A lot has happened in Courtney Baker’s life since she last stepped on a volleyball court.
“Four kids,” said the Whitefish native, who pending board approval will be Glacier High’s next varsity volleyball coach. “We lost our oldest, so one is in heaven and three here. One adopted, and two biological.”
Baker is the former Courtney Ferda, who played on three State A championship volleyball teams at Whitefish from 2004-06 and took her considerable skills on the track to the University of Montana. She came back to Whitefish as a volleyball assistant in 2011, and then was named Flathead’s head coach in 2015.
After two seasons — the Bravettes went 15-7, then 3-14 — she resigned. Of late she’s been teaching kindergarten at Edgerton school; her husband David coaches basketball (and yes, volleyball) at West Valley.
Both schools feed into Glacier, which lost the only volleyball coach it had when Christy Harkins announced her retirement after 15 seasons.
“I missed being part of a team and being part of a coaching staff,” Baker said. “I’ve always admired Christy Harkins and her program. In the back of my mind I thought if that job ever came open, I’d have to apply.
“I talked to my husband, and we felt that coaches stay a long time at Glacier, and there might not be another opportunity like this any time soon.”
“Courtney has coached volleyball and track extensively in Northwest Montana,” Glacier activities director Mark Dennehy said in a release sent out Thursday. “Courtney displays outstanding energy and excitement that will connect her well to the student-athletes. She also knows what it takes to lead a successful AA program in Montana, and we are excited to have her.”
Baker is part of an athletic family: Her sister-in-law is Lady Griz great Katie Baker; her dad Mike taught and coached in Whitefish for a generation and she and her husband are on the same path.
“We’re both just passionate about kids,” Baker said. “Even more so than the opportunity to coach, with all that we’ve gone through the past year in the valley, seeing kids struggle — the chance to just be there to not only coach but be there to lend support is important to us.”
Meanwhile Lola, almost 5 years old, Brooks (4) and Cosley (2 1/2) might get the kind of court time their mom enjoyed.
“Dad coached for 20 years,” Baker said. “I grew up in a gym. It’s a dream of mine to see them grow up in a gym.”
Dennehy also announced the selection of Mark Kessler as the school’s first coach for girls flag football, which the MHSA approved as a pilot program last April.