Friday’s football games

McNary at Bend 7 p.m.

West Salem at Mountain View 7 p.m.

Sprague at Summit 7:15 p.m.

Redmond at Willamette 7 p.m.

North Bend at Ridgeview 7:30 p.m.

La Pine at Harrisburg 7 p.m.

Chemawa at Culver 7 p.m.

Jewell at Gilchrist noon

Even as a freshman and sophomore in high school, Gabrielle Alley would break things down and sound like a coach. That could be because she grew up watching her dad, J.D. Alley, who will soon begin his 29th season as the wrestling coach at Culver High School.

At just 22, Gabrielle Alley is the new volleyball coach at Culver. Sure, wrestling and volleyball are vastly different sports, but Gabrielle grew up witnessing the nuances of coaching firsthand.

“I’ve seen his process with coaching,” Gabrielle says of her father, whose wrestling teams have won 11 Class 2A state titles. “Everyone thinks of (Culver wrestling) now as being very dominant and successful. But when he first started he had three people on his team. Now he has a lot of state titles. He is so passionate about wrestling, and certainly very passionate about being a mentor. He loves what he does. That was very helpful for me.”

J.D. says his daughter had a “front-row seat” to the numerous aspects of being a head coach.

“Whether that was disgruntled parents, tough losses, wins or injuries,” J.D. says. “I would assume that would help her.”

So far, Gabrielle has found success in her first season as a coach, leading the Bulldogs to a 12-2 record and second place in the 2A Tri-River Conference with two regular-season matches remaining next week.

As a junior at Culver in 2012, Alley helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2A state championship under then head coach Randi Viggiano. Alley went on the play volleyball at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

When Viggiano took over as volleyball coach at Ridgeview High in Redmond, the Culver job was open just as Alley was finishing college. She graduated from PLU in May and was back in Culver coaching open gym by June as the Bulldogs’ new head coach.

The Culver volleyball program has been quite successful for years under Viggiano, reaching the state finals twice since the 2012 championship year and finishing no worse than fifth at state during that time.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Alley says of Viggiano. “I respect a lot what she was able to do for Culver volleyball. She’s made it very clear that she will always be a resource for help if I need it, which is good as a first-year coach.”

This season, Alley says, turnout for volleyball at Culver was the highest ever. Because Culver has a no-cut policy, the program added a JV2 team.

Culver is led by a whopping 10 seniors this season, including outside hitter Irma Retano, middle blocker Madison Miller and setter Rosi Olivera.

While having such a big core of seniors has helped Alley in her first year as a coach, so has the fact that she took over for her former coach, Viggiano.

“The transition was easier, just because I know a lot of the drills and I teach the same fundamentals and philosophy,” Alley says. “I’m also bringing in some different things from PLU with my own spin.”

Being a Culver alumna also helped for a smooth transition.

“I know where the volleyball nets are, I know the admin ladies, I know the AD,” Alley says. “I know everyone, so I’m very comfortable asking for help. And I certainly needed help.”

While Alley grew up watching her father coach, she also took some coaching cues from her mother, Tammy Alley, who is a former JV volleyball coach at Culver. A young Gabrielle would attend practices and matches and watch some of her cousins play on the team.

With lessons from both of her parents as former coaches, Alley knew that coaching was much more than simply two-hour practices five days a week and matches twice a week, especially at a small school.

“In 2A, the closest team to us is over 2½ hours away,” she says. “That’s just reality for us. So long road trips and lots of traveling … but it’s been good so far. You can’t ever really be fully prepared for (coaching). My dad has helped me a ton, with coaching questions and rules. I think he likes continuing to be a volleyball dad.”

Indeed he does. Gabrielle is an only child and J.D. and Tammy traveled countless miles, including to a regional tournament in Texas, watching their daughter play volleyball for PLU.

“We’ve really enjoyed following her career from club volleyball as a 12-year-old to being part of a state championship,” J.D. Alley says. “We followed her all over the country. … A parent never wants to see that end.”

Gabrielle — who is self-employed selling insurance in Bend as her day job — says she was fully aware of the immense amount of work that goes into being a high school coach.

“But I just knew that high school volleyball at Culver was such a positive experience for me in a lot of ways,” she says, “so if there’s a way that I can kind of give back and hopefully give a similar experience to the girls now in the program, that would be awesome.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,