ANNA – It’s called High-Intensity Volleyball Camp and it’s run by someone who certainly knows what that is: Ed Garza of Anna. Garza has been head coach of Austin College women’s volleyball for the last 21 years where he has compiled a 598-235 record — or a .710 winning percentage, one of the top marks in NCAA Division III competition. He’s also coached club volleyball in this area for over a quarter of a century, with 17 of his teams qualifying for the USA Volleyball National Championship tournament.
Since 1994, Garza has offered these High-Intensity camps in communities across North Texas, including Melissa, Anna, Blue Ridge, Princeton, Bonham, Sherman, Denison and Gunter. His annual camp in Anna was held July 17-20 at Anna High School.
“I do camps pretty much everywhere they ask me to come to do them,” Garza said on Day 3 at Anna. “It’s pretty fun. I do it more for the training, to give the kids opportunities. A lot of these kids don’t get the opportunities a lot of these kids in Dallas have, playing in the suburbs.”
Twenty-four girls participated in Anna’s camp, with 20 from Anna and four from Blue Ridge.
Lady Coyotes head volleyball coach Tomika Crosby was on hand, as she is every year for Garza’s appearance. He’s held a camp at Anna since before Crosby became Lady Coyotes head coach nine years ago.
“Every year, he’s helped us,” Crosby said. “Plus, we’ve developed a relationship. He’s like a mentor to me. He’s someone I can go to and get advice about things that we’re struggling with. He’s always open to working with us. He is also really good about coming and watching us throughout the season, seeing the things that we struggle with and the things that we’ve improved on.”
Crosby said that before each camp Garza specifically asks her about her team’s current needs.
“It’s great because he’s able to focus on things that are their weaknesses and help make them a strength,” she said.
Two returning Lady Coyote varsity players, Ally Fudge and Taylor Medrick, attended the Anna camp. Medrick traveled in June to Minneapolis for the USA Volleyball Nationals as a member of Garza’s Summit North 17s team. Fudge has attended these camps since she was a sixth grader.
“Coach Garza really works with the setters a lot to help you get prepared with your hitters,” she said. “It’s like you know them. … You get a lot of reps in his drills, so you get to wash a lot of the rust off from the summer. And if he notices something about how you play, he’ll pull you aside separately and get one of his coaches to help you.”
“I used to do it for free,” Garza said of the camps. “Now I just do enough to cover for my insurance and pay for people who help me out. At different camps, I bring other college coaches in. I have other club coaches that help me out too. … Hopefully, in the future, two or three of these kids will come play for me at Austin College.”
“About 95 percent of the time, we’re pretty positive,” he said. “The other 5 percent is when they get a little lazy and we get on them a little bit. But they’re good kids. I don’t have to do that very often.”
Garza tailors each camp to each community. Some have more seventh graders while others are mostly high-school students. And the bigger the camp, he said, the more help he brings in.
“A lot of the kids going into seventh grade have never touched a volleyball,” Garza said, “especially far north in the North Texas area.”
Garza’s enthusiasm for the game has clearly not yet waned.
“I have been around for a bit,” he said, “and still enjoy getting up and coaching and teaching student athletes. … It’s a fun sport. It’s a lifetime sport.”