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Volleyball icon resigns

Linda McQuade, here working with Hudson players during a practice in 1996, has seven Sunshine Athletic Conference coach of the year awards. She became coach and AD at Fivay in 2010.

JOSEPH GARNETT JR. | Times (1996)

Linda McQuade, here working with Hudson players during a practice in 1996, has seven Sunshine Athletic Conference coach of the year awards. She became coach and AD at Fivay in 2010.

The North Suncoast is losing its top volleyball coach, again.

Fivay's Linda McQuade has resigned as head coach after the best season in the program's brief history, she said Friday.

"I thought we did a great job moving the team into the playoffs," McQuade said, "and it would be a good opportunity to seek a new coach."

McQuade has two years remaining in the district's Deferred Retirement Option Program. She said by stepping down now, she can groom her successor as a volunteer assistant the next two years.

"I thought it would be a good time to get another coach in," McQuade said. "I can help mentor a little bit before I generally retire."

McQuade established herself as the dean of Pasco County volleyball after more than two decades of coaching success. She led Hudson to 12 playoff appearances and three trips to the final four from 1995-2009 in her second stint as Cobras coach. Hudson finished as Class 4A runner-up in 2000.

McQuade has been named the Sunshine Athletic Conference's coach of the year seven times: 1992-93, '95, '97, 2003-04 and '06. She was also the Tampa Bay Times' county coach of the year in 2004, and a handful of former players have become coaches.

"I think she's had a huge impact not just in Pasco but in the sport of volleyball," Fivay principal Angie Stone said.

After leaving Hudson, she took a year off from the sport before becoming the Falcons' head coach and athletic director in 2010. She will remain the school's AD.

McQuade quickly built the Falcons into one of the county's top programs. Her team broke through with a 24-7 record this fall and advanced to the region final for the first time in program history, netting McQuade honors as the Times' North Suncoast coach of the year.

"Just to bring a young team in such a short time to where we've gone is tremendous," McQuade said, "to see them grow with the game and the dedication that we needed from them to do that."

Fivay posted the position on the district employment's website this week. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, and McQuade said she will likely name her successor shortly after Easter.

"I think she has built a foundation that will make it easy for any qualified coach to step in and continue the tradition that she's started to build," Stone said.

Volleyball icon resigns 03/15/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 11:22am]
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