Coaches, UIL have positive reaction to second state volleyball tournament in Garland; future site uncertain

UIL athletic director Mark Cousins said Monday that no decisions have been made regarding the future home of the state volleyball tournament.

Cousins said no venues have been ruled in or out, and the UIL will begin the process of selecting next year's home in the next few weeks. He added that there is no timeframe for a decision.

Cousins and volleyball coaches have been enthusiastic in their response to the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, which hosted its second state tournament last weekend.

"Our experience the last two years has been tremendous," Cousins said. "And we've been very happy with attendance."

The state tournament moved from Strahan Coliseum on the campus of Texas State University to the Culwell Center last year because of a conflict with the Formula One race in Austin. The race made hotel rooms around San Marcos and Austin hard to find or too expensive.

John Wilborn, the director of the Culwell Center, said he'd like the tournament to have a permanent home in Garland.

"We'd love to be the primary host of the tournament," Wilborn said. "We think we've done everything possible for it to be able to come back next year."

Wilborn said the biggest issue last year was a lack of practice facilities for teams to use for pre-match warmups. That issue was remedied with the courts at Garland Naaman Forest, which accommodated teams before their matches.

Erin McClanahan, the first-year coach at Prosper, said the Culwell Center is an upgrade from San Marcos. Her team enjoyed tremendous local support from fans, but she would support a return to Garland regardless.

"For my girls this is big time for them," McClanahan said. "I really had to make sure they didn't get caught up in the awe of the Culwell Center. As someone who played D-1 volleyball, this venue most emulates the big show."

Amarillo coach Jan Barker, who has now won championships in both San Marcos and Garland, said the Culwell Center is "a great venue."

"It's absolutely beautiful," Barker said. "If there's one thing I liked about San Marcos better it's that the crowd is a little closer to the court. It's a different aspect and a different view on things. But between both, it's great either way."

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