This week, Sue Doering is heading to the state tournament for the final time in her illustrious volleyball coaching career, and she gives no hint that she's having second thoughts about her impending retirement.
"For me, I'm ready," the Colfax High coach said a few days ago. "It's been 39 years. ... Yeah, I'll be fine. I've had a lot of great success."
That's an understatement. During her 29 years at Colfax, she's led the Bulldogs to 13 state championships, the most recent of which came two years ago. This season, she notched her 900th victory in a career that started at Deer Park High.
As Colfax dives into the Washington Class 2B state tournament today at Yakima's SunDome, Doering doesn't seem bent on ending her career with one final championship.
"I would like them to go out and play hard," she said. "... If we can just give it our best and leave everything out there, that's totally fine. I'm good with that. We'll see if it comes our way; sometimes volleyball doesn't come your way."
Colfax (27-3) opens State against Toutle Lake at 11:45 a.m. today. The 16-team tournament will be contested today and Friday, with the eventual champion going 4-0.
The Bulldogs settled for fifth place last season and have back several players from that team. Offensively, they're led by seniors Carmen Gfeller, Piper Cai and Greta Geier, who are all powerhouse hitters.
Doering has preferred over the years that her teams hit was abandon rather than rely on their opponents to make mistakes.
"They are hitting hard, so that's the name of our game: serve tough, hit hard and dig and keep the ball in play," she said. "It's fun to watch teams that go hard and hit hard and play good, solid volleyball."
It helps that junior setter Kylie Kackman is getting better and better at facilitating the Bulldogs' attack. Colfax has also been able to rely on the digging of senior libero Abbie Miller and junior defensive specialist Madi Cox.
This talented club has occasionally been prone to making strings of errors -- an issue that could potentially sink the Bulldogs during high-stakes tournament play.
"We can't just turn it around sometimes," Doering said. "... If we can close down those errors, I think we'll be fine."
Doering, who retired from teaching at the end of last school year, won't waste any time getting on with her life. She and her husband, Eric Doering, own Model Home Furnishings in Lewiston and a new branch in Eagle, Idaho, which they're going to visit Monday. There's also a ladies' night planned at the Lewiston store late next week.
And as she wraps up her time at Colfax, Sue Doering said she's "thankful for everything."
"My community has been awesome. Colfax has been great -- the support and fundraising and all that. If they wouldn't have been, I probably wouldn't have been there all this time. It's been fun, it's been great."