When Aubri Renshaw was selected to take over Raymore-Peculiar’s volleyball program, the team got a head coach with a name well-known in the Panther community.
In just over a week, there will be a newer name running the program.
Aubri Renshaw will become Aubri Janes on July 21 when she marries Nick Janes, who like Renshaw is a teacher and coach in the Raymore-Peculiar School District. They’ll settle down into their new life, and she’ll settle into a job she’s long wanted at a school that has been part of her family for years.
“I’ve always been involved with Ray-Pec,” Renshaw said. “The community, sports, everything. It’s really nice to come back and be a part of it.”
Renshaw is a 2010 Ray-Pec graduate and was an all-conference and all-district volleyball player for the Panthers before going on to play at Washburn and Central Missouri. Her father, Gary Renshaw, will soon start his 27th year as a physical education teacher at Ray-Pec and has been head baseball coach 21 years. He’s a Ray-Pec grad too, as is Aubri’s mother, Deanna.
With roots that deep, Renshaw couldn’t help feeling a strong attachment to Ray-Pec volleyball.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to come back out here coach here,” Renshaw said. “I’m very happy just to be back where grew up. I went through this school. It’s a great school and athletic program.”
Renshaw was the head volleyball coach at Archbishop O’Hara for three years but found herself without a team when the school closed in 2017. A paraprofessional in the Ray-Pec district for two years, she was hired last year as a special education teacher and assistant volleyball coach.
That was also the final year for Ray-Pec volleyball coach Joe Maloney, who announced his retirement after four seasons at the school and a long coaching career. And Renshaw’s dream job suddenly became a reality.
“When I came here there was some talk that Joe was on his last few years but you never know,” Renshaw said. “I thought he would never get out, he has such knowledge and passion for the game. But then he resigned and I knew it was my opportunity to step in and get these girls a successful volleyball career.”
Renshaw steps into a program that has eight returning seniors from a team that finished 16-13-4 overall and 7-5 in Suburban Gold Conference play last season. Having experienced players that she helped coach last season has made for a smooth transition, she said.
“It’s good that I got to coach a lot of those girls, especially the juniors and sophomores, because they’re going to develop and hopefully move up to varsity,” Renshaw said. “It was good they got a little taste of me and I got a taste of them.”
Renshaw hopes to pass along the skills and experience she developed at Washburn and Central Missouri, where she finished her collegiate career after sitting out a year following a serious injury. She also wants to have more Panthers working on their game year round and feeling the same pride in the program she had during her playing days.
“We can’t not do anything all summer and all offseason and then come in and expect to be good,” Renshaw said. “That starts with our senior class and those leaders in building a team unity and culture that says, ‘hey, we don’t miss stuff in the offseason.’ We’re here and getting better.
“And that’s why our team slogan this year is ‘Mean It.’ Mean everything that you’re doing, mean it for Ray-Pec volleyball and mean it for our team.”
Renshaw organized the offseason workouts and camps while finishing construction on a house last spring and planning a wedding. Two weeks before the big day, she spent a whole week running her team camp.
All the while, Renshaw said she’s been able to stay calm and collected as she prepares to tie the knot with Janes, whom her dad invited over one day for a cookout.
“We were introduced and I thought, ‘yeah, he’s a good guy,’” Renshaw said.
And also involved in sports and coaching, which was a big plus.
“When you’re a head coach, your time commitment outside of your home life is total sports,” Renshaw said. “It’s nice that we’re both coaches and understand there’s a two-way street. It works out good.”
Gary Renshaw is certain it will work out for Aubri, the oldest of his two daughters. He knows she can coach. Two years ago, she was his assistant when he coached the eighth-grade girls basketball team at Ray-Pec’s East Middle School.
“You know it always means a lot to you as a coach when your former players come back and coach and teach,” Gary Renshaw said. “But when your own child comes back to their alma mater and teaches and gets into coaching, it’s really special and it makes you feel very proud as a parent that they followed in your footsteps.”
Soon, she will follow in those footsteps in her dream job at a school she loves.
As Aubri Janes.
“It’s exciting,” Renshaw said. “It’s been a lot though, trying to balance a wedding and volleyball.”