The director of the High Performance Volleyball Program in Illinois, Abby Hanger is expanding her horizons once again.
A former player at Belleville West High School and McKendree University, Hanger has been named the girls volleyball coach at Collinsville High School.
A 2010 graduate of West where she was an all-Southwestern Conference player, the 25-year-old Hanger takes over the Kahoks program from Tracy Plagemann, who resigned after leading the Kahoks to a 15-21 last season.
Hanger has been an assistant coach at West, where her younger sister, Kaylee, has been a standout the last three years. The move to coach a Southwestern Conference rival is one that Abby Hanger is looking forward to.
“I was speaking with someone at Collinsville who asked me if I knew anyone who might be interested in the job,” Hanger said. “That kind of got the ball rolling and put the idea in my head that maybe this was a job I would be interested in.
“They have a tremendous amount of talent at Collinsville with a great support system. This is something I have always wanted to do which is to be a head varsity volleyball coach. I am very appreciative of this opportunity to lead this volleyball program. I’m looking forward to being a Kahok.”
With High Performance, Hanger oversees 19 girls and boys volleyball teams of all ages in Illinois. The teams compete in both local- and national-level tournaments during a season that runs from late fall to early July. The high-school season runs from early August to early November.
The head coaching job will be the first for Hanger, but she believes her longtime involvement in the sport gives her the credentials.
“Age is only a number and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of great experience working at High Performance,” Hanger said.
“The Collinsville program is a very good one. It has been down for a couple of years, but like I said before, there is talent. I know they have a very good sophomore class and a few juniors who will be coming back next season. The key is getting girls in the program who want to work hard and do whatever it takes to be successful.”
Successful seasons have been tough to come by at Collinsville lately. The Kahoks last season were 3-4 and tied for fourth place in the SWC with Belleville East and Alton. Collinsville lost to O’Fallon in the Class 4A regional semifinals.
“The Southwestern Conference is a great league for volleyball,” Hanger said. “You look at Edwardsville and you look at O’Fallon and each year those teams have tremendous numbers in their programs. They just reload each year.
“Then you have Alton, Belleville East and Belleville West and they all have very strong programs each year. I believe Collinsville can also be one of those elite teams once again. We just need to believe and come in ready to work as hard every day.”