AHS volleyball

In this May 2022 photo, members of the Athens High School volleyball team participate in their annual volleyball tryouts from the AHS gymnasium.

ACS Superintendent Beth Patton and two other board members held an informal meeting with concerned parents of the Athens High School volleyball program on Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m., in order to open a dialogue.

The informal meeting centered on the departure of former head volleyball coach April Marsh, which parents say caught them off guard, and want to know where they go from here, with many of their events right around the corner.

While members of the Athens school system have said they do not comment about personnel matters, members of the school board still held this informal meeting in hopes of providing some sort of dialogue with those most concerned about the loss of Marsh: parents and players.

While multiple parents have voiced that their ultimate wish is to bring Marsh back to the school, that does not seem likely, as the job posting for the head volleyball coach at AHS is currently available online at acs-k12.org/careers.

The current coaching search was confirmed by Athens City Schools, with the job posting first becoming available on May 31, 2022.

One of the parents leading the charge for wanting answers related to the Marsh departure is Chip Lovell, who has daughters on the team. He has been a supporter of Marsh and the volleyball team since her arrival to the school from Bob Jones.

No official reason has been given for Marsh’s departure from the program, but Lovell says the move “blindsided” him and other parents and players, who say they did not learn of the news until May 27, one of the final days of school.

“I just knew how it was going to crush all of (the players),” Lovell said. “When I learned they had just (let go) of Marsh, my jaw dropped. You know, I was just silent.”

According to Lovell and Chloe Jackson, player for the volleyball team, Marsh used the experience to turn it into a learning opportunity.

“Despite all that was going on, she found a way to teach us a life lesson and let us know that some things in life are not going to be fair,” Jackson said. “But, we have to stick together, and she knows how close we are. She told us the hardest part of this whole thing was leaving this program and leaving these girls.”

Jackson also added that most of the team went into the day they learned about Marsh’s departure ready to get extra work in, and were unaware of what was going on.

According to parents, Athens has assured them they will find a suitable replacement for Marsh.

The News Courier reached out to ACS for more information.

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