Sharon Qualls built quite a foundation with West Hall’s volleyball program. In seven years at the helm, the first and only coach in the program’s eight-year history she’s set the bar high for future Lady Spartans team.
She finished with five seasons with at least 20 wins, an Area 7-AAA title (2005) a Class AAA state semifinal appearance (2005) and a 61-6 record in 7-AAA since 2004.
And 2007 was no exception for her excellence with the Lady Spartans. Qualls guided West Hall to a 26-16 record and a spot in the Class AAA playoffs. For her efforts, Qualls is The Times 2007 Area Volleyball Coach of the Year.
This season also marks the end of her coaching career in volleyball, going hand-in-hand with the graduation of her daughter and West Hall’s only returning starter this season, Whitney Delp.
"It’s been a meaningful experience to spend this time as a coach here at West Hall, especially getting to spend so much time with my daughter," Qualls said. "Most coaches are coaching someone else’s kids, but I had the opportunity to have my daughter in practice, in games and also in the classroom."
In her coaching tenure, Qualls has seen an increased parity in Area 7-AAA with the rise of programs at North Hall, Flowery Branch and first-year West Forsyth. She hopes the tradition stays alive for the Lady Spartans to flourish in coming seasons.
"It’s really been a pleasure to coach and work with the professionals here in 7-AAA," Qualls said.
Qualls announced her retirement from coaching at the end of this season. It was a decision she made with several factors in mind, including her marriage earlier in the year and seeing her daughter through her final season of volleyball. Qualls admits she leaned toward stepping down last season, but was persuaded with the chance to spend one final season on the court with her daughter.
Qualls will remain on faculty at West Hall next season. And doesn’t even mind helping the new coach of the program learn the ropes to keep the Lady Spartans’ tradition alive.
But she knew it was time to step down from a full-time coaching gig.
"I think I’m going to be more energetic now," Qualls said. "It’s very taxing being a head coach."
This season was special for Qualls and West Hall.
With only one returning starter, she says the Lady Spartans displayed a remarkable work ethic and practiced harder than every before.
"This year was very special as a coach," Qualls said. "These girls were extremely hard workers, and did anything I asked of them."