Stephanie Bates has accomplished enough winning on the volleyball court to be a hall-of-famer.
And the highlight of that career is still the state championship she won as head coach for her alma mater Salem High School.
Bates was part of the Class of 2020 inducted into the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association (MHSVCA) Hall of Fame.
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Now the head coach of the Springfield-Catholic High School volleyball squad, Bates was inducted in the MHSVCA Hall of Fame during a banquet Feb. 23.
She got the news of her hall of fame selection in mid-January.
“When they told me about it, I was kind of shocked,” said Bates, who is first cousin to MHSVCA and Missouri Sports Hall of Famer Trish Knight. “But when I thought about it the (numbers) were right up there with the great coaches in the state. It is an honor.”
Indeed, those numbers are eye-popping. In her first season at Catholic during 2019 she cracked the 600-career coaching victory barrier.
She has been a high school volleyball coach for 27 years, 26 as a head coach. And her career coaching record currently stands at 625-199-73.
And it all started at Salem.
A 1987 Salem graduate, Bates was a standout player for the Lady Tigers who went on to play at Drury University.
With Drury Bates was an all-district and all-region player and in 1990 was selected to the NAIA All-America Team. In 1997 she was inducted into the Drury Sports Hall of Fame.
After her collegiate career she returned to Salem to begin her coaching career.
“Salem was my first head coaching job,” she said. “I coached 11 years at Salem – 10 as head coach. Those were special times with some special players.”
Her greatest coaching success came with Salem, where she placed third in the state tournament in 1993, was Class 3 State Tourney runner-up in 1995 and the Class 3 State Tournament state champion in 1996. She was Class 3 Coach of the Year for her efforts in 1996.
She also won seven SCA championships and was conference coach of the year five teams with the Lady Tigers.
Bates left Salem to coach at a larger school, Springfield-Glendale.
She coached the Glendale Falcons for 16 years, 15 as their head coach. In 2008 her Glendale team placed fourth in the Class 4 State Tournament once and earned five Ozark Conference titles. She was OC Coach of the Year five times.
In all Bates has coached 24 all-state players, 45 collegiate players and three All-Americans.
That Salem state championship squad of 1996 finished with a 37-2 record.
“It is (the highlight),” Bates said of that state title with Salem. “To win a state championship you have to have talent, but you have to have a lot of luck too. It just takes a special group, and that group was special. When I coached at Salem that year I thought, ‘Wow, every year will be this great.’ I wish I had taken more time and enjoyed it more.”
After her long coaching stint at Glendale, Bates brought her winning touch to a downtrodden Springfield-Catholic volleyball program last season.
She thought her volleyball coaching career was finished after she resigned following 16 seasons at Glendale.
Bates was still a teacher and track coach at Glendale when Catholic came calling about its volleyball head coaching position, which she accepted just days before the start of the season.
While continuing in her teaching position at Glendale, Bates took the Catholic volleyball head coaching job just a month before the 2019 season was to begin.
Catholic was coming off a rugged six-victory 2018 season. But despite no off-season work with her new squad, Bates turned things around quickly, as the Irish became instant winners and finished the season with a 27-6-2 record, a program single-season record for victories.
“That was a special season,” Bates said about the success at Catholic. “It didn’t end the way we wanted; we were in a tough district and lost to Marshfield in district.”