Jeff Coward - Board President

“I wanted to start a program that spent all its energy and resources on bringing volleyball to kids that don’t have access to the game. Volleyball is the greatest team sport in the world and offers life lessons that anyone at this level will keep with them for the rest of their lives. I take great pride in seeing what my players have gone on to achieve in their adult lives, and take special notice of how many of them have gone on to coach volleyball.

Club volleyball has become so expensive that many kids are left out of the equation and I want KnockOut Volleyball to be the organization that changes how the system works allowing everyone access to the game.”

Coach Coward enters his seventh season as the Pflugerville Panther head coach, his 24th year as a coach and his 16th as a head volleyball coach. He begins the ’14 campaign with a 334-199 career record as a varsity coach. His top team was the ’04 Dripping Springs squad that spent most of that season ranked number one in the state and lost in Regional Finals to Boerne in game five. Coach says, “That team in Drip was tough. Seven of their 32 wins came in situations where they had lost the first two games and had to win three in a row. They never quit. As great as that team was I still look back at that first team of mine with the most fondness. There wasn’t a single player in the program at Hudson Catholic (in ’94) that had ever seen let alone played in a volleyball match when we started the program. Three years later those same kids were in the playoffs it was an amazing feeling.

Thia Coward

Thia is so excited to be a part of Jeff’s dream of making it possible for everyone to play volleyball. “I’ve spent years watching kids not being able to join club teams, and it effects their level of play. Now is the time to change that. I have been in the situation of having to tell my child they can’t play club sports because we don’t have the money. This feels horrible. I am so glad we are changing that with volleyball, here in Austin.”

Shea McBrearty

After a youth heavily influenced by team sports, Shea started her official volleyball journey playing for Knockout's Director and Head Coach, Jeff Coward, at Dripping Springs high school. The memory recalled in Jeff's bio is also Shea's very favorite memory of her high school career- such an incredible team and season. 

Shea's collegiate career was spent as a libero at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. She was a four-year letter winner (2007-10) with the Texans and is the school’s record holder for career digs; with a few other digging record nods in the books.  Her career awards include CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American honors, academic all-conference honors, three selections to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll and was selected for All-Lone Star Conference first-team honors as a senior in 2010. She served as the Texans’ team captain for two years and was chosen as the squad’s MVP as a senior. She was also active in student-athlete life as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. Upon graduating summa laude in 2010, Shea decided to put time back into the program as the team's graduate assistant coach while getting her masters in management and leadership in 2011, which is where her coaching career began. 

She then moved on to become the assistant coach at Navarro College (Corsicana, Texas) where she doubled as their recruiting coordinator and head of player development. During that time she served as an adjunct faculty member and taught a course in business with an emphasis on management and leadership. 

A change of pace moved Shea over to the west coast to become the University of Southern California's graduate assistant in 2013, where she started her second master's degree in Education. Completing one season as the graduate assistant, she was promoted to the Director of Operations role for the 2014 and 2015 season. Shea was directly involved with the team's academic schedules and torturing, community involvement, as well as managing the program's communication with those in and outside of campus. 

An opportunity in the sports marketing department at University of Texas brought her back home to Austin, where she spent a year before shifting her focus to real estate.

Shea is beyond excited to give back to the sport that shaped her into the person she is today. It is Shea's greatest desire to help others, especially youth in the arena of athletics. She's so excited to begin this journey and is so grateful for the opportunity! 

Linda Polley

Linda Polley has been involved with USA Volleyball for 32+ years as an official, coach, and director of a club for economically disadvantaged girls. Her goal has always been to find a way to make volleyball more accessible to young people and to help them develop essential core values. The main objective of any club should be to provide a fun and rewarding volleyball experience to anyone who has the desire to play! Linda’s motto is: “You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller

A heartfelt and rewarding objective of Linda’s role includes, providing opportunities for young people to enjoy the great sport of volleyball, make new friends, learn new skills, acquire habits of self discipline, learn to cooperate, compete fairly and occupy free time. Her philosophy is; when the game of volleyball is adapted to the age and abilities of the participants, they experience more success, enjoy the activity more, and want to play more often! The more they play, the better they get!

Board of Advisors

Hailey Eckerman
Dr. Torrez