The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

November 7, 2013

Barr-Reeve shines through triumph and tragedy

There isn’t a Starbucks in Montgomery.

There aren’t any yoga studios or herbal spas either. In fact, from the outside, there isn’t a lot that separates Montgomery from almost any other small town that dots the landscape in Southern Indiana.

But for semistate championship winning volleyball coach Amber DeCoursey, there is no other place on Earth she would rather be.

DeCoursey has been a highly successful player and coach at Barr-Reeve and she knows what is important on the volleyball court there — but she knows what is important off the court too, and that is the community.

This season, as her Vikings were marching toward tournament action with everything going their way, they were forced to deal with the reality of a tragedy. And, it was more important than bumps, sets or kills.

On a rainy Sunday morning in late September, Brandon Wagler, brother of JV player Megan Wagler, was killed in car accident while on his way to church.

Wagler had just graduated from Barr-Reeve as valedictorian in May, and was a member of the basketball and baseball teams last season. He was a beloved member of the community and was the son of DeCoursey’s first cousin. He was the kind of graduate in Viking Nation who would have been in the front row cheering on the Lady Vikings.

“He was such a great kid and great athlete. Along with being my cousin, I had him for six years as a student and Mike (Amber’s husband) had him as a player for two years in middle school basketball.”

“It goes to show you that what you think is important (like wins or losses) is not, when something like this happens. We had a situation like this in 2008 to another girl on the team and in 2010 we had the mother of a player involved in a terrible accident. It is those times when you realize how special the community really is,” said DeCoursey.

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