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June 12, 2013
DALLAS -- Shana Lavier doesn't like to boast about her past accomplishments.
"Oh, that's not important," she said with a laugh, trying to gloss over a former athletic career that could one day probably land her in a school's hall of fame.
Western Oregon's to be exact, where her name - then Shana Hilyard - is scattered across WOU's softball record book.
Oh, and one more thing: She even played pro ball.
Lavier at least gave herself credit for the fact that she played the 1997 season with the Virginia Roadsters, a member of the now-defunct Women's Pro Fastpitch league.
"It was a great experience ... I wouldn't trade it for the world," Lavier, who's been teaching in Dallas High School's special education program for 13 years, said of her short-lived professional softball career.
Lavier also played two seasons of volleyball for the Wolves (1994-95), so it just made sense to apply for the Dallas High varsity volleyball job after former coach Cathy McCarron stepped down following last season.
Last week, Lavier was hired for the job and her return to coaching -- she served as the Dragons' varsity softball coach from 2001-03 -- has the Henley High alum excited.
"I missed it," Lavier said of coaching, which she chose to give up to focus on her family.
The choice to come back was largely based on the "OK" from her husband, David, and their two children, Alex, 11, and Jake, 9.
"It was a big family decision," Lavier said. "My husband and my kids, they had to buy into it, too."
The Dragons, who went a disappointing 3-14 in 2012, are certainly inheriting a coach with plenty of experience in athletic success.
On the softball field, Lavier still holds WOU records for triples in both a season (eight) and a career (15), ranks second in career batting average (.386) and is only the second Wolves player to earn a league player of the year award, which she did in the Cascade Conference in 1997.
She was also a defensive specialist for the Wolves volleyball team, and later served as an assistant coach for WOU Athletic Hall of Fame coach Judy Lovre in 1999.
Like she did then, Lavier said her biggest focus for the Dallas squad will be its mental approach.
"When I was at Western, my goal was to kind of be that mental coach, work on the positive attitude stuff," Lavier said. "If you have the mechanics, the rest is mental. That's kind of our key, I guess."
The other part she wants to instill?
Just having fun.
"You want them to be competitive, but they need to have fun while they're doing it.
"... I'm excited. I know a lot of the girls from just being in the building, they're great kids and it's a great community to coach in, which is exciting."