Tayler Gray always admired how her mother, longtime Sam Houston State head volleyball coach Brenda Gray, approached every day with enthusiasm.
Now the younger Gray hopes to bring that energy to A&M Consolidated. Tayler Gray was named the new head volleyball coach at Consol, athletic coordinator Lee Fedora announced Monday.
Gray looks forward to building off of former head coach Jennifer Kazmierski’s program and jumping in with a veteran squad.
“I think there’s no substitute for experience,” Gray said. “I think the more people you have coming back … it’s easier to pass along your goals. I think it’s going to be a great year with the veterans coming back and just the way Jen left the program.”
Gray, who had been named assistant volleyball coach at University of Texas-Arlington in February, comes from a family with rich Bearkat tradition. Along with her mother, a 1982 Sam Houston alumna who has coached there for 35 years, her father played football and her brother played baseball and was a volunteer assistant at SHSU. Gray was a standout on the volleyball and softball teams and served as an assistant on her mother’s staff for five years before moving to Arlington. She cited proximity to family and a previous relationship with Kazmierski as reasons to take on the Consol job.
Gray also coached club volleyball at Texas Advantage Volleyball in Spring for four years and at Aggie Elite Volleyball, Kazmierski’s club, last season.
Kazmierski retired after six years at Consol to spend time with her children. She posted an 111-63 career record and led Consol to the Class 5A Region III quarterfinals and a 37-12 finish last year, its best season since 2014.
Though Gray was a setter in college, she knows every facet of the game is crucial and thinks her experience as a college coach will help her coach all positions. She said every practice will begin with fundamentals and position drills, a strategy she hopes to implement at all levels, including middle school. She also hopes to bring her experience with game management, making in-game adjustments and meticulous preparation from the college level to Consol.
“You’ve got to make sure your foundation is solid from top to bottom,” Gray said. “And same thing when I go to junior high in the middle of the day.”
The Lady Tigers open the season at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 with a home match against Manor.