Odessa has won 46 NJCAA championships. Basketball's Larry Johnson and rodeo's Ty Murray were both Odessa Wranglers. They dub themselves the winningest junior college in the nation. That tradition and opportunity is just too much to pass up for a Seward volleyball assistant. Alana Rowland leaves Seward after four seasons to begin a volleyball program at Odessa. Rowland assisted Bert Luallen four seasons which saw Seward go 115-67 during those four years culminating in a Jayhawk West championship in 2009. Her husband Chris Rowland has been a Seward baseball assistant as well so the Saints will lose two coaches.
Rowland says despite the bright new future in Odessa, it was still difficult to tell coach Luallen and the incoming players of her decision. But she says these Wranglers are the right fit. "I just thought it was pretty unique," the Farmington, New Mexico and UNM graduate says of her opportunity. "I'm just thrilled that they like me and think that I have the abilities to lead the program in the direction they want to go in. I think it's an awesome move for me."
Although she begins the job at Odessa this fall, they won't begin playing matches that count until 2011. Rowland will be starting from scratch without any players this fall.
The Saints open with a new assistant yet to be named at Lamar against Trinidad State and Chandler-Gilbert August 27.