Heinz enthusiastic about new job

Bryan Veginski
Chuck Heinz

A new coach will prowl the Washington volleyball sidelines this fall.

Chuck Heinz replaces Dawn Davis as the head coach at Washington Community High School.

Heinz, a Washington resident, joins the Lady Panthers’ program after a stint as the Morton sophomore volleyball coach.

“Working with kids is something I truly enjoy,” said Heinz.

Heinz said his wife, Michele, and him are high school sports fanatics, and this is a position he considers a “dream job.”

They also have a boy and girl who are getting into sports.

Heinz knows many of the girls he will coach and has experience facing the other teams Washington will meet in the Mid-Illini Conference.

The lone holdover from last year’s Lady Panther volleyball staff, Clint Reed, has helped make the move smooth for Heinz.

“Clint’s been great,” said Heinz. “He’s made the transition so much easier.”

Prior to doning the Potter red in his return to high-school coaching, Heinz was a two-year coach with the Eastside Volleyball Club.

A 1995 Eastern Illinois University graduate, Heinz taught at Brimfield High School and coached football at Elmwood/Brimfield.

In his second year of teaching, he started a junior-high volleyball program at Brimfield.

Heinz, who left teaching in 1998, now works in Peoria.

Heinz played club volleyball at EIU, and has benefited from many positive influences along the way.

While attending Illinois Central College, Heinz picked up pointers from standout volleyball coach Sue Sinclair and learned more by watching Prairie State Games participants perform.

Betty Ralston, a former highly regarded EIU coach, took an interest in Heinz’s pursuits.

Another individual who helped was Ed Jackson, now an assistant at Fresno State University. Jackson served one year as a graduate assistant at EIU, and Heinz took advantage of Jackson’s incredible skills.

“They all helped build my knowledge base for the sport,” said Heinz of the collection of people with diverse backgrounds.

Heinz likes the athletes he has in place for the 2008 campaign.

“I’m really excited about the group I’ve got,” Heinz said. “The girls are anxious to get started on the (Aug.) 13th (first official practice).”

With three 6-foot players and a couple more at 5-9, the Lady Panthers’ height will be an asset.

About 13 or 14 girls have appeared regularly at open gyms, and the spikers have bought into the new weight program.

Heinz wants Washington to compete for the conference championship every year and join the duo of Morton and Metamora as flagship programs in the area.

The Lady Panthers celebrated seven Mid-Illini titles in Davis’ highly successful 15 seasons and collected seven regional crowns.

The ’07 team was 19-16 and placed fifth in the league with a 6-8 mark.

Also joining the Washington volleyball program is freshman coach Katie Evans.

The Chuck Heinz era will begin Sept. 6 in the Limestone Tournament in Bartonville.