JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Julie Downs has resigned as the head volleyball coach at Marble Falls High School.
She announced her decision May 4.
“Everything started to fall into place,” she said. “We (her and husband Tom) looked at our personal goals. We evaluated the time we wanted to spend with family and time we wanted to spend together. It’s time for me to refocus my life.”
She and her husband bought her family’s farm in Taylor and are in the process of moving. Downs also renewed her real estate license and is examining her career options in that area, she said.
Downs spent five seasons at Marble Falls, averaging 10 wins a season at a time when the Lady Mustangs were battling district opponents Cedar Park Vista Ridge, Lake Travis, Cedar Park and Dripping Springs, all powerhouses in the sport. Vista Ridge and Dripping Springs have played for state championships, while Lake Travis won back-to-back titles before moving up to Class 6A.
In addition to Cedar Park, Vista Ridge and Lake Travis outnumber Marble Falls in total enrollment by almost a 2-to-1 margin.
Downs said Central Texas volleyball has a reputation for outstanding coaching and incredibly gifted athletes, and District 25 was no exception. This district has won the regional championship to advance to the state tournament all five years Downs spent in Marble Falls, and usually two district foes played each other in the regional final.
“It was almost exploding when I came here,” she said. “It’s very competitive.”
In addition to volleyball, Downs spent her springs outdoors with the Lady Mustang track team working with sprinters. Marble Falls captured the 2014 and 2015 district and area championships.
She said the volleyball program has taken steps forward and used a 10-2 lead against Dripping Springs in 2013 as an example. Marble Falls also had a pair of former athletes, Jessica Wynn and Kelsey Bauers, sign to play college volleyball.
“We’ve had four or five matches where we’ve been very competitive,” the coach said. “They’re hitting well against good teams. The kids are competing.”
While it’s the right time for a career change, Downs said it’s not easy to leave. She wants her students to know, though she won’t be teaching, that doesn’t mean she will forget them.
“I’ll always care about them,” she said. “I try to teach them how to deal with adversity, to stand tall and be proud of their efforts. We have a true faith base in our teams. I’ve been so blessed to be a part of what goes on here.”