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FARMINGTON – The Farmington High volleyball team will be welcoming back one of its own when the 2016 season starts after the school hired Alana Rowland as the team’s new head coach.

Rowland graduated from Farmington in 1998 and was a two-sport standout in volleyball and softball for the Lady Scorps.

Frank Whalen, the Farmington School District’s athletic director, and Seth Martinez, Farmington High’s athletic coordinator and assistant principal, said Rowland’s passion and excitement for coaching and the game of volleyball set her apart from the other applicants. The fact that Rowland is originally from Farmington was a bonus in hiring her, they said.

“Our biggest thing, aside from the college experience and her knowledge of volleyball, which isn’t in question at all, is she’s an alumni, and her name is on the Hall of Fame wall out there,” Martinez said. “She’s someone that the kids can connect with because she’s a Farmington graduate. She walked the same halls the kids walk through every day.”

Rowland went on to play volleyball and softball at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kan., then enrolled at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., to continue her volleyball career.

After finishing her collegiate playing career, Rowland earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, then received her master’s degree in secondary education and sports administration from East Central University in Ada, Okla.

As a coach, Rowland spent 12 years coaching at the junior college level. She had stops at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan., then at Seminole State College in Seminole, Okla.

In her most recent tenure, Rowland was the head coach at Odessa College in Odessa, Texas.

At OC, she was the first volleyball coach in the school’s history — being hired in 2010, a year before the program’s inaugural season in 2011 — and spent five seasons leading the Lady Wranglers.

“That’s my stamp. I started that program from scratch, and it was my baby. It’s hard to imagine letting somebody else take over,” Rowland said.

During her time in Odessa, Rowland’s teams compiled a record of 91-71, and she earned the Western Junior College Athletic Conference’s coach of the year award in 2013 and 2014.

Rowland said one of the key reasons for the change from the college ranks to returning to Farmington and coaching at the high school level was the opportunity to be closer to her family. The move also give her a more flexible schedule to attend to her four children.

Rowland takes over for Dan Hickman, who resigned as head coach following the 2015 season. Hickman was 49-41 in his four seasons at the helm.

Rowland said she has a simple philosophy for the Lady Scorps when they get on the volleyball court.

“My own personal philosophy is: Do right, and your troubles will be minimal. That’s pretty vague, but I think you can apply that to your home life, school, athletics, community,” Rowland said. “If you do things right, you’re not going to find yourself in too many sticky situations, no matter what you’re doing.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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