Bailey Holmes named new varsity head coach for Aspen High volleyball

New Aspen High School varsity volleyball coach Bailey Holmes.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

A 2007 Basalt High School graduate and former Longhorn volleyball player, Bailey Holmes took her share of lumps when she began working for Aspen High School and serving as its junior varsity volleyball coach three years ago.

“I love it. It’s Aspen. It’s so fun up here,” Holmes said Friday. “At first I definitely got a lot of comments about being a traitor and whatnot, but I think my mom has gotten used to me wearing red instead of purple when I come around the house.”

Holmes, 28, who is a special education paraprofessional at AHS, took another major step in her ongoing Aspen assimilation on Thursday when she agreed to become the next head varsity coach for the Skiers’ volleyball team. She replaces Matt Bergdahl, who decided to step down earlier this year after serving as Aspen’s head coach from 1999 to 2007, and again from 2012 through the 2016 fall season.

“I’m embarrassed to say I might have cried a little bit. I was so excited. It’s a no-brainer for me, for sure,” Holmes said of accepting the position only a day before. “There is always a hesitation with change, but it just felt right. I didn’t want anyone else to run the program. I wanted it to be me, so it just felt like a natural thing.”

A knee injury her senior year at Basalt brought an end to Holmes’ competitive career. She attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she played recreationally. Prior to becoming the JV coach at Aspen, she spent two seasons as the JV coach for Basalt.

Holmes currently is pursuing a teaching degree online through Colorado Mesa University. She also is a certified massage therapist.

“Bailey has been a magnificent assistant coach within the Skiers volleyball program for the past several years,” AHS Athletic Director Jay Maher wrote in an email announcing the hire. “Bailey has been building her knowledge of coaching in preparation to take the next level of coaching should a position be presented. We are lucky to have her dedication, love and passion for our kids and volleyball for the future of the program.”

The Aspen volleyball team is coming off another good, but maybe unsatisfying, season. The Skiers finished 11-11 overall in the fall, but did not make the postseason. The team lost a handful of seniors from the fall, but is bringing back what is expected to be a strong group; many of the returners played under Holmes on junior varsity.

“This will be my fourth year. So all the girls I started with as freshmen are going to be seniors. It’s going to be fun,” Holmes said. “I think this year’s team has the potential to be really good. I know the girls already and they know me, so it’s going to make for a super smooth transition. I know their positions already and they don’t have to get used to a new coach.”

Holmes has a lot of work ahead of her before the fall season starts. She is beginning the process of finding a coaching staff — including finding a JV coach to replace her — and learning about all the paperwork that comes with the job.

She doesn’t feel alone in this process, however. While the administration certainly has her back, Holmes also feels that Bergdahl won’t be far away. After all, his own daughter, Maddy, will be a senior on the team next year.

“He’s not a head coach anymore, but he’s still a volleyball dad so he’s still going to be there and I’m probably still going to be learning from him every day,” Holmes said. “I can’t fill his shoes, at all, but I’ve known him for a really long time and I’m lucky to have been kind of molded or mentored by him, I guess. I think he’ll still be really present in the gym, or at least in my ear in helping me. He’s got a ton of knowledge about volleyball, so I think he’ll be a good resource for me.”

Holmes said her main vision going forward is to bring new energy into the program.

“I have a lot of ideas I just need to get organized and put in place,” she said. “I want it to be something the girls are excited to come do.”