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First-year coach has Bishop Gorman humming ahead of state

Gregg Nunley didn’t necessarily plan on returning to coaching.

It just sort of happened.

And he’s happy it did.

Nunley, in his first year as Bishop Gorman’s girls volleyball coach, has guided the Gaels (37-4) to the Southern Nevada championship and the area’s top seed in the Class 4A state tournament, which begins Monday at Eldorado.

Gorman has a bye into the semifinals and won’t play until Friday in Reno.

“I’ve been around volleyball for a while. Volleyball has done a lot for me,” said Nunley, who’s coached for more than 20 years at the high school and collegiate levels. “I just wanted to find a way to teach kids some of the lessons that I’ve been taught.

“Character, integrity, hard work — all of those kinds of things. And as a byproduct, you start to have some success.”

Nunley was an assistant coach at Texas Tech in the late 1990s and most recently served as coach of La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He moved to Las Vegas three years ago and worked as an assistant on Green Valley’s staff before landing a teaching job at Gorman.

He was out of coaching the past two years, Gaels longtime coach Ed Van Meetren retired during the offseason, paving a way for Nunley to return.

“Really glad that this opportunity for this coaching position opened up,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.”

The Gaels this year have rolled through in-state competition and have not dropped a set to local opponents since league play began. They coasted through the Desert Region tournament last week and swept Palo Verde on Saturday to win the first annual Southern Nevada title and clinch a bye in the state tournament.

Gorman junior hitter and Southern California recruit Tommi Stockham said Nunley has created an environment in which the players can have fun but remain accountable to one another. She’s hoping they can capture their second championship in the the past three seasons.

“He’s helped us a lot this year,” she said. “We’ve become closer. We’re trying to get our confidence back up. … Honestly, it’s been one of the best seasons of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

More preps: Follow all of our preps coverage online at nevadapreps.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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