This fall the Merkel High School Volleyball program is returning for the first time since 1982, and this inaugural season will mean the world to two members of the Lady Badgers coaching staff.

Head Coach Mitzi Bell has been the main driving force behind the revival of volleyball at Merkel, and when putting together her staff she could not think of anyone better to start this new journey with than her daughter, Coach Haley Ruiz.

Coach Ruiz moved to the Big Country all the way from Nebraska, to share this once in a lifetime opportunity with the person she has looked up to her entire life.

“Being able to coach with my daughter is going to be huge. It’s a lot of fun, you know, everything that comes out of her mouth is something that she’s heard me say, and so her being at the middle school and the high school is going to be huge for our program,” said Merkel Head Volleyball Coach Mitzi Bell.

“Me and my mom have a great working relationship. Like, she’s my idol. I said since I started coaching and teaching that one day I’m going to do what you do. One day, I want my name to be out there, I want that. I want to impact as many kids as you have in her 30-years of doing this, and so to be able to start it with my mom is just a blessing. It truly is,” said Merkel Assistant Volleyball Coach Haley Ruiz.

The Merkel Volleyball program has only been back in action for three weeks and according to Coach Bell, as many as 90 girls from Merkel between 4th and 12th grade have already come out to participate in their summer workouts.