Experience is nothing new for Chad Harter. He has been in charge of many sports and activities throughout his time at Smith-Cotton High School: assistant swimming coach, Math Club sponsor, Academic Club sponsor, freshman class sponsor and speech/debate sponsor.
Harter also has been head coach for volleyball, from 2008-10, and he is returning to that role for the 2016-17 school year. During a recent meeting, the Sedalia School District 200 board approved Harter’s promotion from assistant volleyball coach.
Junior Elex Simon said she was nervous about the coaching change from head coach Darcia Koetting, who retired from the position, to Harter, but now is feeling very confident with the district’s decision.
“I am actually more confident because last year’s JV will be this year’s varsity,” Simon said, “so with him being the previous JV coach, he knows how we all play and will use that and build off of it.”
Simon also said Harter has not only helped her with her volleyball skills but also helped her with learning how to be a leader and how to keep her temper under control during stressful games.
Junior Tori Jacobi has played volleyball all three of her high school years. Jacobi said even though Koetting has coached her since she was young, she believes Harter will fill Koetting’s shoes well.
“Our last season was so successful because we’ve all been playing together for a really long time,” Jacobi said. “But I think Coach Harter is a good fit because he always pushes people to be their best.”
Harter has had a passion for the sport of volleyball for many years. Not only is he striving for a successful season full of wins, but he also is focusing on making volleyball a positive experience for high school girls.
“The primary purpose of this volleyball team will be to provide a positive experience for all participants on the freshman, JV and varsity teams,” said Harter. “All other goals are secondary; wins will happen and come from positive chemistry from players (who) learn to work together to accomplish what they could never do on their own on the court.”
Harter was born in Flat River, but he and his family moved to Sedalia in 1977. He started kindergarten at Horace Mann Elementary and graduated from Smith-Cotton. Harter earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Truman State University in May 1995. Sedalia 200 hired him as a math teacher in August 2002. His wife, Shannon, is a teacher at Horace Mann Elementary and his mother, Charlotte, retired as a teacher from the Sedalia 200 district.
Harter is taking humble steps forward into the shoes of head coach.
“While the head position carries more responsibility, it is my preference,” he said. “However, being an assistant is a lot of fun when you have amazing head coaches such as Darcia Koetting, Casey Kindt, Bill O’Boyle or Brandon Wallace as a head coach. I have been fortunate with those that I have had to learn under as mentors and will carry forward what I have learned from them.”
Meredith Kemp is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.