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Karrmayne King reaches 500 wins milestone in volleyball

The longtime Keswick Christian coach and athletic director had already surpassed that mark in girls basketball.
Let the celebration begin. Keswick Christian players hold up a banner and grin big for volleyball coach Karrmayne King moments after King sealed up her 500th career volleyball coaching victory. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

SEFFNER — As the final point of Keswick’s Christian’s match against Seffner Christian landed softly on the gym floor, it was time for the visiting team to celebrate. Keswick Christian won in straight sets, which meant coach Karrmayne King earned her 500th career victory as the school’s volleyball coach.

“It’s all about the girls that are standing over there and all the ones that came before them,” King said. “It’s all about them. That’s what every win represents. It’s not about championships as much as it is about champions.”

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After the match she took pictures with her team and was presented balloons that spelled out “500.” She was also given a game ball and students held up cut out pictures of her face.

King, 57, is in her 35th year at the school. After graduating from Liberty, where she played two years of basketball, she started as volleyball and softball coach and also assisted the boys basketball team.

Keswick Christian players gather around and cheer for volleyball coach Karrmayne King moments after beating Seffner Christian. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

As volleyball coach, she is now 500-370 in 35 years. As basketball coach, she is 571-269 in 30 years.

King said this will be her last year as the volleyball coach. She will remain as basketball coach and the school’s athletic director.

King is part of an exclusive club of area coaches who have led more than one major sport for an extended time. Kaylyn Bayly coached volleyball and softball at both Lakewood and Countryside for more than 20 years. Anne Balderson was Clearwater’s girls basketball and volleyball coach. She won more than 200 games as basketball coach and led the Tornadoes to a state championship in 1997, which was her 500th career win.

Frank Vining of Brandon was 424-93 as volleyball coach from 1978-2002. He was 502-109 as the boys basketball coach. And William Bethel coached basketball and football at Middleton from 1946-71. He was 551-88 as basketball coach and 146-72 as football coach.

But no area coach has won 500 games in two sports. King, who is low key by nature, deflected any praise. But her current and past players couldn’t be happier.

Karrmayne King, surrounded by her team, took her usual intensity into the match Thursday night at Seffner Christian. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

“It’s great to be part of the journey for her to get there,” said sophomore outside hitter Sydney Jackwin, who also plays basketball. “It’s very exciting to be part of the team that makes that happen.”

Senior Rylee Hannon also plays volleyball and basketball.

“You can tell she really cares about us,” Hannon said. “She always wants the best for us. There are times when we may not think it’s the best, but you realize later it is. If you just listen to her and trust her you will learn things on and off the court in every area of our lives.”

And then there is Becky Larsen, who played basketball and volleyball for King from 1989-93. She was on King’s first basketball team in ’89. Her daughter, Audrey, is a right side hitter on this year’s team.

“Winning was important to her but winning wasn’t the only thing,” Becky Larsen said. “She wanted to teach you life lessons off the court as well. I’m so happy that my daughter is here playing for Coach King.”

Keswick Christian fans hold up pictures of volleyball coach Karrmayne King along with 500 signs. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

With the win Thursday night, the Crusaders improved to 14-3. King admitted to having a bit of relief now that she has reached the milestone.

This year’s team is one of the better ones she has had in recent years. No matter what happens, she will step down at the end of the season, although she will miss it.

“My job never gets boring,” King said. “You have different girls every year. There are different dynamics. The skill level is different. It’s always exciting.”

Contact Rodney Page at rpage@tampabay.com. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.

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