Dennis Carey awarded Peggy Johnson Life Time Achievement Award

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In 1985, the New Haven School District hired a 25-year-old graduate of New Haven, Dennis Carey.  Mr. Carey graduated in 1983 from Southeast Missouri State with a degree in Elementary Physical Education.  Carey said, “After I graduated high school I really had no idea what I wanted to do other than be a coach.  So I figured the easiest way to get into coaching was becoming a teacher.”  He had initially wanted to coach basketball, but when he was hired, the only coaching position open was an assistant volleyball coach, so of course he took the position.

In 1990, after being the assistant coach for five years and finding a new love for volleyball, he was promoted to head volleyball coach.  It did not take long for Coach Carey to make a name for himself and New Haven’s Volleyball program.

After just one year as head coach he brought New Haven High School their first ever Volleyball State Championship in 1991.  The following year he made it clear that New Haven was the real deal by winning their second straight State Championship.  Carey began to establish New Haven’s rich tradition in volleyball that is now recognized around the state.

Pictured left to right: Kelsey Peacut, Dennis Carey, and Elise McDonald who were also honored for making this years All-State team.

During his six years as head coach he compiled an impressive record of 131-47, won six straight district titles, won the Four Rivers Conference, was named Class 1 Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992 and the Missourian All-Area coach of the year in 1991.  During these six years Carey coached eight players that were named to the Class 1 All-State team and eight who went on to play at the college level.

On Sat. Dec. 17, 2011 Dennis Carey received the Peggy Johnson Life Time Achievement Award by the Missouri State High School Volleyball Coaches Association at their annual all-state banquet.  This is one of the most prestigious awards given at the state level.

Carey said, “I have always loved coaching because I get to see kids develop and improve, in hopes that they will reach the ultimate goal of having their names on the wall in the gym.  Winning a state championship is a once in a lifetime experience for players and there has been no better feeling than seeing the excitement and joy on their face.  This is probably the neatest thing about being a coach.”

Aside from all of Carey’s coaching accomplishments, some of his proudest moments came later in his career as the assistant coach.  In 2000, Julie Gerdes Westermeyer who was part of the '91 and '92 state teams delivered a third state title to New Haven with her high school coach, Coach Carey at her side.

The same thing happened in 2005 when Jaime Wolfe Hoener, member of the '92 state team, coached her first State Championship with Coach Carey, who coached her team to a state title.

The rich tradition of New Haven’s success in volleyball all began with Coach Carey.  He has been a part of every state title New Haven has won and instrumental to New Haven’s continued success.

Decades from now when people look back in the history books about New Haven Volleyball, the first chapter might as well be titled, “The Coach Carey Era”.