Yamasaki retires after 19 seasons as a Pioneer volleyball coach

by: JOHN DENNY - Frank Maynard, the new head volleyball coach at Oregon City High School, discusses strategies with some of his players during an open gym. Pictured with Maynard are: (left to right) Brianna Higashihara, Kylee Krug, Kenzie Carpenter, Keely Pearson (back to camera) and Katie White.Oregon City High School volleyball will have a new look this fall. Not only will the Pioneers be competing in a new league — moving from the Three Rivers League to the Mt. Hood Conference — but their coaching staff will include three new coaches.

Longtime area club coach Frank Maynard replaces Syd Yamasaki as head coach. Yamasaki coached volleyball at Oregon City High School for 19 seasons, including the last 14 as head coach.

Richard Haner, who had been head coach at Putnam since 2008 and was in a successful program at La Salle for 12 years prior to that, has been named freshman coach at Oregon City.

And Erica Frafjord, who comes from Tennessee, where she coached high school volleyball, is the new jayvee II coach.

Shannon Stinchfield returns as head jayvee coach; and Jeff Husband, who was freshman coach last year, returns as an assistant.

Maynard, 59, was head coach at Milwaukie High School for five seasons (2007-2012). He took last year off for surgery on a shoulder, after coaching high-level 16-U-gold club teams from Adrenaline Volleyball Club in 2011 and 2012. Maynard has played volleyball for 23 years, mostly at the B-B level, and he has had some 20 years of experience coaching the sport.

“I’m really excited!” said Oregon City senior Brianna Higashihara. “It’s exciting getting to finish my senior year strong, with a new coach and in a new league.”

Higashihara was on one of Maynard’s 16-U-gold club teams.

“I think Frank stresses the physical side a little more,” said Higashihara. “Like he brought in weights [as part of summer open gym workouts]. He works us harder and I think we’re going to be in better physical condition.”

“I like it so far,” said senior Kenzie Carpenter. “I like his coaching style and I’ve heard he knows a lot about volleyball, so I’m excited!”

Maynard and his coaching staff have been holding open gyms, for girls in eighth grade and high school, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and they plan to continue them through July.

“We’ve had 40-plus kids at the open gyms and the girls tell me it’s the most they’ve ever seen at open gyms,” said Maynard. “When I was at Milwaukie, we’d see maybe 15 kids.”

Maynard’s teams at Milwaukie struggled, going 0-36 in their three seasons in the Three Rivers League (2007-2009) and 2-26 in two seasons in the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference (2010-2011).

Maynard said of his Milwaukie teams’ lack of success in the win-loss column: “It’s a tough place to coach. There’s not a winning culture.”

Maynard says his Oregon City teams will have much more success in the win-loss column, although they’ll be playing in the Mt. Hood Conference, a league that Maynard insists is the toughest high school volleyball league in the state.

“We’ve got some real talent,” he said. “Almost everyone who makes the team will have played club. There’s just a huge participation level and we seem to be hitting it off. There are no bad attitudes.”

Maynard says that because of the high skill level he’s seen at open gyms he anticipates running “more college-level practices,” with playing strategies built around the strengths of individual players.

“The Mt. Hood Conference is the toughest in the state, and I like that,” Maynard said. “That’s one of the reasons I took this opportunity.... I hope to be in the top half of the league this year.”

Maynard says he feels he may have an advantage, because he is familiar with the coaches at Mt. Hood Conference schools and what they like to do, while they will know very little about his coaching strategies.

In his 14 seasons as head coach at Oregon City, Yamasaki’s teams went 95-81 in the Three Rivers League, making the final eight of the big-school state playoffs in 2010 and the sweet 16 in 2002 and 2007.

Yamasaki’s Pioneers were most successful in the TRL in 2000, 2003 and 2010. They were second in the TRL in 2000 and in 2003, and they finished third in 2010. They went 1-9 and finished sixth in the then six-team league in 2012 and 2013, and they went 4-6 and finished fifth in the TRL in 2011.

Maynard works at HVAC Inc., a heating and air conditioning company in Milwaukie.

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