Coach Mary Thedford
“I had never coached before PAL, but since I played volleyball in high school, I thought I’d give it a shot,” said Coach Mary Thedford. Thedford was not accustomed to coaching, though being the mother of seven, one boy and six girls; she had plenty of experience in guiding children.
Thedford, a Detroit native, was no stranger to the Detroit PAL organization; her oldest children played football and participated in cheerleading. So in 2006, when the need for a girl’s volleyball coach at Michigan Technical Academy (MTA) came up she jumped in with both feet. Thedford was excited because volleyball was her sport of choice in high school and she felt she could bring her experience to the job. She is currently the coach for the Varsity team, grades 6 – 8 and helps out with the Junior Varsity players, grades 4 and 5.
While she admits here teams’ records are not the best in the league, it’s not about that for her. She does it for the love of the game and the guidance, support and leadership skills she provides her players. “Since I never officially coached before, the Impact Training provided by PAL helped a lot,” said Thedford, “It taught me how to not only coach the game but also how to encourage, support and build up my players.”
Thedford is looking forward to many more years with Detroit PAL, having a daughter that just started JV volleyball at MTA and another daughter who aged out of the program and is now an assistant coach and new PAL official at MTA. “That’s how they stay involved, after they finish, they come back and help.” Thedford said speaking on her children and their continued and new involvement in Detroit PAL.
In 2012 and 2013 Thedford won Coach of the Year and in 2014 her team received ‘Organization of the Year.’
“I love this organization. They do such great and amazing things for the kids and the city. Everybody needs to know about PAL and become involved.”
Detroit PAL will be forever grateful for the amazing coaches, like Coach Mary, who dedicate their time and passion to help the nearly 12,000 children served in Detroit.