those next steps, becoming better.
“I always wanted to share that, that was something that was very important to me, seeing them succeed and do great things,” Luther said. “That was priceless.”
She recalled a stretch in the 2014 when the Panthers went on the road and won a pair of five-set matches over state-ranked teams from St. Albert and Kuemper Catholic as two of the most memorable moments the past few seasons.
“It was just fun,” Luther said.
Luther noted she won’t be far from the court, just not involved in an official capacity right now.
“I don’t relax much when I watch volleyball,” Luther said. “I might sit away from everyone. I’m not going to be very far away.”
Luther did not rule out coaching in the future, but family has priority right now.