WHEN DREAMS BECOME REALITY
Ink Free News / Sports on Tuesday, January 28, 2020
WARSAW – Dreams really do come true. Chandra Hepler is living proof.
A Warsaw girl will get the opportunity of her lifetime, Hepler being announced as the new volleyball head coach at her alma mater Warsaw Community High School. Hepler was an assistant with the Warsaw varsity last fall.
“It’s always been an end goal to coach at Warsaw,” Hepler said Tuesday afternoon shortly after the announcement was made public. Hepler just needs school board approval next month. “I love the community, and the community has given so much to me as an athlete and then to my family. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.
“When Rick left, I did a lot of praying.”
Hepler replaces Rick Ashmore, who led the Lady Tigers for four years. Hepler was the JV coach for Ashmore in 2016, and then a varsity assistant in 2019. Warsaw won a sectional title in 2018, breaking a 14-year drought. Ashmore announced he was stepping down from the position after this past season.
Hepler moves to the top of the triangle in a program she found a ton of success as a player. Hepler was part of a Warsaw team that won 28 NLC games and four titles while Hepler was a player, then continued on a tradition as Warsaw was in the midst of winning eight straight sectional titles from 1990-97, Hepler on the 1992-95 teams.
Her artistry as a setter befitted a host of awards and honors, including All-NLC, First Team All-State and All-Star accolades while playing for Dunes Volleyball Club (1993) and for Munciana Volleyball Club (1994). Later becoming a star at the University of Missouri, Hepler finished her career with 14 records at Mizzou and two in the NCAA.
“I feel like the culture is back at Warsaw,” Hepler said. “There are expectations that we are Warsaw and we should be a top team. When I played at Warsaw, we won NLCs four years in a row without a loss. I feel like that’s who we are now. Over the years, that got lost a little bit. But with a sectional title and we took Penn to five last fall, that winning attitude and expectation is there.”
Hepler has been coaching since she wrapped up at Mizzou. Starting as a 22-year-old, Hepler has coached elementary and middle school girls and boys basketball in Warsaw, JV volleyball at Columbia City and started the JV volleyball program at Grace College. Hepler coached JV volleyball at Warsaw for six seasons before leaving for Taylor Univeristy, where she coached until 2018. Hepler then returned to Warsaw last season as a varsity assistant before this week’s announcement. Hepler has also coached travel volleyball, most recently with the Boiler Juniors where the club won a national tournament and finished highly at US Nationals.
She is married to Abe Hepler and has three children – A.J. (12) Ellie (12) and Eden (6).
“I felt like this is where I’m supposed to be,” Hepler said. “This has always been home. I love the program, I love the girls. Even when I was gone, Warsaw has always been home away from home.
“One of the great things as an assistant is you get to develop your own mindset on how to be in charge, but also to learn,” continued Hepler. “I have my own touches on how I’d like to trademark this program.”