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Munson out at Hudson, off to PHU as JV volleyball coach

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Mon. July 26, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

High school breakups are often messy.

Such is the case between Hudson and former coach Shayna Munson. There might never be an agreement on how it all really ended.

What matters now is that both have moved on. The Cobras volleyball team will get a fresh start with the hiring of Courtney Newton. And Munson is now the JV coach at Palm Harbor University.

The 24-year-old Newton is a Gulf graduate, an assistant under former Hudson icon Linda McQuade in 2008. Newton planned to meet with the Cobras on Monday night for the first time. Many of them were her former JV players.

"I am familiar with Hudson," Newton said. "I know they have had a great program over the years. I have worked with Coach McQuade. It was good to get the experience with her. I think it's going to be a great program. It's going to be tough with a lot of kids going to Fivay. It is going to be a rebuilding year."

Meanwhile, Munson said she was unexpectedly ousted from Hudson. Munson said she was playing on a professional beach volleyball tour in California when former Hudson assistant principal Scott Davey left her a voicemail asking her to contact him.

"When I got the message, I e-mailed him and said I was in and out of service," Munson said. "I didn't hear back from him."

Hudson posted Munson's job while she was out of town and out of contact. Cobras athletic director Andy Schmitz said the job was posted after Munson accepted a teaching job at Anclote. Munson said she took the job because she was laid off from Hudson.

When Munson returned from California, she phoned Schmitz to inform him she planned to coach and that she was ready to host an open gym that night.

"They told me they could find someone better," Munson said. "I'm not the best coach, but I took them to the state final four. For them to say that was pretty wrong."

Schmitz said that's not the complete story, but declined to elaborate.

"I can tell you that's not entirely true," Schmitz said. "From our point of view, she took a job at Anclote. We then had trouble getting in contact with her. When she took the job we decided to see what other options we had. That's really all there was."

Munson went on to guide the Cobras to the final four last season for the first time since McQuade did it in 2004. Munson was named the Times' North Suncoast Coach of the Year.

"I was really looking forward to coaching Hudson," Munson said. "...After they said they could get someone better I didn't know what to say, I just got off the phone."

PHU sent her a text message three weeks later about the volleyball opening.

"The rest of the coaching staff I know, and I get along with them really well," Munson said of PHU.

Newton will teach at Hudson Middle, a short walk to the high school where her father, Keith Newton, still teaches and coaches.

"It's wonderful to be with your family," Newton said. "I look at my dad as a role model. I think it will be neat to be coaching at the same school."

igould@tampabay.com

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