Though Nicholas Gay and wife Claire will still be coaching volleyball at different schools, the gap may soon be narrowed.
Nicholas has been hired as the new head coach of the Weatherford Lady Kangaroos, coming from Denton Ryan. Claire, the head coach at Decatur, has been offered the head coaching job at Aledo and has accepted, Athletic Director Tim Buchanan confirmed, but her official hiring is pending final approval by the school board.
Nicholas comes to Weatherford after turning the program around at Denton Ryan. Prior to his arrival in 2015, the team was 4-44 in district over four seasons. In his first season he led them to a 20-21 record and 5-9 league mark, followed by a 31-15 record this season, a District 5-5A championship with a 12-0 record, and a second-round playoff appearance.
It was Ryan's first playoff appearance since 2011 and the Lady Raiders' first playoff win since 2009.
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Nicholas was previously a head coach at Graham, leading the Lady Blues to a regional tournament appearance and two playoff berths in two seasons. In two seasons at Sunnyvale he led that team to a pair of playoff berths and two district titles in two seasons.
Prior to going to Denton Ryan, he was an assistant at perennial power Colleyville Heritage.
Actually, Nicholas said he began looking for a head coaching job in the area when the family learned her being offered the Aledo job.
"I didn't realize Weatherford was open," he said with a chuckle. "It's pretty exciting. Weatherford has a great program and I'm really looking forward to being there.
"I enjoyed my time at Ryan, and they're going to be good next year, too. Ryan has five starters returning."
The Lady Kangaroos return every player from last season's 33-6 squad that shared the District 3-6A championship. They led Arlington Lamar two games to none in a match before the Lady Vikings rallied for a 3-2 upset.
"The playoffs are a different beast. It's pretty quick," Nicholas said.
"We're excited about getting him," Weatherford Athletic Director Richard Scoggin said. "Ryan was down and he built them back up. He's been in the playoffs everywhere he's been.
"He brings to our program exactly what we're looking for, the intensity level, he makes great in-game adjustments. We had some real quality candidates, and he just rose to the top."
Nicholas replaces Natalie Gonzales, who had been the Lady Roos head coach since 2013. Their playoff appearance in 2016 was their first since 2009.
Claire Gay has been the head coach at Decatur the past 10 seasons. She led her team to state championships in 2013 and 2014. The Lady Eagles advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs in each of her seasons, including at least the third round in the past seven seasons.
Claire is set to replace long-time coach Kathy Goings, one of the winningest volleyball coaches in the state with 641 victories. In 21 seasons at the helm of the Ladycats, her teams won or shared district championships in all but one season.
Goings led the Ladycats to three state tournament appearances in 2001, 2012 and 2014. Her 2012 team reached the championship match.
This past season, Goings' team finished 39-9 and advanced to its 16th regional tournament, including its seventh regional final.
Nicholas and Claire were married in 2014. They have twin 16-month-olds, a boy and a girl.