Longtime Augusta Prep head volleyball coach Rich Bland, who led the program to tremendous success for more than two decades, is stepping down from coaching. His former student, player and assistant, Hannah Shook, will take over the program for the 2024-2025 school year.
"I've loved working with these amazing young ladies, their families, referees, fellow coaches," Bland said. "It's been a big part of my life for the past 22 years. "I'm leaving it in great hands."
Bland led the Augusta Prep volleyball program to a pair of state championships, four additional state championship appearances, 16 Final Fours and 17 region titles. During his tenure, Bland amassed a 424-174 overall record.
He will remain at Augusta Prep as a Middle School history teacher. Bland will now be able to watch his daughter, Layla, play more college volleyball at Emmanuel. He'll also be able to help take care of his daughter, Ruby.
"I'll get to take a step back and be a fan and enjoy watching my daughter play in college," he said. "I'll also be able to spend more time with my family and my oldest, our special-needs angel, Ruby, who is getting out of high school. She'll have a different transition, so I'll be able to help her with that."
Hannah Shook, one of Bland's former students and standout volleyball players at Prep, will become the new varsity volleyball coach. Shook, formerly Masiongale, has been the varsity assistant and JV head coach the past four seasons at Prep. Shook, a coach for the CSRA Heat volleyball program, is an Augusta Prep third-grade teacher in the Lower School.
"She's going to put her own stamp on it and continue the tradition we've had here at Prep," Bland said. "I couldn't feel better about it."
Hannah Rogers, another standout Prep volleyball player, has helped assist the varsity and JV programs the past six seasons. She now becomes the JV head coach and will continue to assist the varsity program.
"The girls will continue to have great leadership," Bland said about the two Hannahs, a pair of Augusta Prep lifers, taking over.
Augusta Preparatory Day School is an independent, college preparatory school serving children ages 2 through Grade 12 from the greater Augusta-Aiken area. Augusta Prep seeks to enroll a group of diverse students. We follow an open admission policy, whereby qualified candidates are admitted without regard to religion, race, nationality, economic background, or ethnic origin.