(With Park View High School slated to merge with Bluestone HS to form the new Mecklenburg County HS in 2022, the Brunswick Times-Gazette and the South Hill Enterprise are running an ongoing series that looks back at some of the outstanding athletes, teams and coaches and their stories through the years.)
The Park View High School volleyball team has been a contender year-in and year-out over the past decade and a half under the guidance of Coach Beth Callahan.
The veteran coach took over the Lady Dragons volleyball program in 2006 and went 7-7 in her first season and was named the Southside District Coach of the Year.
The Lady Dragons improved to 10-8 the following season and went 11-6 in 2008.
Her only sub .500 campaign came in 2009 when Park View went 8-10 before the program took off the following year.
Park View qualified for the regional playoffs for the first time in 2012 when they posted a 12-7 mark and then improved to 17-6 in 2013 behind the strong play of Dare Wright who was named the district’s player of the year.
The Lady Dragons went undefeated in district play in 2014 and finished the campaign with an 18-2 mark.
Park View repeated as district champions in 2015 and went a perfect 19-0 in the regular season before falling in the 3A Conference 25 semifinals.
The Lady Dragons went undefeated in district play for the third straight year in 2016 before again falling in the conference semifinals.
Park View lost to Southampton four times during the 2017 season but finished as the district and regional runner-up and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history on the way to a 19-7 mark in standout Courtlyn Hawkins’ freshman season.
The Lady Dragons captured the district title again in 2018 but lost in the regional semifinals to be denied a second straight state berth despite a fantastic 20-3 record.
Park View set a program record with 23 wins in 2019 while winning the district and finishing as the regional runner-up. The Lady Dragons qualified for the state tournament for the second time in three seasons but fell in the quarterfinals at Goochland HS to finish with a 23-5 record.
Callahan said she got the Park View coaching job in 2006 when Lady Dragons’ softball coach John Manning put in a good word for her.
“John Manning put my name in the pot,” she said. In addition to volleyball, Callahan also coached the JV softball and JV girls’ basketball teams for several years.
She said the volleyball program has really grown over the years.
“We have had so many good kids,” she said. “The program has flourished and it has produced some really good athletes. We are a very close knit group. Having a successful program has helped the new players to fall right in.”
Several of her former players including Shelby Brown and Tiara Boyd have even followed Callahan into the coaching ranks.
Callahan has earned Coach of the Year honors in both the Southside District and the Tri-Rivers District several times during her tenure.
“The most memorable one was the first one in my first year,” she said. “We almost made the district tournament that year and finished tied for fourth with Bluestone after winning only one game the year before. They did a coin toss at Bluestone for the final spot and we lost.”
She said some of her early teams with players like Megan Shepherd, Alyssa Dugger and Shelby Brown helped set the tone for her program.
“They were willing to do whatever was necessary,” she said.
Callahan said she has always been honest and straightforward with the players and parents which has helped maintain consistency and direction in the program.
“The players have always bought in,” she said.
Callahan said she has always followed a rule that if you miss practice, you don’t play in the next match.
One of the program’s standouts a few years ago missed a practice before a big volleyball match.
“She didn’t play,” Callahan said. “You have to hold them responsible for their actions.”
Callahan coached both the JV and varsity teams for a number of years when she started but Paige Harris has coached the Park View JV team over the past few years.
Callahan has an overall record of 203-84 as the varsity volleyball coach at Park View. The Lady Dragons are 99-19 over the past five seasons.
Callahan returned a veteran team with high expectations for the 2020-21 campaign, but the season was lost due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Beth is married to former Park View football standout Ryan Callahan, who played at Hampden-Sydney College, and they have three children: Tatum, Easton and Sawyer.