As soon as Kelly McCausland's increasingly-demanding teaching job with the Taylor School District and her job as the head volleyball coach at Plymouth started to collide more frequently earlier this year, the popular mentor knew something would have to give.
That something proved to be the volleyball coaching post that she had held since the school opened in 2002.
McCausland announced her resignation at the team's banquet earlier this month.
A former star player at Madonna University, McCausland led the Wildcats' ascension from scratch to one of the most-respected programs in the area.
"My work plate has turned into a platter this year," said McCausland, who recently added the role of head of the English Department at Taylor Truman High School to her teaching position at the school. "Truman is also going through some major transitions and I'm on the improvement committee. I realized the time commitment would be too much to continue coaching.
"I loved coaching here. The thing I'm going to miss the most are the people I've been able to build relationships with the past nine years through volleyball. I really enjoyed helping the girls I coached grow as players, but more importantly, as people.
"Although I'm sad I will no longer be the coach, it's something I had to do. I will remain involved with the program, though. Once you're a Wildcat, you're always a Wildcat."
McCausland's deep knowledge of the sport and upbeat, positive personality were greatly appreciated by her players.
"Coach McCausland came into practice every day with a great attitude," said senior captain Kayla Bridge. "She was always so uplifting and positive. She managed to keep the fun in the game.
"Coach McCausland didn't just focus on volleyball. She made sure things were going well in the rest of our lives. She was a great coach and a great friend to all of us."
McCausland said her workload this past fall convinced her that giving up the volleyball job was the right call.
"Toward the end of the summer, I knew my responsibilities with my career were going to increase, but I thought I'd be able to tackle that and coaching, and I did," McCausland said. "But when this season ended, I had three weeks' worth of work piled up, so I came to the conclusion that stepping down was the best thing to do."
McCausland spearheaded the development of the Kim Renzi Memorial Invitational, a tournament that raises money for a scholarship fund that was established for the daughters of Kim Renzi, a former Plymouth freshmen volleyball coach who passed away in 2009 following a courageous battle with melanoma.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org