High School Sports

For 20 straight years she’s led LC volleyball to state, but No. 21 would be even sweeter

Lynden Christian coach Kim Grycel, right, talks with Emily Veening during a break in a 2012 match against Lynden. Grycel has been selected for induction into the Washington State Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Lynden Christian coach Kim Grycel, right, talks with Emily Veening during a break in a 2012 match against Lynden. Grycel has been selected for induction into the Washington State Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2017. The Bellingham Herald file

For the past 20 seasons, Lynden Christian volleyball coach Kim Grycel has helped her team reach the state tournament. Making it there for a 21st straight year took on a little extra meaning for the Lyncs, as they prepare to enter the Class 1A Northwest District Tournament on Saturday.

They learned Monday that Grycel has been selected for enshrinement into the Washington State Volleyball Hall of Fame, and she will be inducted during a ceremony at the state tournament next month.

“My goal now, is to make sure to get the team there, so that I can have my whole team there to celebrate with me,” Grycel said. “We’ve got to work hard the next few weeks to make sure we can all be there.”

Grycel has coached at Lynden Christian since 1996, leading the Lyncs to 10 league crowns and 19 district or bi-district titles. During the 20 straight trips to state, her teams have claimed 17 state trophies. LC also has advanced to the Class 1A state championship match the past three years, winning titles in 2014 and 2015.

She’s posted a 480-120 record and has been voted league coach of the year eight times, Class 1A state coach of the year twice and the 2016 National Federation of High Schools Volleyball Coach of the Year in Washington state.

Grycel is heavily involved in the sport and coaching at the state level, according to a Lynden Christian release, helping run the coaches’ state rankings and the All-State Volleyball Match and speaking at all-sports coaching clinics and the WIAA Coaches School for volleyball.

But going into the Hall of Fame is something a little bit different.

“It’s the biggest honor I’ve received in my coaching career, and it’s very exciting on a personal level,” Grycel said. “Winning the state titles with the entire team was much bigger for me as a coach, but on a personal level, I’m very honored to be inducted.”

Grycel was quick to credit her assistant coaches, “some of whom have been here almost all 22 years,” and the many talented players that have come through the program.

“They’ve worked hard to keep Lynden Christian volleyball at such a high level,” she said.

Grycel becomes the fourth Whatcom County coach to enter the Hall of Fame, joining former Nooksack Valley coach Trudy Weinheimer (who was inducted in 2005), former Meridian coach Diane Axelson (2006) and former Ferndale coach Terri McMahan (2009).

“I grew up playing when they were coaching,” Grycel said. “I coached against Trudy very early in my career. Those ... ladies were tremendous coaches. To be compared to them and be going into the hall with them is an extreme honor.”

List of Whatcom County coaches in Hall of Fame updated Oct. 23, 2017.

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