Varsity Volleyball Undergoes Coaching Change

By: Gracie Grady

Hamilton, MICH. – After two seasons with the Hawkeyes, Varsity Volleyball Coach MaKenzie Branderhorst has stepped down as the leader of the Hamilton Volleyball program. Branderhorst coached her team to an improving record over the past two seasons. She will be taking a new job and no longer saw coaching at Hamilton as a good fit.


Branderhorst’s first season at Hamilton was a season focused on learning the basics. They finished with a losing record of 6-29-1. Realizing they had a lot of work to do, the Hawkeyes hit the gym and worked hard on the off season. They finished with an improved record of 14-31-1 during her second season as coach.


Unfortunately, she had some “work changes and life changes” that moved her away from Hamilton Volleyball. She was a “young professional” and has decided to take a different turn in her path. The school and team was surprised by her decision to leave. In her time here, she constructed a team that will continue to grow with a new coach.


Hamilton Athletic Director Jordan Bandstra appreciated that “they definitely improved. She came in kind of at the ground level and was implementing some things where they improved and got better.”


Branderhorst came here when Abby Ekkens resigned as Hamilton’s Varsity Volleyball Coach. Expectations were high following Ekkens resignation. Ekkens lead the girls to a winning season, four out of her seven years as coach. Ekken’s team was district runner-up in her time of coaching.


Branderhorst stepped in and built a strong team over the past two years. She instilled confidence in the players. High school athletics are all about creating men and women of good character through a sport and Branderhorst did just that.


The varsity team only loses Aly Dyke and Nicole Dekker to graduation.  With the remainder of the team being so young, next year they will have to adjust to a new coach. The new coach has not yet been selected as they are trying to get as many applicants as possible. The team is looking forward to see what the new coach can contribute to their team and is optimistic of next season.