Liz Brenner returns to JHS as a coach

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Jesuit alum Liz Brenner ‘11 is leading the volleyball team to success once again, this time from the sidelines instead of the court.

Head volleyball coach Ms. Zimmerlee offered Brenner the assistant coaching position after coaching Brenner during her time at Jesuit.

“I respected Liz for her hard work ethic, skills, and her passion for the game,” Zimmerlee said.

For Brenner, the decision to come back was easy.

“I had a great four years here, through the encounter and athletics and the community feel and I just wanted to be a part of it again.”

After Brenner graduated from Jesuit, she continued her remarkable athletic career at the University of Oregon.

Recruited specifically to play volleyball, opportunities quickly arose in other sports after the end of her freshman season. The basketball team suffered when a key player broke her thumb, so the coach called Brenner to step in. In the spring, the softball team’s back-up catcher tore her ACL and Brenner got the call once again.

Her athletic success didn’t stop there. Her sophomore year she substituted softball for track, and her junior year at U of O she picked up beach volleyball.

A psychology major, Brenner wasn’t always on board with the idea of coaching.

“I always kind of thought I didn’t want to be a coach because I was really hard on myself, so I was thinking, ‘well if I’m so hard on myself, how am I going to be able to coach?”

However, she realized what she had been missing out on after assistant coaching at Sheldon High School last year.

“I really enjoyed that, and it kind of shocked me, but I’ve had an absolute blast getting to share my knowledge and teach these girls, and they’re doing a great job, listening well and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Her coaching philosophy is fairly simple. Brenner believes in positivity and encouragement, with just the right amount of honesty.

“I’m just trying to make them the best players they can be,” Brenner said. “Definitely, if they’re not doing something right, I’ll let them know, not meanly, but I’ll let them know. I try to do a lot of positive reinforcement.”

The volleyball team was quick to appreciate Brenner’s attitude and knowledge.

“I think she offers a lot of valuable feedback because she played at Jesuit and she went farther also,” varsity volleyball player junior Chloe Golik ‘18 said.

“She’s also a really good all-around player so I think that every position can benefit from her coaching.”

As for the future, Brenner doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

“I’m really enjoying it, and I love being back at Jesuit. It’s a great place to be and an even better place to coach. We have great kids and great players so, yeah I plan on coaching for a little longer.”