Erin Higgins always has had a strong love for volleyball. She didn't know if that same passion would extend to coaching. 

"A year in of doing this, I knew this is what I wanted to do," she said. "I wanted to be coaching full-time."

After three seasons of leading Davenport Central, Higgins submitted her resignation this week to pursue a coaching opportunity at the collegiate level. 

Higgins, not at liberty yet to discuss the specifics of her new position, starred at Pleasant Valley and was a four-year player at Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The Blue Devils won only four matches in her first season, but they had nine victories each of the past two years and finished in the upper half of the Mississippi Athletic Conference this past fall at 5-4. 

"It is a tremendous loss for us," Central activities director Brian Ehlinger said. "The program was in tough shape when she took it over. In three years, she has us to a point where we feel we can be a top-three team in the MAC."

Higgins informed the team of her decision Thursday afternoon. 

Central is expected to return four players who saw significant court time in all-Metro setter Kami Knutsen, attackers Raina Smith and Nevaeh Camp along with senior-to-be Lauren Amato. 

"The girls were very understanding," Higgins said. "This was an incredible opportunity, something that I was working towards eventually. It came up, I went with it and I'm very excited."

Higgins said the talent at the lower levels has vastly improved. Central's sophomore team was in the top half of the conference this past season.

"The program will continue to grow whether I'm here or not," she said, "and a lot of that is due to the commitment of the girls and how they've bought in."

Ehlinger said Central will begin an immediate search for Higgins' replacement. Even with the season four months away, he is confident the school can conduct a thorough search to find the next coach.

"We feel now that it is an attractive enough job that we should garner some good candidates," Ehlinger said. "Erin has left some big shoes to fill, but we're optimistic we can do that."


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.