College of the Sequoias athletics department hires former Tiger Kim Rix to guide full-time volleyball program

By Ed Martin, Editor
Former Lemoore High School student and athlete Kim Rix was appointed as the new full-time College of the Sequoias volleyball coach. Rix also previously coached the Tigers to success.
Former Lemoore High School student and athlete Kim Rix was appointed as the new full-time College of the Sequoias volleyball coach. Rix also previously coached the Tigers to success.
Photo Courtesy Vanessa Lamb, College of the Sequoias

Another Lemoore High School alum is moving up in the world – in this case, the world of college athletics. Kim Rix – known as Kim Steele in high school, was a bright student and one of Lemoore’s most talented volleyball players ever -  and now she’s College of the Sequoias’ new full-time head volleyball coach.

She comes from sturdy stock. Both parents – Don and Marilyn – were teachers, and dad was a former football player and coach for Lemoore High School.

The Giants haven’t had a permanent volleyball coach since 1990 and asking Rix to guide the program seemed like the logical choice. After all, she’s served as the school’s walk-on coach for the past five seasons, leading the program to four straight playoff appearances, including a 21-9 run a year ago when the Giants finished 14-4 in the Central Valley Conference before falling to Cabrillo in the playoffs.

It’s been a long time (2004) since COS put together a 20-win season.

Volleyball and success seem to come easily to the tall, pretty, LHS alum and mother of four: Christopher 8, Andrew 6,  William 4, and Jonathan barely two years old. After pounding the hardwood courts for the Tigers, Rix played volleyball for COS and then took her skills to the major college level, playing at Cal State East Bay.

She attended COS from 2000-2001 and of course played a spirited game of volleyball. “I was Giant of the Year and first-team all-league, and in my sophomore year we made it to the top eight in the state (during the playoffs).”

Her success at Cal State East Bay was limited. After helping to lead her college team to the NCAA playoffs, Rix tore her ACL in the last game of the season as a junior. “That ended my playing career,” she said. “I ended up moving home. I actually ended up getting married. I moved to Germany because my husband was in the Army.”

While in Germany Rix played volleyball with an Army, Air Force team before returning to the Valley where she and husband Adam (whom she met while attending COS)  lived in Tulare. She finished her degree at Fresno State and then earned a masters’ degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in physical education from Fresno Pacific University.

It was a heady time for Rix who studied at night and took care of a gaggle of kids. “I put the kids to bed and did homework,” she remembered. “It was a struggle but worth it now.”

Why did she decide to enter the coaching world? “When I was playing at COS, the baseball coach was looking for someone to coach his nine-year-old daughter’s (volleyball) team. I helped her serve the ball over the net for the first time, and she jumped up and down with an excited look on her face. I decided right then that this (coaching) is what I wanted to do.”

She began her coaching career as a walk-on at Lemoore High School in 2006 and immediately made an impact, guiding the Tigers to an impressive 31-6-1 overall record, including a perfect 12-0 West Yosemite League championship. That year the Tigers won twice in the playoffs and then fell to Clovis in the Division II finals.

Not bad for a rookie coach.

Her team went 23-12-2 in 2007 and struggled some in 2008 with a 15-15-2 mark. In her final season, in 2009 the Tigers returned to form, winning the WYL with an 11-1 record and finishing at 28-7 overall.

She took a break from coaching her alma mater after the 2009 season to play mom to her growing brood. According to Rix, her husband Adam (married 15 years) is in a new job that allows him to be home more, and with the support of her parents and in-laws Ken and Donna Rix, the former Tiger player and coach decided to accept the new full-time job.

She doesn’t begin her full-time duties until the fall when she’ll coach and teach PE and health classes for the college. “I’ll be a full-time professor and coach.”

Rix recently concluded her 10th year at COS, the last five as the head coach and before that, five years as an assistant.

Rix isn’t slowing down during the off-season. She’s spending much of her time recruiting, one of the primary jobs of the head coach.  “I’m always recruiting. It’s club season in volleyball. We have a recruiting day in the spring, and we go to club tournaments and recruit players. I recruit year-round pretty much.”

The volleyball coaching gig is her “dream” job she admits. Not that she felt entitled to the position, but she’s developed a bond with the program and its athletes, and it appears a bunch of them may be back for another run at a state community college championship.

The new head coach could return as many as 12 players from last season including talented athletes like Christa Pilgrim, Sydney Guinn, and Alexis Carmona, all of whom helped lead the Lady Giants to a 14-4 conference record.

“When I got this job, I told my mom this is what I want to do.” Landing a college head coaching job isn’t the easiest job to find, but when you’ve got talent, loads of experience, and an overwhelming desire to help others follow the same path, then how can one go wrong?

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