It didn’t surprise Jo Huntsinger last year when longtime Lawrence High volleyball coach Joan Wells was inducted into the Kansas Volleyball Association’s inaugural hall of fame class.
However, Huntsinger, who served as an assistant to Wells for 16 seasons before leading the Lions as head coach from 1998 to 2004, never expected she would receive the same honor as her predecessor this summer.
Huntsinger and other KVA Hall of Fame inductees each received a plaque and spoke about their experiences in volleyball at a banquet in Topeka two weekends ago. The former LHS player, assistant and head coach felt as if she had basically grown up with the other honorees, including former Manhattan coach Mary Lou Morgan and former Shawnee Heights coach Kerry Kapfer, who played at Lawrence High.
“It was just a really neat thing to be able to be inducted into the hall of fame, along with those people,” Huntsinger said.
Upon entering the KVA Hall of Fame, Huntsinger felt grateful to her family members for their support through the years. She was the oldest of four sisters to play at LHS, as Jill (Brown), Julie (Francis) and Jenny (Reid) followed in her footsteps.
“It definitely takes a village to support a volleyball player and a volleyball coach,” said Huntsinger, who still teaches human anatomy and physiology at Lawrence.
The ceremony brought up memories of the countless people she played with and coached through the years, many of whom remain in contact with her.
“Every group that goes through Lawrence High always believes that their senior class is the best that ever was,” she said, laughing.
Huntsinger joked she hasn’t redecorated her house around the hall of fame plaque yet, but she was honored to receive the distinction for her time coaching at LHS, which ended in 2004 with the Lions finishing second in Class 6A.
“I’m just real happy I was able to play and coach during the time that I did,” Huntsinger said, “with the people that I did.”