Andrulaitis – smooth run on the court, bumpy off it
FARMER’S KORNER – Tim Andrulaitis will remember most his relationship with the girls.
Andrulaitis recently resigned after two years as head coach of the Summit High School volleyball team, and despite the frustrations of the job that eventually overwhelmed him, his daily interaction with the players was rewarding.
“It wasn’t only volleyball, it was life in general,” said Andrulaitis, an architect by trade who relocated to Aspen in late April. “I learned a lot from them, and hopefully, they learned a lot from me.”
Summit High athletic director Gretchen Nies had hoped last year’s junior varsity coach, Debbie McAllister, would have interest in taking over the program. But McAllister informed Nies on Friday that she will not be coaching next year, although she will remain a teacher at SHS. So Nies will start her search from square one.
“I’m obviously disappointed,” Nies said. “Tim brought a lot to the program, and the kids really respected him. It’ll be big shoes to fill.”
The team had a tremendous run under Andrulaitis. His tenure began with a 16-game winning streak to start the 2001 season and ended at the Denver Coliseum, site of the state tournament, in 2002.
It was a talented team with strong leadership from seniors Ashley Reavis and Aurora Ebert-Santos, and Andrulaitis hoped it would go deeper into the state tournament than it did. The Tigers went 0-3 over the two-day event.
“It’s an intense experience, especially for high school girls,” Andrulaitis said. “There are college scouts, and you’re playing in a huge coliseum. It’s hard to go in there and play your game. There’s so much pressure.”
Andrulaitis was an assistant for three years under former head coach Jodi Adkins before being promoted and said he enjoyed the assistant job more. From paperwork to dealing directly with parents, the head job eventually took its toll.
“The assistant coaching was way better,” Andrulaitis said. “You can actually teach volleyball and not deal with all the other garbage. (Head coaching) was just so much stress on my life that it wasn’t fun anymore.”
Andrulaitis made some controversial decisions regarding playing time, and the resulting confrontations with parents really soured him on the experience.
“I was trying to do the right thing and make the right decisions, and a lot of times, if it affected (someone’s) daughter in a bad way, I’m wrong,” he said. “It’s understandable to a point, but you have to understand all the other factors that affect the decision.
“When I was growing up, I think coaches were more respected. Today, it’s more, “the kid’s always right and the coach is wrong.'”
Andrulaitis is considering coaching at the assistant level at Aspen High School.
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