Tarkington native to lead Dayton HS volleyball program next year

Coach DaVette McCall will be leading the Dayton High School girls volleyball program next fall.

Though she has only been coaching girls volleyball a few short years, Tarkington native DaVette McCall has already made a name for herself in the sport. In 2019, she was named the Montgomery County Coach of the Year after leading the Splendora Lady Cats to set a new record for the school district for the most wins in a season and the most wins during the playoffs.

Starting next fall, McCall, 27, will be the new head volleyball coach for Dayton High School, replacing Coach Arleen Stroud, who is retiring.

“I am excited that I will be working for the Dayton High School program as it is looking to get bigger and better. I am looking forward to working with the students and coaching staff at Dayton ISD,” McCall said.

DaVette McCall is shown huddling with the Splendora HS girls volleyball team at a regional tournament. (Photo provided by DaVette McCall)

In addition to being the head volleyball coach, McCall will be teaching physical education classes.

McCall has grown accustomed to being part of winning teams. Growing up in Tarkington, she learned from a legend – former Tarkington ISD Girls Athletic Director Denise Johnson. In 2016, Johnson celebrated her 600th win as a coach. At the time, only 30 other high school volleyball coaches in the state of Texas achieved this milestone.

“Coach Johnson made a huge impact on my life. She is someone I can still reach out to when I have coaching questions,” McCall said.

McCall graduated from Tarkington in 2012. She was the SETX Player of the Year, District Newcomer of the Year and District Setter of the Year. She also earned a spot on the 2012 State Team and was picked for TGCA All Star, TGCA All State and TGCA Academic All State.

After high school graduation, McCall attended Wharton Junior College where she was the starting setter and team captain for the girls volleyball team. She was named Academic All American, earned the NJCAA Exemplary Academic Achievement Award and a slot on the 2nd Team All Conference and the Academic All Conference. She is a recipient of the coveted Johnny Frankie Award, which recognizes Wharton Junior College students who exhibit outstanding abilities and character.

She continued her education at the University of St. Thomas where she earned a bachelor degree in Business Administration. While there, she was the starting setter and team captain. She was named the University’s MVP and All-Conference Setter of the Year, and earned a spot on the 1st Team All Conference.

Coaching was not originally in the plans when she began her teaching career. She says she was approached by the Splendora ISD Athletic Director who encouraged her to go into coaching.

“I was like, ‘Okay.’ It’s worked out really well. I give my girls there a lot of the credit. It’s really great to say you went from 8 wins per season to 31,” she said. “I will always cherish my memories at Splendora ISD. It will hold a special place in my heart always, but I am excited to go and teach the Dayton kids the values and skills that I learned in Tarkington and Splendora.”

McCall is the daughter of David and Shari McCall of Tarkington. She and her fiancé, Johnathan Valka, who works for Centerpoint Energy, also reside in Tarkington.

Dayton ISD Athletic Director Jeff Nations says he is ecstatic about hiring McCall.

“I am very excited to see the changes she will bring with her – her passion and excitement for coaching and how that spill over to the kids,” Nations said.

The District is very appreciative for all the years of service from Coach Stroud and wishes her well in her retirement.

“We are looking forward to this new era and all the things that Coach McCall is going to bring to our Lady Broncos,” Nations said.

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