- Created: Friday, 30 September 2022 05:45
By RICK PETERSON
The guy that didn't know anything about volleyball when he was nudged into the sport more than three decades ago is on the verge of reaching one of Kansas' greatest milestones in Saturday's Centennial League tournament at Junction City.
Washburn Rural coaching legend Kevin Bordewick, who has led the Junior Blues to nine Class 6A state championships in two sports, will enter Saturday's six-school round-robin volleyball event with an overall career record of 999-261 and needs just one win to become just the third coach in Kansas high school volleyball history to join the 1,000 victory club.
And Bordewick, who got his start at Class 1A Randolph-Blue Valley in the late 1980s, might have never been a volleyball coach at all if it hadn't come as part of a package deal that also allowed him to fulfill his goal of becoming a head basketball coach.
"They decided to make a change with the girls position in basketball and asked me if I wanted to do that,'' Bordewick said. "I said, 'Sure,' and they said, 'Alright, it's yours, but you've got to do volleyball and you've got to be the head girls track coach as well.' ''
By his own admission, Bordewick's volleyball knowledge at that point was restricted to watching his sister play the sport.
"My sister played it in high school (at Macksville) and I know she was pretty good at it, but that's all I knew,'' Bordewick said. "I didn't know anything about it.''
Bordewick, a Kansas State graduate, went to work trying to change that and after back-to-back sub-.500 records his first two seasons, he had a breakthough year with the Rams and has never experienced another losing season.
"Two out of the three were losing seasons but the last year we won 20 matches or so,'' Bordewick said. "That first year, I'll never forget. I bet I spent three or four hours just on a practice plan because I needed to make sure that they knew I knew what I was talking about and trying to do, even though I didn't.
"I at least kind of faked my way through the knowledge part, but it's like anything, you're constantly learning.''
Bordewick credits former Kansas State volleyball coach Scott Nelson and former Kansas coach Frankie Albitz for their generosity in helping him learn the game.
"I'll never forget Scott Nelson, who was the head volleyball coach at K-State, and then Frankie Albitz at KU, I called them up and they were so helpful and invited me to their camps over the summer,'' Bordewick said. "I got to be on the floor and they said, 'You want to know anyhing, you just let us know.' Their players helped at both places and I'm going, "Here's D-I college coaches helping a first-year 1A coach,' and I was like, 'How cool is that?' ''
From Randolph-Blue Valley Bordewick moved on to a two-year stint as boys basketball coach at Oskaloosa before then-Washburn Rural girls basketball coach Bill Annan, Bordewick's longtime fast-pitch softball buddy, talked him into applying for a job at Rural.
Bordewick served as the Junior Blues' volleyball assistant to Penny Lane for two seasons before taking over as Rural's head coach in 1995 when Lane became the school's athletic director.
The Junior Blues posted a 22-10 record in Bordewick's first season as head coach at the school and Rural has gone on to post a 952-221 record with 23 state tournament appearances, 20 final-four finishes and seven Class 6A state championships.