carly dyess

As Carly Dyess embarks on her coaching career, the excitement of the new venture is met with calming familiarity.

Dyess was named the New Waverly Lady Bulldogs’ head volleyball coach earlier this month, marking the start of her first coaching gig. But, while this might be her “first official job,” the scene is nothing new to Dyess.

Both of her parents have worked in education for the past 30 years. Her mother, Kayla, is a longtime elementary school teacher, while her father, Bobby, has 25 years of high school coaching experience and is currently the principal at Troup High School — Dyess’ alma mater.

For the recent Sam Houston State graduate, who was less than a week old when she attended her first sporting event, it’s difficult to imagine any other career path.

“Since I was a little girl,” said Dyess of when she knew she wanted to be a coach. “I remember from the time I started walking that I’d be running around at my dad’s football and basketball games. ... I knew from a very young age that this is what I wanted to do, and nothing has ever changed my mind.”

Dyess played volleyball at Panola College for two years before transferring to Sam Houston State, where she graduated last December with a bachelor’s in kinesiology and a minor in secondary education. She’s lived in New Waverly since January 2016, and knew she had to apply when the job opened up.

According to New Waverly athletics director Dean Schaub, the decision to hire Dyess was ‘a no-brainer.’ She accepted the job within three hours of her interview.

“When she made her first impression, she had a vision for her program,” Schaub said. “That vision aligned with the vision that I have for our athletic program. She comes from a coaching background, which is always a plus, and she played at the college level.

“When I called all her references, it didn’t take long to hear the same thing — it was all positive. It was a no-brainer, and we’re just excited to see what she’s going to bring to New Waverly.”

Dyess’ father recognizes a similarity between his daughter’s coaching start and that of her former high school coach and mentor, Arden Johnson.

Johnson arrived at Troup High School 12 years ago with limited experience but plenty of promise. She’s still coaching there today.

“She came to Troup the same time I did, and she was fresh out of college,” Bobby Dyess said. “We took a chance on her, and she’s still here going. She’s one of Carly’s mentors, so I’m hoping she can follow in those footsteps.”

While Dyess does not want to set the bar too high, she admits that she “would love to win district” in her first season.

“I can tell you that we will fight and we will push until we reach that goal,” the coach remarked.

More than anything, though, she just wants to leave a positive and lasting impact on her players’ lives.

“I’ve seen the relationships my dad has created with young athletes,” Dyess said. “When I was in high school, there were people that would come back and tell him, ‘I’m doing this now, and if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.’ I just want to have that impact on young lives.”