Mazgaj Selected to Lead Bridgeport Volleyball Squad
First-time head coach replaces veteran Kelly
WOLFHURST — The Bulldogs have a new master.
Kristin Mazgaj has assumed the reins of the Bridgeport High volleyball program. She replaces veteran Ron Kelly who directed the Bulldog spikers for six seasons.
The St. Clairsville High product has a wealth of volleyball experience, dating back to her days with the Red Devils’ junior high program.
This will be her first head coach post. She, however, comes well-groomed for her new challenge.
“I began my volleyball career at St. Clairsville in junior high. Since then, I’ve been on multiple club teams as well as two varsity practice teams and intramural teams,” the affable Mazgaj said. “I’ve worked with multiple organizations as a position coach as well as coaching junior high (at St. Clairsville).”
Mazgaj’s academic resume is quite impressive.
She completed her undergrad at Ohio University in Sports Business 2005. That was followed by her securing an Associates Degree in Paramedicine, a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Medicine Management.
If that wasn’t notable enough, Mazgaj is currently working toward a doctorate in education.
Mazgaj takes over a program that went 13-9 a year ago. The Bulldogs lost in the OVAC 2A semifinals to eventual champion Southern Local.
“I’ve always loved volleyball since my first open gym as a seventh grader. I’ve been so focused on work as well as school for the past few years and hadn’t had the opportunity to be involved with the sport. The Bridgeport job came open at just the right time in my life,” Mazgaj said.”Going in, I only knew what I reviewed from the past years stats and I really feel like that put me in a better position to be completely objective.
“Once I was offered the position I decided to “Embrace The Journey” and ask the players to do the same with me. We are all going to start from the beginning, build something as a group and see where this season takes us.”
Mazgaj has her staff in place. Holly Tester will serve as her assistant while the junior high coaches are coaches Kylee Carpenter, Kamden Dulesky and Greg Harkness, who also serves as the school’s athletics director and head girls’ basketball coach.
She also has her goals for the coming year in place.
“My goals are to not only develop players that work together as talented teams but responsible student athletes and respectful young women,” Mazgaj said. “Goals longer term, personally I would love to bring an OVAC volleyball title back to Bridgeport and to build a program that has participants from kindergarten on making volleyball a life-long tradition at Bridgeport schools.”
Bridgeport hasn’t won an OVAC volleyball championship since 2004.
“We were fortunate to have Coach Kelly for six seasons. He did a great job with the program for us and now we feel equally fortunate to have Coach Mazgaj taking over the program,” Harkness said. “Her passion and love for the game is evident and I think she will do a fantastic job with our student-athletes. She’s already hit the ground running and done a great job making the transition a smooth one. We expect the program to remain strong under her guidance.”
Mazgaj is an EMT, employed Emergency Medical Transport, answering 911 calls in the Village of Bellaire as well as doing medically necessary interfacility transports.
“The Bridgeport staff has been wonderful. Athletic Director Harkness and Principal (Tom) Daley have been there at every step to assist in the transition which wouldn’t have been successful without them,”Mazgaj said. “The players have really embraced what I’ve brought to them since day one and that makes it so exciting to get up and come to practice very day.”