Coaching any high school sport, is not the easiest thing for anyone to do, what with schedules, practices and raising a family at the same time, but if any couple does this well, it is Corey and Darcee Claxon, who both teach at Bloom-Vernon and coach high school soccer and volleyball in the same season and still find success in both coaching and home life. Both of these coaches have had several successful seasons, with this year being one in which they both reached the regionals, Darcee in Volleyball and Corey in Soccer.
Darcee Claxon has been coaching high school volleyball for 15 years at Bloom-Vernon and she had coached two years at Wellston before that. “I actually coached while in college, I played on the team and then in the springs, I coached club volleyball for high school girls.”
When asked what kind of things she does to have girls play and keep them wanting to play and win, “Part of it is, we do a good job of building relationships here in youth programs and I would do camps and you would establish report with kids and you try to make it as fun as possible, but also you have some control making sure you teach them the right way. I think that is really crucial in being successful, fundamentals making sure your kids are fundamentally sound and the other part is having a good relationship with your kids. I also really do love the game of volleyball, it really is a part of who I am. I think that does come through as well, the fact that the kids do know we care about them and we do love them, even if we’re hard on them, I think that helps you to get the best out of your kids as well and usually they leave the program and we have a good relationship long after they’ve graduated.”
Darcee Claxon continued about how different it was to have to coach her own two girls, Gracie and Bri (twins) and she said, “I just have to be mindful of my responses to them, because last year I probably didn’t say anything to Bri, because I was afraid of being too hard on her and my assistant coach was like, ‘no you need to say something to her, you’re getting on everyone else and you need to get after her.’ I expect a lot from them because they are my own kids and I never want someone to say, well you’re just playing them because they’re your own kids, so I feel I have to have a high expectation for them, but I feel like I’m not perfect and I do make mistakes. I still feel like we’ve been able to manage that and kept that balance. I try to make it a point that when I go home, I’m mom. I try to take off that coaching hat and just be a mom, that has kind of been a goal.”
Darcee Claxon will have another daughter joining the team next year, Bella, and she has been playing volleyball and club volleyball and will probably be on the varsity team along with her sisters and Darcee will probably be just the same with her. It is quite unusual, but the Claxon family is quite different in ways. Corey and Darcee Claxon have a total of five girls, the three older ones and then Addison is a sixth grader and will be in Jr. High next year and Ava is a third grader.
How do they balance everything with coaching the same season and having they younger ones at home at the same time? Darcee Claxon said, “We’ve always joked that it takes a village, we are just very fortunate, we’ve got two of Corey’s brothers, Curbie & Kate and Wes & Summer and they are always willing to help out. Then my assistant coach, Erin Howe, along with her husband Adam, have a son Ava’s age so they’ll help take her to practices and different things and my goodness there are so many people in the community that are like, ‘hey I’ll pick her up, or I’ll bring her to the game for you.’ We joke they are the village children. We are just very fortunate to live where we do, because I feel like it’s not just our kids, all the kids at South Webster have people who look out for them, we help each other out, we have each other’s backs, we step in when we need to and that’s what community is about. That’s one of the things that makes our little community especially, a really great place to work and to have children and to be a part of it, it’s a wonderful place.”
As for this year’s volleyball team and the girls being mostly young, Darcee Claxon said that it was a great bonus for her young team to make it to the regionals, so they could get that experience. It will be so beneficial to them down the road. “I look for us to be very successful next year, but I don’t ever want to start out with any kind of pressure or anything like that because a lot of our success is how we focus on the details that need to be done, we’re gonna be disciplined and we’re gonna have that team chemistry and I think if we are able to do those things we’ll be able to accomplish a lot of really amazing things.”
Corey Claxon, Darcee’s husband, has been coaching high school soccer for 19 years, two of them were as an assistant and was asked, do you feel like you miss out on seeing Gracie and Bri, now that they have started playing Varsity volleyball? “There are times when we do play on the same night and the good thing is, we are often scheduled home and home, so I can catch part of games, it’s something that you commit and you really feel like it your thing to do or even your calling to do. There are some sacrifices that go with that, but I still feel like it’s the right thing to do and it’s my calling, coaching. I can think back to my childhood and my parents couldn’t make it to everything and it actually just made it more special when they were there. I grew to appreciate it.”
Corey Claxon, too, has had some winning seasons and was asked what he thought made the boys play for him and do well when they do. “I think first off, our youth soccer program has really helped to bring up good athletes with good skills. I think that maybe they do see that my motive for coaching is not for my own kids, they see the sacrifice that is being made and maybe that does help them to be focused, but I feel like sports was a big part of my life, going to college and playing four years at Mount Vernon,” where he and Darcee both played their sports and met.
Corey Claxon added, “We try to work hard and make it enjoyable, that is a part of soccer, and you can drill drill drill, but you have to enjoy the game and play it for the enjoyment of it and you do those things, and they put their heart in it, good things follow.” He also said that since he and Darcee played at the college level that going through that experience and good coaching, that just allowed them to pass that down. He also said that having the community support was very helpful and helps with their success.
Speaking with Brett Roberts, Bloom-Vernon High School Principal, he had some great things to say about this special couple. “Personally I think both Corey and Darcee are amazing people, they are both amazing educators and amazing coaches, they are truly dedicated to education and to the sports that they coach, they are very passionate about both. They have high expectations of there players and they have constant drive to be the best. I really am amazed to how they pull it off. Not just as educators and coaches, that takes enough time itself, but raising five daughters and then to be able to do that is an extraordinary feat, and then coaching in the same season. They both do it in the fall and they both have a tremendous amount of success.
Roberts added, “I don’t think you could ask for two better role models for a young man or a young lady either, they are tremendous people and they have a true passion for others. We are very very fortunate for South Webster to have both of them. they are both tremendous in the classroom Corey in Jr. High Science and Darcee in High School English and they have a passion to help every single kid learn. Honestly you couldn’t ask for better people, better teachers and better coaches. They are very humble and they are both driven to be successful. They are excellent role models for every kid in this building. Knowing that if they make a decision, it is best for their team and they are doing what’s best in the classroom, it’s not to their advantage, they are thinking of the group, the team.”
Due to the fact that both Corey and Darcee coach during the same season, Corey was asked when he and Darcee had time to spend together alone, “A lot of times, we are gone the same night it’s not like one is waiting home on the other. If we get a Friday night or a weekend off, we make a point to go somewhere and do something and our schedules are sometimes the same, so we take advantage of it and family helps out watching the kids, letting them hang out, that’s important.”
Bloom-Vernon School is fortunate to have this what some may call a ‘power’ couple invest their time and a big chunk of their lives into the lives of those students and players who they truly care for and want to see all of them be successful. Their principal and many of the Bloom-Vernon community are very thankful to have these two take time to be with their kids and be the kind of role models that you want your kids to follow.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights